Campaigns/Elections

Snobs Vs. Saabs

Sarah Palin and the new face of identity politics

|

Some window of unreality opened at Wednesday night's Republican National Convention festivities when Texas Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams, amid a march of women and minority speakers, asserted that "values and ideas take precedence over the politics of demography and identity." But the identity politics on display at the convention had less to do with the GOP's stalled outreach efforts than with the party's base. The Republicans are taking white middle-class identity politics to the next level.

White identity politics have been around for a while, in the form of cracker culture humor, Gretchen Wilson records, and the war on arugula. But these forms tend to have a spiky, in-your-face defiance. The brilliance of vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin's roof-raising speech lay in its supple, open-ended technique. 

In Palin's delivery, the ancient battle cry of the American working class—"You think you're better than me?"—was emptied of its narcissism and butch bluntness, reconfigured with qualities we don't ordinarily associate with salt of the earth Americans: dry wit, newsy allusiveness, a confidence that the people you're addressing don't need to have the jokes explained to them. It wasn't surprising that the hockey mom pounded Barack Obama bloody with sallies against his alleged elitism (though whoever put out the pre-speech disinformation that Palin would not be used as an "attack dog" deserves an award at this year's Rovies). It was surprising that she did so while maintaining such a sunny, gracious, genteel demeanor. Through 3,000 words of political aikido, Palin seemed to be doing something the left and right agree working people should never be allowed to do. She seemed to be enjoying herself. To take the most widely discussed passage:

I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a "community organizer," except that you have actual responsibilities. I might add that in small towns, we don't quite know what to make of a candidate who lavishes praise on working people when they are listening, and then talks about how bitterly they cling to their religion and guns when those people aren't listening.

We tend to prefer candidates who don't talk about us one way in Scranton and another way in San Francisco.

The aw-shucks quality and class warfare elements here are familiar. The indirection, sarcasm, and unembarrassed intelligence are new. It's a measure of how surprising Palin's style was that so many of her detractors could respond only with rage, incomprehension, and irrelevant complaints. In particular, Palin's Democratic counterpart Joseph Biden's predictable-as-Pickett's-Charge objection that the speech lacked substance sets up a very plausible scenario for the vice presidential debate: I'm willing to predict that the hyper-informed Biden will demonstrate his mastery of the facts, leave no doubt about his flair for complex policy questions, get his ass handed to him in the debate, and never understand what went wrong.

Early indications are that that Palin's delivery worked: A Rasmussen poll gave her speech a 52 percent favorable rating, and the speech (with its deft set-up by Rudy Giuliani, whose own skill at articulating middle-class rage seemed old-fangled by comparison) was the first sign of life in what has been a listless, depressed, poorly attended convention.

It's unlikely John McCain's closer tonight will match Palin's fireworks—which may be beside the point. The presidential nominee's rhetorical skills are well-known, and they represent a more foursquare version of the great American style. That style still has tremendous strength: On the long drive from Denver to St. Paul I ran into many people who refer to McCain as "John" and expressed clear admiration for his perceived solidness and integrity. But the country is changing; among other things, Americans are more educated, in all regions and at all levels of economic attainment, than they have ever been before.

That makes the give and take of political culture war more complex. Obama and Biden are both agile enough politicians that they could probably (between bites of brie and sips of pinot grigio) handle the sort of flat-footed regular guy attack George W. Bush used against the ossified Al Gore and John Kerry. John McCain is a different type of opponent, while Sarah Palin is a type they have never seen before.

McCain's choice of Palin now looks less like an attempt to replicate Hillary Clinton than to put in place an anti-Hillary Clinton: soft-edged rather than hard, tough where Clinton was brittle, and familiar enough with trailer park America to speak ordinary people's language without treating them like chumps.

The attempts to paint Obama as a toffish fancypants throughout this year have been mostly absurd. But Palin managed to make them all seem relevant again, and it won't be so easy for the Democrats to change the subject to economic, rather than social, class. Every poor American thinks he's got a rich American inside, fighting to get out. And Americans at all levels have a deep distrust of hipsters. As Obama and Biden begin their autumn of hunting and beer-drinking photo ops, they might want to keep that in mind.

NEXT: Gloria Steinem, Hope-a-Holic

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. That pic is awesome. Supporters love it, detractors love it, for opposite reasons. Masterpiece.

  2. Sarah Palin is a type they have never seen before

    And that worries “them” in a very comical and entertaining way. We’re at the center of the maelstrom, so objectivity at this point is a hit and miss proposition, but wouldn’t it be unexpectedly wonderful if this moment signaled an actual changing of the guard? It was the last thing Obama & Co. expected.

  3. I am beginning to be sorry I missed the speech.

    Nice piece, Tim.

  4. What if you like Gretchen Wilson *and* arugula?

  5. And Americans at all levels have a deep distrust of hipsters.

    If you think this distrust is groundless, you’ve never read a record review at Pitchfork Media. The pants-wetting over Sufjan Stevens is really a bit much.

    Full disclosure: I admit to looking forward to their list of the best albums of the year.

  6. That was a really smart piece. Reasons why the Democrats should have nominated a state governor like Richardson or Warner and made Obama the VP.

    The mistake the Dems are making is they are snarking at Palin rather than taking her at her own terms. Read the disgusting things the women over at Slate are writing. Palin’s family life is now a trainwreck because her daughter got pregnant and her husband once had a DUI. Yeah, like everyone with a teenage daughter isn’t saying there but for the grace of God go I everytime she goes out on a date. Reasonoids of all people should know meaningless a DUI conviction is. It just makes them look petty, catty and elitist, which in the case of the nitwits on Slate they are.

    The better response is “hey I am a real person to and I have some sollutions to things that matter to real people.” A governor could do that. A hipster first term Senator and 30 year Washington insider, not so much.

    It is interesting how fate reaches out and grabs people sometime. In any other election or aginst any number of other plausable Democrats, Palin wouldn’t have been selected or if she had been her schtick wouldn’t have worked as well. But against Obama it is devistating. Talk about being in the right place at the right time.

  7. Her folksy, yet intelligent, appeal is something new. Also, she seems so much more genuine. Every politician I have ever seen is obviously a politician trying so very hard to give the impression he is a real person, too. She came off as a real person trying hard to give the impression that she is a real politician, too.

    I love her just because she is such a more interesting story than the crap we’ve been hit over the head with for this interminable election season. Excluding Ron Paul, of course, who was both interesting and someone I could agree with.

  8. an actual changing of the guard?

    A changing of what guard?

  9. First, I always love seeing Tim Cavanaugh around here.

    Second, the points that Tim makes are sensible, and I don’t know which side of the cultural divide to be more pissed at. I don’t think that the people Palin appeals to are, on average, any dumber than the people that Obama appeals to. However, I do want to tear my hair out at the thought that somebody could show how well he understands the policy and still lose the debate. (Whether or not Biden’s liberal stances are actually indicative of good and informed policy are another matter, one that many people here will have arguments about, but for the sake of argument let’s postulate it.) I want policy to be modest in scope but competent in execution, so that it should really matter whether the policy-maker understands me on a personal level. So he or she has a different experience than me. Big deal.

    OTOH, I also get pissed at the Democrats. Is it really that hard to relate to people? If they don’t feel comfortable in a culture, fine, then just show yourself relating to people as individuals. The truth is that cultural modes and stereotypes just reflect average tendencies. Within the smallest town or the hippest urban neighborhood there’s a huge range of individuals. If you don’t get the cultural norms, then don’t even try, and just relate to the individuals. I may not get a lot of cultures, but that doesn’t mean I’m ill at ease with individuals.

    I suspect that relating to individuals will do more for the Democrats than any amount of hunting photo ops.

  10. EDIT:

    so that it shouldn’t really matter whether the policy-maker understands me on a personal level

  11. “If you don’t get the cultural norms, then don’t even try, and just relate to the individuals.”

    You are absolutely correct. The problem is that it is really hard to do that when you think in terms of group politics and ethnic dynamics, which Democrats do.

    Palin really appeals to the Jeff Foxworthy dynamic. Jeff Foxworthy once said that he got famous because there are millions of people out there who are not cool, not glamorous, and have no intention to be. Democrat politicians can’t help themselves but condescend to people like that. Bill Clinton was the one exception and he won two elections. Rhodes Scholar or not, there were just too many empty chicken buckets and broken hearted bimbos in Bill’s closet for him to come across as condescending. At heart, even if you hated Clinton, you always had the feeling that part of him was still the dumb hick kid from Arkansas driving around in a el Comino with astro turf in the back.

  12. Personally, the only person that has been *painfully* fake this time ’round was McCain. He used to be a different guy, srsly.

    Obama, Palin, and Biden have all been…well, what they are. But McCain has ignored what he once had, *instincts*, as a devil’s bargain to get where he is.

  13. John, re: Clinton —

    Good point. Though I always got the feeling he was being held back a lot by staff.

  14. You can put lipstick on a pitbull – or put lipstick on a pig – but you still can’t call it a lady. You can put that lady in church, or put a rooster in a Cadillac showroom, but you can’t make it display any grace.

  15. There’s a point here worth mentioning: For all the persons with great intellect, power, and wealth I’ve encountered in my life, the people I’ve been most impressed with and have trusted the most have been people with great character. It’s the absence of the latter trait that has been the major alienating factor for Americans in general when evaluating politicians. Being an elite in some other regard doesn’t make you principled or trustworthy.

    When I think about my daughter, my hope for her–after the basics like health, long life, and happiness–is that she be a good person. Sure, I’d like her to develop a fusion reactor, make a trillion dollars, and be named Libertarian Queen of Earth, but it’s her character I care about most. I want her to be bright and educated, too, but I’ll respect her if she’s got the honesty and integrity thing down.

    I’m not saying anything about Palin’s character–too early to tell, methinks–but I think that’s what anti-elitism is really targeting. I don’t think Americans are so much anti-elite or anti-intellectual (not the same thing, by the way) as they are anti-bullshit and anti-“by any means necessary”.

  16. Great job by Cavanaugh, and it’s great to see Reason discussing such an important topic as speeches. I often wonder, “should I continue my quest to get people to ActuallyDebatePolicy rather than getting distracted by insignificant issues, or should I be like Reason and just offer the same analysis as everyone else?”

    It’s a difficult question, I know.

    P.S. For an example of both the massive failings of major bloggers and the WaPo as well as an example of just how much of a full court press there is on SP, see this. Perhaps Reason could contact some of those people and ask them why they didn’t think about what they were linking to.

  17. LOL, Palin could offer up bags of gold coins and it wouldnt change the fact she cant keep a leash on her knocked up daughter so HOW exactly will she be able to lead the country? I just dont get it.

    Just
    http://www.useurl.us/17n

  18. The problem is that it is really hard to do that when you think in terms of group politics and ethnic dynamics, which Democrats do.

    republicans, in contrast, approach everyone individually, by social security #.

  19. Wait, John doesn’t like Obama? When did this happen?

  20. The problem is that it is really hard to do that when you think in terms of group politics and ethnic dynamics, which Democrats do.

    Oh irony.

  21. “And Americans at all levels have a deep distrust of hipsters.”

    Yes including the ones the work at Reason.

    Let get a few facts on the table shall we 1). Reason is based in the Beltway, it’s funded by deep pocket corporate donors; it writers ride the Orange Line to work along with other “hipsters” who work for The Weekley Standard and the New Republic. They look down their noeses at Ron Paul’s followers.

    Once again the elitists will now use Sarah Palin as a club against their enemies within the “hipster” class because cultural warfare card is all they’ve got left. And these “hipsters” will try to identify with Palin even though few if any have ever been to Wasilla, snowmobile, moose hunt or take their kids to hockey practice. But they don’t need all fo this because supporting Palin is their ticket to “AUTHENTICITY”.

    Working white people of America, the “hipsters” of Reason stand right beside you, in print! They wouldn’t be caught in a Moose Club on a Saturday night, what are you kidding me? That’s cocktail hour over in Georgetown.

    Sorry, I prefer honest snobbery over phonies looking for meal tickets to the White House any day of the week. You look down on Sarah Palin too, you just don’t have the guts to admit it.

    Maybe we’ll have to catch you on the open mike like Mike Murphy and Peggy Noonan.

  22. I like arugula. It’s nutty.

  23. “Every poor American thinks he’s got a rich American inside, fighting to get out.”

    The LP should buy that sentence from you, Tim, add that their party and their candidates are dedicated to giving those inner rich Americans a fighting chance to win, and then build a publicity campaign around it, showing how reduction of the size and scope of government, as well as its active interference in people’s lives, can level the playing field for the little guy and make it easier (though never GUARANTEED) to get ahead and make good.

  24. “There’s a point here worth mentioning: For all the persons with great intellect, power, and wealth I’ve encountered in my life, the people I’ve been most impressed with and have trusted the most have been people with great character. It’s the absence of the latter trait that has been the major alienating factor for Americans in general when evaluating politicians. Being an elite in some other regard doesn’t make you principled or trustworthy.”

    You are on a roll today Pro. I think most Americans would agree with you. One of the dumbest things Democrats do is play up their candidates as Ivy League geniuses. So what? Most of the Nixon Administration was Ivy League geniuses and what did it get them?

    Worse still, people listen to the rethoric about Obama being the law review editor of Harvard and think about the reverse; if you are not from Harvard or wherever, you are not worthy. I think that explains a lot of the viciousness the media has directed against Palin. She is just not as they say in England “University”. This is especially true among the elite feminists. Here is Palin, who went to Idaho U, is from some nowhere town in Alaska, doesn’t have so much as a graduate degree letalone from the right school, and she is going to be the first female VP? It just drives them nuts.

  25. freaking jim mcdish clones.

  26. What if you like Gretchen Wilson *and* arugula?

    Then you need to get better taste in music AND food.

    I don’t think Americans are so much anti-elite or anti-intellectual (not the same thing, by the way) as they are anti-bullshit and anti-“by any means necessary”.

    I guess I agree, but I think a lot of people confuse the two. IOW, nobody says “that guy’s too intellectual, so I’ll vote against him,” but they do hear an intellectual discussion and figure, “I don’t get it, so it must be B.S.”

  27. “Maybe we’ll have to catch you on the open mike like Mike Murphy and Peggy Noonan.”

    What Noonan was whining about was Palin steping over Kay Bailey Hutchinson. Hutchinson is one of the girls. How can she be passed over by some nobody from Alaska? The fact that Hutchinson is about as interesting as a fence post doesn’t matter to Noonan. Hutchinson has got good breeding!!

  28. The Democrats think they deserve to win because they think they know better. The Republicans just know they have to fight to win.

  29. Palin could offer up bags of gold coins and it wouldnt change the fact she cant keep a leash on her knocked up daughter so HOW exactly will she be able to lead the country?

    I think countries are a lot easier to keep a leash on than teenage daughters…no?

    I, fwiw, think that most of the reaction to Palin’s new-born son and eldest daughter are authentic (despite the quote above). It is surprising to some that someone would choose to jump into a political campaign with those kinds of challenges at home. It, to me, belies any claims that she is “a real person trying hard to give the impression that she is a real politician, too.” She seems more like a politician pretending to be a soccer mom to me.

    That cognitive dissonance has created a lot of the furor over her, imo.

  30. Didn’t we invade Arugula back during the Reagan Administration, to rescue a bunch of med students?

  31. JAM —

    You’re right, if only so far as Libertarians’ fighting the restrictions and sweet-hart deals written by lobbyists makes it easier for John Q. Whatever to get into a protected business.

    But the argument falls flat when little people expect assistance for other things. I’m not saying it shouldn’t be an ad…I’m just saying it doesn’t sell as well as you think.

  32. What if you like Gretchen Wilson *and* arugula?

    At first I thought this said “What if you like Gretchen Mol *and* arugula?” and thought “why wouldn’t you?”

  33. I like arugula. It’s nutty.

    Indeed. And we hipsters know it is correctly enjoyed with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.

  34. “It is surprising to some that someone would choose to jump into a political campaign with those kinds of challenges at home.”

    Has that question been asked about any politician ever? Al Gore’s son got busted for drugs and no one asked him why he was running for President when his son had issues. Politicians kids are often screwed up. Go back and look at the Kennedys for God’s sake. Getting pregnant at 17 is pretty small potatoes.

    At best that is just bullshit that you yourself don’t beleive. At worst it is just sexist crap that says that only women are fit to raise kids. It is that kind of fucked up attitude that gets men screwed out of their kids every day in divorce courts accross the country. Yeah, Palin needs to stay at home because her husband, like all men, is unfit to raise kids.

  35. Although a key point of the article was that Palin is an opponent, the likes of which the Demos haven’t seen before, the description of Palin’s approach and manner puts me in mind of Ronald Reagan. When people said that Reagan made Americans feel good about themselves again, it wasn’t just that Americans felt good about being Americans, but also that regular folks felt good about being regular folks. As I recall, Reagan managed to do this without showing or whipping up active enmity toward the cultural and intellectual elites, as GW Bush so often seems to do.

    If Palin can walk Reagan’s fine line in that respect, I predict that she will have many “there you go again” moments in her debate(s) with Biden.

  36. You are on a roll today Pro. I think most Americans would agree with you. One of the dumbest things Democrats do is play up their candidates as Ivy League geniuses. So what? Most of the Nixon Administration was Ivy League geniuses and what did it get them?

    It is you who are on a roll today John.

    First, I’ll go a step further: 100% of everybody in the world would agree both that being an elite doesn’t make you principled or trustworthy, and that the latter two traits are more important than the former when electing a leader. Talk about a straw man.

    Second, no Democratic presidential campaign in my lifetime has “played up their candidates as Ivy League geniuses.” Rather, the campaigns try desperately to HIDE the fact that the candidate attended Ivy League schools in a misguided attempt to appear like a “regular guy.” Or perhaps you could point me to a speech where the candidate mentioned his time at Harvard.

    Finally, “viciousness” directed at Palin? I’d love it if you could cite an example. The worst I’ve seen from the MSM I’d call respectful criticism. Take of your RNC blinders.

  37. Justin Dolittle, man of great wisdom, offers:

    “LOL, Palin could offer up bags of gold coins and it wouldnt change the fact she cant keep a leash on her knocked up daughter so HOW exactly will she be able to lead the country?”

    Libertarians are obviously looking for the kind of candidate who controls her 17 year old child–and her country–with a leash. OTOH, a few of us might allow SP to lead us around on a leash..

  38. You got to hand it to the GOP for knowing what Stuff White People Like

  39. At best that is just bullshit that you yourself don’t beleive. At worst it is just sexist crap that says that only women are fit to raise kids. It is that kind of fucked up attitude that gets men screwed out of their kids every day in divorce courts accross the country. Yeah, Palin needs to stay at home because her husband, like all men, is unfit to raise kids.

    What the fuck are you talking about?
    I noticed right away, among everyone I have interacted with on this issue, from friends, to family, to in-laws, that people find it surprising that anyone, male or female, would choose to run for national office with a 4-month old with Trisomy 21…throw in a pregnant teen and it is more surprising.

    I had the same conversations regarding Edwards and his wife’s cancer. It is a sign that you are abnormal when you forge ahead in the face of these crises instead of them changing your priorities a bit.

    Hell, I have made significant adjustments to my career plans in response to family emergencies. I didn’t think twice about which was more important. Career normally takes a back seat to family. When it doesn’t it says something about your character.

    Of course highly ambitious people often fuck over the ones they love to achieve their goals. Goes with the territory, but don’t pretend it is a gender thing.

    Christ.

  40. Character always gets more lip service than observance by candidates, but if a candidate really appears to have it, no amount of education or wealth will put off voters at all inclined to vote for him. The problem is, those three traits don’t go together very often. No one can honestly say that any of the major presidential candidates in this election have exuded character. Eluded it, maybe, but exuded? Nah.

    Malto Dextrin,

    No, silly. That was Nutmeg.

  41. “Finally, “viciousness” directed at Palin? I’d love it if you could cite an example. The worst I’ve seen from the MSM I’d call respectful criticism. Take of your RNC blinders.”

    Read the XXX factor on Slate. Slate is a division of the Washington Post and is very mainstream. Also, read Hillary Rosin’s piece today calling Palin’s family life a train wreck. Also read Sally Quinn about Palin. The MSM, especially women in the MSM have been vicious to her.

    As far as Dems not playing up their credentials, how many times have we been reminded of Obama being editor of the Harvard Law Review? About a 1000 I think. The Democrats always, going back to Reagan, call their opponents stupid and their guys geniuses. Al Gore was painted as this huge intellectual. They always play it as “smart guy” versus rube. It rarely works because the smartest kid in the class is never the most popular.

  42. Wait – I thought libertarians were in favor of teenage pregnancy. Especially if it’s acceptable in someone’s cult, I mean culture. Because God knows we want to make sure we’re politically correct and don’t judge anyone’s culture.

    That is unless they’re not on the list of politically correct, hip and trendy cultures.

  43. Note that, in part, this is about the appearance of character, not necessarily the actual possession of it. So a good liar could also go far–Palin may very well be that, though I suspect there’s at least some substance to her shtick.

    Of course, all we have to go by is what we can observe.

  44. “I had the same conversations regarding Edwards and his wife’s cancer. It is a sign that you are abnormal when you forge ahead in the face of these crises instead of them changing your priorities a bit.”

    I had none of those conversations about Edwards because it is none of my fucking business. It is none of yours either. Who the hell are you to judge what kind of a mother Palin is? You don’t know anything. All I care about is what kind of VP she will be. You have objections to that make them. But the “what about her family” is just horseshit. Moreover, it is sexist as hell because no one ever talks about that with regard to men. Your alleged concern for Edwards was his wife not his kids. Moreover, was Biden a bad guy for staying in Congress after his wife died? What about his kids? What about them? It is Joe Biden’s business not mine.

  45. And we hipsters know it is correctly enjoyed with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.

    Actually, arugula is best raw as a salad green in combination with a bitter leaf (radicchio, endive) and a sweet leaf (red leaf lettuce, field greens). But I’m just a sophisticate, not a hipster.

  46. URKOBOLD WANTS A SARAH AND BRISTOL PALIN SANDWICH, WITH URKOBOLD BEING THE MEAT, AND THEY BEING THE BREAD.

    THIS, ER, POSITION DOES NOT REFLECT THE URKOBOLD’S POLITICAL VIEWS, WHICH REMAIN TOO ARCANE FOR HUMAN, UM, CONSUMPTION.

    THE URKOBOLD SHALL NOW RETREAT TO HIS BUNK WITH A LOAF OF BREAD AND SOME MUSTARD.

  47. # Elemenope | September 4, 2008, 5:36pm | #

    # But the argument falls flat when little
    # people expect assistance for other things.
    # I’m not saying it shouldn’t be an ad…I’m
    # just saying it doesn’t sell as well
    # as you think.

    Of course the Libertarians must articulate an alternative “social safety net” approach that doesn’t depend upon command resources, but rather on voluntary contributions and assistance. But once the net, of whatever nature, has kept you from falling into the abyss, how easy is it for your inner Rich American to break free? That is the flip-side of government assistance to those in need: its price is usually the establishment of additional government power over a great many more people than that. The exercise of that power can drag people into the net, and make it much harder for everyone “saved” by the net to get away from it.

    I wouldn’t say the argument falls flat. I have observed, however, that often, the ARGUER falls flat, by not developing the argument more persuasively. Help to make the argument properly is what I would hope the “campaign” I mentioned above would provide.

    I don’t believe in silver bullets, but I do believe in good tools, and I think that the Cavanaugh-inspired “inner Rich American” meme and accompanying campaign would be a good tool.

  48. As Obama and Biden begin their autumn of hunting and beer-drinking photo ops, they might want to keep that in mind.

    They’re smarter than that. Althoug Obama may not remember Dukakis in a tank, Biden surely will.

  49. Episiarch,

    It’s not possible that you missed a movie reference, right?

  50. Silence of the Lambs, I got it. Didn’t feel like running with it.

  51. In order for libertarianism to sell, people can’t be looked at or look at themselves as victims. Libertarianism has to be sold as a can do philosophy. People are better at solving their own problems and living their own lives than the government is. The government only gets in the way of the amazing things the American people do. Libertarianism needs to wrap itself in the flag and talk about what a great country this is and all of the amazing things people do.

  52. Best article on Palin yet; this is why, regardless of what you think of her politics, Palin was a brilliant choice. And while I’ve seen some hyperbolic comparisons of her to Reagan, I will say she has this in common with the Gipper: I predict she’s made of Teflon.

  53. John, I have been reading the XX (2 x’s, as in female, not 3, as in p0rn) factor in Slate. Again, I didn’t see anything I read there as “vicious,” but if you’d care to quote something particular, I’ll consider it.

    Just read Hillary Rosen’s article. If you want to call it dumb, I’ll agree. But I don’t think it’s “vicious” to wonder if a potential president has the stones to order shoot-downs of passenger planes.

    Any particular Quinn article you want to cite? I’m not going to go on a snipe hunt.

    I have heard about Obama being on HLR a few times. In newspaper and magazine profiles of him. I have not heard the campaign bring it up at all. I’ve also heard Bush went to Yale a million times, but not from his mouth. Let’s try and remember that the MSM and the Democratic campaign are not actually the same people.

    OTOH, John, I agree with you 100% about the “family priorities” issue. All families have internal discussions about how to balance work and personal lives. It’s none of anybody’s damn business how they decide to make it work.

  54. Just checking. I thought you were under contract to Reason to acknowledge and expand upon any film quotes. My mistake.

    If I were Obama, I’d get launched into orbit, then do a speech from there.

  55. Very interesting analysis, Tim. Right on. I think this new white-backlash style politics is as intricately tied to the rise of the exurbs and the Birchers and Goldwaterites and Reaganites were tied to the rise of the suburbs.

    Alaska: America’s Exurb.

    I liked this: …Rudy Giuliani, whose own skill at articulating middle-class rage seemed old-fangled by comparison…

    Giuliani articulated 70s and 80s middle class rage. White flight rage. You ought see what those animals have done to the neighborhood rage. Sarah Palin’s family never lived in a neighborhood. Palin is, as you say, something new in white grievance politics, which is interesting, because Barack Obama is something new on the left side of the fence, and the old shtick was just bouncing off him.

    Oh, btw, did you see some dumb cracker-ass politician from Georgia – no really – out and called him “uppity?” Uppity. This is a Congresswoman.

  56. Brian24,

    I guess vicious is a question of judgement. I will say this, Obama and Biden have been really good to stay out of it. It has only been women who have gotten nasty about it in my opinion.

    Oddly enough, I think even Joe has been surprisingly silent on the whole daughter issue. Maybe I missed it, but I really have to give Joe some credit there.

  57. Sarah Palin is who she is or not. I knew six months ago who I was going to vote for and why and who I was not going to vote for and why. None of the speeches, blogs, baby kissing, and whether she wears a flag pin on her right or left boob matters. All I care about is who is going to (continue to) fuck up this country the least?

  58. I had none of those conversations about Edwards because it is none of my fucking business.

    People talk about other people’s business all the time. That may, in fact, be the primary topic of conversations world wide over the history of the species. I am pretty sure you didn’t talk about his affair either. (yawn)

    It is none of yours either. Who the hell are you to judge what kind of a mother Palin is?

    A human being who is being asked to judge someone by either giving or withholding my vote. If it is about character, then any action that demonstrates someone’s character will be used to help form an opinion.

    You don’t know anything.

    Yes I do. 8^p

    All I care about is what kind of VP she will be.

    And which qualities of her character are off-limits for making that decision?

    You have objections to that make them. But the “what about her family” is just horseshit.

    John, I am not a democrat making the case against Palin, I am a comment writer on a blog making an observation that many people seem to be authentically surprised at her decision to jump onto the national stage. I think this genuine reaction is going to have political consequences because, well, everything in a campaign is likely to have political consequences. My mother-in-law (75)and her sister (90), for instance, both expressed doubts about whether they would vote for McCain/Palin because they thought she seemed to be ignoring her family obligations. I think they are pretty much the definition of regular folks.

    Moreover, it is sexist as hell because no one ever talks about that with regard to men.

    See my comment about Edwards.

    Your alleged concern for Edwards was his wife not his kids.

    Family is family.

    Moreover, was Biden a bad guy for staying in Congress after his wife died? What about his kids? What about them? It is Joe Biden’s business not mine.

    But it tells you something about his character, no? And you will either find his story a sign of good character or bad character. You won’t, however, judge him only on his professional performance…even if that is the primary criteria you use.

  59. Edit to change ? to .

  60. John,

    I will certainly concede that a lot of the statements about Bristol’s situation have been silly.

    If the roles had been reversed, of course, the Repubs would not stop talking about how Obama’s liberal values led to his daughter getting pregnant at 17. That I guarantee.

  61. edcoast,

    Which, of course, is the $16 trillion question. I’ll almost certainly vote LP, but I’m wondering that, too–“Who will fuck us up the least?” Not sure what the right answer is. I suppose I might answer that question McCain because of the composition of Congress, but I don’t trust him or them at all. Truly an unpleasant ballot in front of us this time.

  62. “But it tells you something about his character, no? And you will either find his story a sign of good character or bad character.”

    No it really doesn’t. I don’t know Joe Biden’s kids or his situation. Your family is important. If Biden had abdoned them that is one thing. But how he balanced being a Senator and raising his kids is his business. Unless you can show me that his kids were somehow neglected, I am going to give him the benefit of the doubt. I think everyone deserves that. Palin’s kids seem to be pretty well adjusted and fine. The one got knocked up, but that happens to a lot of people. I don’t people have the right to question what kind of parent someone is absent evidence of gross neglect.

  63. Oh, btw, did you see some dumb cracker-ass politician from Georgia – no really – out and called him “uppity?” Uppity. This is a Congresswoman.

    Lynn Westmoreland was the CongressCritter

  64. The Palin family stuff is totaly irrelevant to me because every family I know out here in the Heartland is crazy with DUIs and divorces and all that.

    She reminds me of lots of people I know. And she isn’t a goddamn southerner. Tired of those asshats. Won the Civil War anyway?

    The fundy/AIPAC/we’re on a mission from God in Iraq stuff is more troubling to me. There’s no sex in it so it will barely be covered.

    You can get a latte at McDonalds and arugula at Sam’s Club. I don’t know quite what that means for the Culture War.

  65. “Oh, btw, did you see some dumb cracker-ass politician from Georgia – no really – out and called him “uppity?” Uppity. This is a Congresswoman.”

    Who was the crazy black women who was a 9-11 truther that was from down there? What is it with Georgia and congresswomen?

  66. They’re smarter than that.

    There’s a picture out here of Obama motoring around on a Kmart mommy bike built for someone a foot shorter than him. With a flat tire. And he’s wearing Lohan sunglasses, and what appears to be a Powerpuff Girls helmet.

    The picture wants to have a word with you. “Smarter” is not that word.

    It sounds kind of like “dickless,” actually. Or maybe “dweebfest.”

  67. Oddly enough, I think even Joe has been surprisingly silent on the whole daughter issue. Maybe I missed it, but I really have to give Joe some credit there.

    Yep. We’re talking about the goddamn vice president of the United States who’s going to become Commander in Chief of the goddamned armed forces on the incredibly rare chance that John McCain wins, and the much more likely chance that he dies is office if he does win, and the last goddamned thing I want to talk about is fucking amniotic fluid and pregnancy bumps and delivery timelines (OK, that was pretty creepy, too) and nonsensical conspiracy plots straight out cheap romance novels and her daughter getting knocked up by her boyfriend.

    You know what else? I like her. She reminds me of people I’ve done hard work with at local government meetings. People who come in the evenings to crummy rooms. Her daughter got knocked up – do you have any idea how Old Joe Kennedy would have handled that back in the day?

    This woman’s a corrupt lunatic lightweight tyrant fundie. She’s qualified – she’s qualified to chair the Board of Selectmen in all but the largest New England towns. Her candidacy is a joke, and that’s got nothing to do with her, or her family’s, lady parts. Christ almighty.

  68. Isn’t Cynthia McKinnery from Georgia?

  69. I am going to give him the benefit of the doubt. I think everyone deserves that.

    Very decent of you. I think most of those who expressed surprise at Palin’s decisions are also going to give her the benefit of the doubt…but not all.

    Palin’s kids seem to be pretty well adjusted and fine.

    Weren’t you just talking about how you don’t know the details so you can’t judge? You have no idea how well adjusted the kids are…and actually that is beside the point. People’s reaction regards the challenge that the known situation presents. You do know that children with disabilities are more challenging to raise, right? You do know that a pregnant teen daughter can be a challenge, right? People can put themselves in others shoes and predict…

    The one got knocked up, but that happens to a lot of people. I don’t people have the right to question what kind of parent someone is absent evidence of gross neglect.

    There is a difference between blaming Palin for her daughter’s situation and being surprised that Palin, now that she finds herself with a pregnant teen and a disabled new-born, is willing to jump into a national campaign with the challenges we know her family is facing.

  70. Alaska is the most socialist state in the Union — I get back 78 cents for each federal tax dollar I pay in California, Alaska gets $1.84. They tax and Palin raised the tax on the extraction industries and pay off the small population with it. Sort of like a big resource exploitation colony.

    Palin was mayor, expanded its gov size 33%, inherited zero debt and left her town $22M in debt. Where have I heard this story before? Democrats are almost always better, state and local, at holding down the growth of Government and spending.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/31/business/31view.html?em

    Who cares about the tax rate when Bush just sunk your entire net wealth 41% by driving down the currency with overspending? She’s for censoring books, Bush is for the state seizing people without showing cause. I wonder when people will listen to actual actions rather than verbal philosophies?

    Another 4 years of this and we’re sunk as a power for freedom. Let’s see how much libertarian potential there is in China or Russia.

  71. I’ve never worried too much about a politician’s ability to parent and be a politician. Is that really worse than any other job, except for the public spotlight? And even the latter comes if you’re any other type of public figure. Let’s not pretend that there aren’t compensating factors for the trade off between a private life and a public one, either, especially the whole wealth thing.

    As I say all that, I also probably wouldn’t expose my family to all of that. What I think is really nuts are parents that allow their kids to model or act. Why not just shoot them up with heroin now? Oh, right, you can make loads of money off of your kids if they make it. Dear Zod.

  72. Cynthia Mckinney is the crazy black woman who was the truther Joe. That is who I was thinking of.

  73. Isn’t Cynthia McKinney running for president?

  74. As I say all that, I also probably wouldn’t expose my family to all of that. What I think is really nuts are parents that allow their kids to model or act. Why not just shoot them up with heroin now? Oh, right, you can make loads of money off of your kids if they make it. Dear Zod.

    I don’t have a problem with “allowing” the kids to do these things if they are truly interested in them. The whole pushing them into it, stage mom thing, however, is pretty dysfunctional. The worst are the child beauty pageants.

    Is that really worse than any other job, except for the public spotlight?

    I would say the hours/travel are worse than most…particularly during a campaign and when you are talking VP, just amp that up.

  75. Neu Mejican,

    If Obama were a private-practice attorney, say, he’d be seeing the family by appointment. The road gig sucks, but there are worse things to do. That pay far less.

    I don’t object to kids acting, singing, whatever, it’s letting them become celebrities as kids that bothers me. The risks are just too high.

  76. it’s funded by deep pocket corporate donors;

    Poppycock! If that were true, they’d have a web server with decent performance.


  77. If the roles had been reversed, of course, the Repubs would not stop talking about how Obama’s liberal values led to his daughter getting pregnant at 17. That I guarantee.

    How many times can I shoot down this clich?d excuse for rude behavior by the media and the left ?

    You don’t know this. You are extrapolating from your biases and preconceptions about the “right”.

  78. I noticed right away, among everyone I have interacted with on this issue, from friends, to family, to in-laws, that people find it surprising that anyone, male or female, would choose to run for national office with a 4-month old with Trisomy 21…

    How do they feel about Biden’s decision to take his senate seat with two injured preteen children who had just lost their mother and sister?

    … throw in a pregnant teen and it is more surprising.

    Look at the calendar Neu. It’s the 21st century and a knocked up seventeen year old is no longer the end of the world or a family destroying event. Granted it’s an unfortunate result of irresponsible behavior, but the young lady does not require a mother hovering over her to protect her from the shame of not being a virgin at her wedding.

  79. Joe-6:17

    Yes. BTW, I have defended her big time when she was attacked for demanding answers to her 9/11 questions. I guess you would call that my ideology trumping my reflexes?

    Naturally, no person here would ever stoop to taking a shot at me for defending the former congresswoman lest they appear like the Pakistani tribal elders of whom Mr. Bailey wrote yesterday.

  80. Pro Libertate | September 4, 2008, 6:37pm | #
    Neu Mejican,

    If Obama were a private-practice attorney, say, he’d be seeing the family by appointment. The road gig sucks, but there are worse things to do. That pay far less.

    I don’t disagree…but I make the same judgments about the character of any 100+ hour at work per week parent no matter the job. The difference is I am asked to vote only for the politicians.

    SIV,

    You are extrapolating from your biases and preconceptions about the “right”.

    Oh irony.


  81. Who was the crazy black women who was a 9-11 truther that was from down there? What is it with Georgia and congresswomen?

    You are referring to my former congressional represenative and Green Party POTUS candidate Cynthia McKinney.

    I didn’t hear the “uppity” remark but if it was Lynn Westmoreland you didn’t either because he isn’t a woman.

  82. Lynn Westmoreland is a MAN.

  83. JsubD,

    Look at the calendar Neu. It’s the 21st century and a knocked up seventeen year old is no longer the end of the world or a family destroying event. Granted it’s an unfortunate result of irresponsible behavior, but the young lady does not require a mother hovering over her to protect her from the shame of not being a virgin at her wedding.

    As with John, all I can say is…what the fuck are you talking about?

    I observe that many people have expressed to me that they feel like “X.” Now suddenly I am some character out of the Scarlet Letter?

  84. Alaska is the most socialist state in the Union

    Not based on their ratio of taxes collected to federal spending. That would be New Mexico.

    Hawaii has the most socialist culture of any State.

  85. Yes, that’s true, but I guess I just mean that people make those kinds of decisions. My wife is at home (a professional on the motherhood kick), so I could run for president and not hurt the kids too much. If both parents are absentee for extended times, that’s not so good.

    I guess it depends on the ages of the kids, and there’s also the fact that once you’ve served, you’re going to be able to provide extremely well for your kids and for yourself.

  86. Now suddenly I am some character out of the Scarlet Letter?

    GOP voice: “So long as you’re not Hester Prynne, you’re someone we can do business with…”

  87. It is surprising to some that someone would choose to jump into a political campaign with those kinds of challenges at home. […] She seems more like a politician pretending to be a soccer mom to me.

    I dunno, Neu. Given her experience coupled with those “challenges at home”, I’m thinking she’s a soccer mom pretending to be a politician. Just spitballing, here.

  88. libertymike, I’m pretty damn sure just about everybody here is perfectly comfortable taking shots at troofers.

    And no, being a troofer is not a get out of racism free card.

  89. Now suddenly I am some character out of the Scarlet Letter?

    But which character are ye?

  90. Paul,

    I dunno, Neu. Given her experience coupled with those “challenges at home”, I’m thinking she’s a soccer mom pretending to be a politician. Just spitballing, here.

    I am just reporting my gut reaction here.
    I don’t get a “family first” working to make ends meet vibe from her.

  91. There’s a picture out here of Obama motoring around on a Kmart mommy bike built for someone a foot shorter than him. With a flat tire. And he’s wearing Lohan sunglasses, and what appears to be a Powerpuff Girls helmet.

    Just so you know, H&R etiquette requires a link for things like that. 🙂

  92. And if Barack Obama’s daughter got pregnant, the right would not blame it on liberal values. They’d do that if it was Al Gore’s daughter.

    For Barack Obama’s daughter, they’d tut tut about “ghetto culture” and rap music.

  93. joe,

    I certainly am so willing. I also mock Moon Landing Doubters?.

  94. I’m just short of calling the selection a brilliant move. What Palin brings to the table is the base. The folks who weren’t voting for a Dem anyway. It’s not clear this will be a winning strategy. The VP pick does, however, highlight the recklessness of McCain. She is an exceptional gamble, IMO. A win vindicates the same crappy Republican party we’ve had for years now. I’m now hoping for a big Repub loss. Maybe that would get the Repubs away from culture war issues and back into small government mode.

  95. I don’t get a “family first” working to make ends meet vibe from her.

    If you take some commenter reaction to her daughter’s pregnancy, she’s not family first…enough.

  96. As with John, all I can say is…what the fuck are you talking about?

    Your post

    Neu Mejican | September 4, 2008, 5:44pm | #

    I noticed right away, among everyone I have interacted with on this issue, from friends, to family, to in-laws, that people find it surprising that anyone, male or female, would choose to run for national office with a 4-month old with Trisomy 21…throw in a pregnant teen and it is more surprising.

    Which I quoted to give context.

    You conveniently did not answer my question about Biden’s parenting decisions regarding a far greater family tragedy than either a Down syndrome baby or a knocked up 17 tear old.

  97. This article is brilliant. So was Palin’s speech. But the John/Sarah ticket won’t fly at the end of the day. The world wants America at the top as the leader of the free world but they won’t tolerate another bully even if he’s a self-styled maverick. Watch my prediction, Obama/Biden will rout the John/Sarah Ticket. Americans are too sophisticated to forget why they are suffering what they are suffering now.

  98. I’m just short of calling the selection a brilliant move. What Palin brings to the table is the base. The folks who weren’t voting for a Dem anyway.

    If that’s the case… it’s an interesting move but fatally flawed move. Considering that veep choices are usually designed to bring in the crossovers. It seems that we have the opposite:

    Mccain who never really appealed to the base [insert ‘maverick’ statements here] picks a veep who can help… solidify the base who, according to you aren’t going to vote Democrat anyway?

    I’m not sure I buy that. Why would Mccain try to shore up voters he presumably already had because they can’t bring themselves to vote D?

  99. And if Barack Obama’s daughter got pregnant, the right would not blame it on liberal values. They’d do that if it was Al Gore’s daughter.

    For Barack Obama’s daughter, they’d tut tut about “ghetto culture” and rap music.

    Absolutely true. They would be assholes for doing so.

  100. What Palin brings to the table is the base. The folks who weren’t voting for a Dem anyway.

    That is my impression of the strategy as well…I am not sure it will pan out, but time will tell.

    McCain needs the help.
    Of the solid republicans in my family, one is luke warm, but will probably vote for McCain anyway. One is staying home because he is so disgusted with a choice between McCain and Obama. One was going to vote McCain, but said “now I am not so sure…what was he thinking picking her. He’s too old he needs to think more carefully about who might take his place.” One is more likely to vote McCain now because they see Palin as a sign he will be prolife.

  101. All the brouhaha over Palin is just an illustration of how week the McCain candidacy is. There is almost no real debate about the issues. It is more like the academy awards at this point.

  102. Of the solid republicans in my family, one is luke warm, but will probably vote for McCain anyway.

    Exactly. Any boost in the polls McCain gets in the short term is– in my opinion– a mere post-convention bump. I still say he sunk his candidacy with this choice. He needed to appeal to the undecided and indy voters. I don’t see how the Palin choice does that.

  103. You conveniently did not answer my question about Biden’s parenting decisions regarding a far greater family tragedy than either a Down syndrome baby or a knocked up 17 tear old.

    Sorry, I thought we had covered that up-thread.

    As I have heard the story, his first reaction was to quit before being sworn in…that seems like the reaction I would have. Now, of course, he was persuaded to take his seat, but he refused to move to Washington and returned home every night to take care of his sons…

    The main differences I see in the situations are the ages of the children and the nature of the challenge. Joe’s kids were older, their condition was not chronic like Trisomy 21. We are also looking at his situation from 36 years later. His kids did fine, so he apparently found a way to make it work. With Palin, people are projecting forward. This changes things. I work with families with kids that have special needs. There is no limit to the respect I have for those that balance a career with the additional challenges that they face rearing their children. I am sure Palin and her family will find a way to do it, but that doesn’t negate the gut reaction people are having to her decision…which is what I was commenting on.

  104. He needed to appeal to the undecided and indy voters. I don’t see how the Palin choice does that.

    Because they might identify with a personable middle class mother with minimal higher education and who has a positive view of the country and the citizens’ ability to take care of themselves over Ivy League educated elites who hold a pessimistic view of America and campaign that the government needs to take care of it’s “subjects”?

  105. Paul,

    He needed to appeal to the undecided and indy voters. I don’t see how the Palin choice does that.

    As a moderate, independent voter, Palin is too far to the right for me…it shows his hand as too likely to pander to the right rather than the center.

    Given that the country is about 33% Democrat, 33% Republican, and 33% Independent, I would think the numbers would argue for courting the middle. McCain decided to shore up the base instead.

  106. Excellent article, good job articulating the whole thing so well.

  107. SIV,

    Because they might identify with a personable middle class mother with minimal higher education and who has a positive view of the country and the citizens’ ability to take care of themselves over Ivy League educated elites who hold a pessimistic view of America and campaign that the government needs to take care of it’s “subjects”?

    Apparently from you perch on the far right, you can’t even see the middle. You might want to refrain from characterizing them.

  108. Pro Lib-

    I hope you are willing to mock the people who buy the conspiracy theory spun by the Bush mafia.

    Give me the goods. Those who support the gvt. fairy tale have the burden of establishing it as a fact.

  109. i>The main differences I see in the situations are the ages of the children and the nature of the challenge. Joe’s kids were older, their condition was not chronic like Trisomy 21

    Neu, I got it.
    Good for me, but not for thee.

    And for Chrissakes it’s Down or Down’s syndrome. Using Trisomy 21 is like using amyotrophic lateral sclerosis instead of Lou Gehrig’s disease. I makes you appear pedantic.

  110. SIV thinks he’s the middle. Heh.

  111. As for my characterization of myself as moderate…

    Every time I take one of those Political Compass survey/tests, I come out pretty much dead center on the “Left/Right” dimension with the biggest bias away from center being towards the anti-authoritarian pole, but even then, I am still closer to center than edge.

  112. JsubD,

    I makes you appear pedantic.

    You mean, of course

    “It makes you appear pedantic”

    ;^)

    Of course, I am pedantic, so it just reveals me for who I am.

  113. Neu, I got it.
    Good for me, but not for thee.

    Actually, he made a real argument, and you whiffed.

  114. JsubD,

    To continue with the pedantry,

    You may have meant…

    “I make you appear pedantic.”

    But I really don’t see you as all that imprecise in your use of language.

  115. Americans are too sophisticated…

    I cannot believe Theo wrote that with a straight face.

  116. I didn’t hear the “uppity” remark You’re good at not knowing things.

    but if it was Lynn Westmoreland you didn’t either because he isn’t a woman.

    Ha ha! Cracker-assed mofo has a girl’s name.

  117. SIV said:

    “Because they might identify with a personable middle class mother with minimal higher education and who has a positive view of the country and the citizens’ ability to take care of themselves over Ivy League educated elites who hold a pessimistic view of America and campaign that the government needs to take care of it’s “subjects”?”

    That is exactly it for me. I’m an indie who leans right sometimes, and she got me.

  118. joe, neu

    I’m waaaay to the right of that…..
    This is a center-right country and the McCain Campaign is aiming right at that “middle” with Governor Sarah Palin. That crazed rightwinger with the %80+ approval rating back home in AK

  119. melba,

    I actually find that interesting.

    Do you really find Obama elitist?
    Or Biden?

    Do you really think McCain/Palin are more optimistic?

    Or is it just the personable thing.
    I agree, btw, that Palin seems personable, but so does GWB, Bill Clinton, and any successful politician. It seems more of a skill than a qualification to me.

  120. Oh, btw, did you see some dumb cracker-ass politician from Georgia – no really – out and called him “uppity?” Uppity. This is a Congresswoman.

    Like I said joe, you didn’t hear it or see it because Lynn is a man.

  121. Actually, he made a real argument, and you whiffed.

    No joe, I just see no reason arguing with somebody for the hell of it. Should I have done something like

    The main differences I see in the situations are the ages of the children and the nature of the challenge. Joe’s kids were older,

    They were preteens who lost their mother!

    their condition was not chronic like Trisomy 21.

    He had no idea what the long term physical or psychological effects of the accident would be on his two boys. They were still in the damned hospital when he swore in!

    We are also looking at his situation from 36 years later.

    WTF? Is there a statute of limitations on what good and bad parenting is?

    His kids did fine, so he apparently found a way to make it work.

    Give me a break! Like a VP wouldn’t have the resources necessary to make it work?

    With Palin, people are projecting forward. This changes things.

    Que sera sera.
    Whatever will be will be

    I work with families with kids that have special needs. There is no limit to the respect I have for those that balance a career with the additional challenges that they face rearing their children. I am sure Palin and her family will find a way to do it, but that doesn’t negate the gut reaction people are having to her decision…which is what I was commenting on.

    So you agree that criticizing her decision to run is unfair and displays either supressed sexism or political hypocrisy?

    But I didn’t need to do that joe. I’m not here to score points. Both Neu and I made ourselves perfectly clear. To each other if not to you.

  122. SIV, I suppose if that’s how one would characterize indy voters. Independent voters swing pro-choice, no?

    As a “hawkish libertarian”, I’m sometimes considered an ‘indy voter’. My roots were Republican, but more Republican of yore. This most recent incarnation of the Republicans party is so unrecognizable to me I can’t ever see voting for them again- except on a rare occasion. They’re now a party which has held fast to its unfortunate socially conservative root, while reaching way, WAY left on economics.

    The democrats have remained relatively left on economics, and have picked up some of the stranger aspects of the social conservative mantra.

    That’s my perception of the two parties. So, as an ‘indy’ voter, Palin does nothing for me, beyond the fact that she’s easy on the eyes… and I hear-tell she likes guns. Other than that, I ain’t feelin’ it.

  123. The DemocRAT Party’s inability to field a POTUS candidate with a positive message is the reason they have had so little success, except when their candidate is positive about America like Bill Clinton.

  124. Independent voters swing pro-choice, no?

    I’d think they are split on this.If they have any knowledge of civics they’d be aware that the President doesn’t set abortion policy.

  125. But I really don’t see you as all that imprecise in your use of language.

    Instead you consider me a crappy typist?
    I am somehow not offended at that all to accurate assumption.

  126. That crazed rightwinger

    I don’t know about crazed.

    She seems pretty entrenched in the culture war thing though. What’s she got against all those real Americans living in cities, that are proud of their country, work hard to drive our economy, optimistic that we can solve our international problems through trade and diplomacy, feel that our troops need to be respected enough not to be used in frivolous military shenanigans, believe that our daughters rather than our government should decide what they can do with their bodies, believe that people should be left alone to live how they choose, whether they are gay or not, believe that science should be taught in science class whether that includes biology classes teaching, well biology, rather than religion, or whether that means health classes providing, well health information, rather than trying to mold the values of students (their parents job is to teach abstinence, the schools job is to explain the benefits of the various options), etc…

    The assumptions in her speech that those living outside of small town America are somehow elitist, pessimistic, anti-Americans is just so, well, divisive.

  127. Nue,

    Yes, I find Obama to be extremely two-faced, elitist, and snobbish. I don’t believe his change talk for a bit. I suspect he was hand-picked and groomed by the democrat party because they knew they had to do something drastic. They created him.

    I feel sorry for Biden. He seems kind of like a punch-drunk boxer to me. I think he’s had a hard life, though, so I feel sorry for him. I’d be worn out and punchy too if I were him.

    I do think McCain and Palin are more optimistic. I’m not wearing rose colored glasses about them, but I really like her. I’d rather her be at the top of the ticket than McCain, though. I don’t like his history of amnesty for illegal aliens. I think Palin would really be some change.

    I also liked Bill Clinton. GW was a big disappointment to me. He let the people who voted for him down. But I can’t vote for a socialist like Obama, though. I really fear for things if he wins. Especially my money. I’m afraid he thinks I’m rich and need my wealth redistributed because I’m not on welfare.

    Until Palin, I probably wasn’t going to vote, pathetic as that is.

  128. JsubD,

    So you agree that criticizing her decision to run is unfair and displays either supressed sexism or political hypocrisy?

    No. I think my point was that people are not being sexist or politically hypocritical when they say that they are troubled by her priorities.

    Now, I admit I am not sure if your block quote thing means that I should ignore all the thoughts in it as simple parody or sarcasm for joe’s sake, but I want to be clear that if you feel that is a good summary of my position, it is not.

    Instead you consider me a crappy typist?

    Or about average.
    I do the “you” for “your” so often it drives me nuts.

  129. SIV said:

    “I’d think they are split on this.If they have any knowledge of civics they’d be aware that the President doesn’t set abortion policy.”

    Once again, bingo with independent me. I’m pro choice, but I like Palin and will vote for that ticket now.

  130. Neu Mejican I wish you get the Reason writers to be as proud of their cosmopolitanism as you are. They want it both way. They revel in when it comes to Georgetown cocktail parties and yet try to hide it when it comes to politics.

  131. Melba,

    Thanks for following up.

    Especially my money. I’m afraid he thinks I’m rich and need my wealth redistributed because I’m not on welfare.

    I don’t see that in his proposals.

    Here is the details from one he made last year
    http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/09/18/obama.taxplan/index.html

    He also seems to be committed to funding all his spending. Now whether he will be willing to reign in his own parties spending better than GWB did when he had a Rep. congress…that is an open question.

  132. Now, I admit I am not sure if your block quote thing means that I should ignore all the thoughts in it as simple parody or sarcasm for joe’s sake, but I want to be clear that if you feel that is a good summary of my position, it is not.

    No I didn’t. On the issue, I know what you’re thinking, how you feel, and you know the same about me. We can argue and throw spitballs at each other. Or not.

  133. I’m waaaay to the right of that…..
    This is a center-right country and the McCain Campaign is aiming right at that “middle” with Governor Sarah Palin.
    Chuckle. Not big on researching public opinion, are you?

    That crazed rightwinger with the %80+ approval rating back home in AK

    Oh, look, SIV thinks Alaska is its own country, too.

    Tell you what: Sarah Palin isn’t too far from the center of Alaska.

  134. Sean Scallon,

    Well nothing burns my butt more than people who think that “real Americans” only live in small towns.

    Fuck that. I have lived and worked in small towns and big cities and I see smart educated, patriotic optimistic hard working kind generous people in both settings…and both have their share of close minded idiots, and snobbish elitists.

    My old boss when I worked in NYC had a good story. She was driving through rural Pennsylvania and came across a car accident. She and her friends stopped to help. While they were assisting the victims, a dozen cars with drove by without helping when they tried to flag them down to help. Finally two more cars stopped to help out. Both were from NYC.

  135. joe,

    look at an Electoral vote polling map.
    The GOP only needs the center of a couple of States in play.States where a plurality of voters might like Governor Palin.

  136. New Mejican —

    It must be unbearably painful to be so damned…sober, all the time.

    How do you do it?

  137. Back after the 2004 election, liberals are banging viciously on small town America. They ranted about the stupid, ignorant, snake handling, racist trailer trash inhabiting the flyover states. James Wolcott wrote, “Good, Go Ahead, America, Choke on Your Own Vomit, You Deserve to Die.”

    The virulent elitism of liberal America once again raises its head with the Palin pick. They make the elitist cosmotarians of the Orange Line look like second string little leaguers. Anything between I5 and the Beltway is an embarassment to them. Where the hell did this attitude come from? Don’t they realize that their last two Democrat presidents were both hicks?

  138. I’m still shocked that someone actually implied that Democrats were snobby, and that Republicans concern themselves with the “little man.”

    You have to love these so called Libertarians who are actually Republicans, but afraid to admit it. They’re often the first to slyly rationalize Republicans as being for the average guy. Don’t be so easy.

    What we need in the White House is someone who is intelligent enough to deal with foreign policy, above anything else right now. The domestic economy is tied into globalization, so it naturally follows.

    Republicans have proven that they are absolutely atrocious at dealing with foreign policy, or other people’s opinions in general. It’s as if thinking outside of their own clan is impossible for them to do.

    Even the repetitive arguments over Obama’s inexperience become comical when you consider that many right leaning Libertarians chose to support an inept political candidate in George Bush Jr. Why? Well, because he would temper the tax issue. Everything else really didn’t matter.

    If Bush’s presidency proved anything it’s that we should be concerned about intellectual abilities. They do matter. In fact, I would consider them near the top of qualities important in a politcal candidate.

    All of this talk about character and principles when discussing career politicians is moot. They’re politicians.

    The deal goes like this: We give you the level of power that you desire, as long as you take care of certain, important issues. Expecting politicians to be a boyscouts in office is a naive, and shows a painful lack of understanding of human nature. It’s a pleasant fantasy, but in does not reflect reality.

    Your fucking taxes aren’t the only topic on the table ladies. It’s that kind of thinking that has us in the mess that we’re in.

  139. “Where the hell did this attitude come from? Don’t they realize that their last two Democrat presidents were both hicks?”

    You seem to have a different understanding of the word “hick.”

    These presidents were from the South, yet highly educated. Being from the South, alone, does not make someone a “hick.”

    The term “hick” implies ignorance, and a lack of education, which the Republican party readily offered the American public in George Bush Jr.

    The Republican part only stays afloat due to the diligence of the Christian right movement. Without it, they would be irrelevant to politics in America.

    While not all Christian right devotees are hicks, the premise of their primary voting cause shows that they certainly do lack important reasoning abilities.

    The religious right is much like hard core Libertarians. They pretty much vote around a single issue. For the religious right it’s the support for Christian influence in politics, and for Libertarians it’s the issue of taxation.

    Both should be embarrassed for the narrow minded interests. It’s pretty obvious why people who see the larger picture would become frustrated with such simple minded thinking.

  140. Famous Mortimer:

    I want my cake and eat it too. Nobody does the trick on the big two tickets, Palin or no Palin.

    Obama/Biden good on foreign relations (assuming no more “humanitarian” wars are conducted), horrible on spending (330-ish billion* per annum increase in new programmes, no discussed cutbacks.

    McCain/Palin horrible on foreign relations (I get the impression that McCain’s new thing is bringing back the cold war and will likely bomb Iran’s infrastructure in some way) and bad on spending (60-ish billion* increase in spending, no cutbacks).

    What a shitty-assed year, this sucks.

  141. *some Reason Online article I read a while ago

  142. The staff at Reason has a history of fondness for Palin. I think they had some fantastic dream of her crossing over and becoming a libertarian some day, or maybe they thought that she represented a strain of the party that could be gently coaxed into becoming more libertarian over time.

    So as a result we get tortured material trying to twist itself around to find a way to still look at Palin positively after she accepted a spot on Senator John Fucking McCain’s presidential ticket. Guess what, Reason staff? It doesn’t matter if Palin better represents non-hipsters and it even doesn’t matter if she favors jury nullification. SHE IS CARRYING WATER FOR THE PERONIST MCCAIN. What else can really be said to matter at this point?

    McCain is scum and anyone who would consent to be on his ticket is scum too. Period. Sarah Palin now stands for war with Iran, and immunity for torturers, and the suspension of habeus corpus, and the strangling of the 1st Amendment, and hatred of private enterprise in favor of a barracks society of universal service. She now has to answer for the whole McCain package. Forever.

    So it’s over. Let it go. Let Palin go, guys. Seriously.

    Did you notice that the convention decided to ignore the Paul votes in the Oklahoma delegation, to make sure McCain’s coronation wasn’t disrupted? That cocksucker McCain couldn’t even run a convention that wasn’t a lie. That is who and what Palin is now. She deserves all the condescenion she gets, and she deserves whatever is thrown at her, and she deserves to have everyone forget whatever nice stuff Reason used to think about her. Sorry.

  143. For all the persons with great intellect, power, and wealth I’ve encountered in my life, the people I’ve been most impressed with and have trusted the most have been people with great character.

    Please, what is this? Reader’s Digest? It’s faux folksy ridiculousness like this that is causing America’s ruin. People like Franklin, Adams, Jefferson and Washington were thinkers and sophisticates, proud of their education and intelligence. We let the Jacksonian rabble take over this country and it’s been a downhill ride ever since.

  144. Guys, I love all of you (the girly ones in particular) but all politicians spend poorly. Constantly bickering about it as the main point when comparing candidates is a fool’s game.

    Obviously, intellectual qualities are not the be all end all of a Presidency, but they are absolutely important when dealing with dynamic scenarios domestically, as well as globally. It’s not an easy job, and it’s certainly not something meant for the average Joe who the right leaning members on the site love to flagellate.

    More importantly, intellectual abilities often coincide with a person’s desire to learn more about other issues that concern their job. Bush Jr. clearly did not have those interests, and it is the primary reason why we have been reduced to a cartoon as a nation.

    You can’t be for globalization, while at the same time believing that only American wishes are all that matter.

    As vanya so aptly reminded us, it’s a part of our history as a nation. So, the real question is, since when did being intellectual become such a dirty word in regards to politicians?

    My belief is that it stems primarily from the Cold War when many Academics got it wrong, as well as people feeling inferior about their own intellectual resume. They need to relate to someone like them.

    Well, the common man isn’t having to deal with foreign policy, and a host of other complex issues. I don’t want a President who is just like my fucking neighbor. I want a skilled diplomat who can bring all sides together.

    It’s the underlying bitterness towards academia, and the intelligentsia present in Right leaning Libertarians, as well as Republicans that I see as a dangerous, and foul form of thinking. I am really disappointed that it’s prevalent amongst so many Libertarians. I believe that the vast majority of you are intelligent people.

    An aversion to academia, and intellectuals betrays our national heritage, and it betrays the right way to interpret the qualities necessary for the Presidency.

    By all means, if you’re not happy, then don’t vote. Neither candidate is a Libertarian, but claiming that Obama doesn’t reflect the image the average idiot is a plus, not a minus.

  145. Elemenope | September 4, 2008, 9:24pm | #
    New Mejican —

    It must be unbearably painful to be so damned…sober, all the time.

    How do you do it?

    Single malt and dark chocolate.

  146. NM, I’ve been to the other side of the Pa Turnpike in Breezewood. It ain’t Kansas. The reason why nobody helps is because they don’t have cars or shoes.

    It is a different America than I see regularly.

  147. JsubD,

    I am somehow not offended at that all to accurate assumption.

    All 2 accurate indeed.
    Those doubled letters are a bitch.

  148. TWC,

    I actually have cousins in small town Pennsylvania.

    Some are nice folks. Some are bigoted angry drunks.

    More to your point, many of the poor people I’ve known tend to be generous beyond their means…they might not have shoes, but they’ll lend you their shirt.

    But on balance, I would rather be lost in a large city than many many small towns I have been to.

    You want scary neighborhood, try Los Lunas or Grants NM, or god forbid, most of Catron County…they don’t take kindly to strangers ’round there. No sir-ree.

  149. TWC,

    To be clear, however, I don’t recommend being a stranger in need in large sections of Albuquerque…fuck, I mean my band used to have a practice space south of the fair grounds. Built like a bank vault, so our equipment was safe, but getting to your car was often quite the experience.

    Scary fucking people ’round every corner.

  150. Of course, Albuquerque can always be proud of this…

    http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/08/10/copter.shootdown/index.html

  151. Wasn’t that “pandagon” bint the one who got fired by Fluffy the Trial Lawyer because she wanted to lynch the Duke lacrosse team?

    -jcr

  152. “It’s the underlying bitterness towards academia, and the intelligentsia present in Right leaning Libertarians, as well as Republicans that I see as a dangerous, and foul form of thinking.”

    Oh, it’s not all of academia, by any means. It’s just the marxists living on the government teat that I find offensive.

    -jcr

  153. The world wants America at the top as the leader of the free world but they won’t tolerate another bully even if he’s a self-styled maverick.

    The world doesn’t get to vote in the US election.

    -jcr

  154. But if they did get a real choice to vote on who leads the ‘free world’, (whatever that is any more), I bet that not that many people outside the States would vote to be lead by either of the current candidates for POTUS, given their current policy positions.

  155. It doesn’t matter if Palin better represents non-hipsters and it even doesn’t matter if she favors jury nullification. SHE IS CARRYING WATER FOR THE PERONIST MCCAIN.

    This is an important point. Do you think Lyndon Baines Johnson would have pushed through the Civil Rights Act if he’d won in 1960?

    Vice Presidents adopt the agenda of the president.

  156. What is shocking to me is just the complete lack of embarrasment of Republicans…a huge sea of morons chanting ‘drill baby drill’ and thrilling to the asenine antics of Rudy, Mitt, Mike, and Sarah bringing up silly (Cult)ure war nonsense. They are adult children.

  157. Fluffy-11:17pm-last Par.

    I noticed that too. Wasn’t it at least two, if not three, states? I am glad Joe agrees with your CARRYING WATER analysis.

  158. on the incredibly rare chance that John McCain wins,

    I honestly think its probably right around 50/50, at this point, maybe 55/45 in Obama’s favor. We really need to let the polling settle down next week to get a better read – too many variables, too fast, in the last 8 or 9 days,

    and the much more likely chance that he dies is office if he does win,

    The actuarial tables for men his age give him about a one in seven chance of kicking the bucket.

    This woman’s a corrupt

    How so? Has she taken bribes? Was there a sweetheart deal with someone when she bought her house?

    lunatic

    How so? She strikes me as being the most normal of the four nominees.

    lightweight

    This may be the true knock on her. But I have to say, the Dem ticket isn’t actually overflowing with gravitas.

    tyrant

    How so? She blustered about firing a couple of people, but didn’t. The one guy she did fire was because he wouldn’t fire a bad cop. We could use a lot more of that kind of tyranny, IMO.

    fundie.

    How so? You probably can’t even tell me what church she goes to or how often.

    She hasn’t banned a single book, or even tried, as best as I can tell. She hasn’t pushed for any legislation limiting abortion rights that I have heard of. She has said she doesn’t think creationism should be mandatory in schools. Where’s the fundie in all that?

    There are real lines of attack on Sarah Palin, but they are lines that Dems are uniquely unsuited to make. Experience? The Obama campaign really can’t go there. Spending discipline? Not a topic the Obama campaign can raise, given its spending plans. “Culture war”? Even if you can convince people that Palin is some kind of fundy loon (and good luck with that), that’s been the third rail for Dems for a generation now.

  159. Americans at all levels have a deep distrust of hipsters.

    True, but the only hip thing to ever come from Delaware was Cynthia Rothrock.

  160. I’d think they are split on this.If they have any knowledge of civics they’d be aware that the President doesn’t set abortion policy.

    You may know this, I may know this, yet every president elected since… well, I can remember has to pass the abortion litmus test. They appoint judges. That’s the rationale.

  161. RC,

    Apparently you don’t know much about Palin.

    “fundie.

    How so? You probably can’t even tell me what church she goes to or how often.”

    She goes to Wasilla Assembly of God. AOGers are frontline fundy nuts and so is Palin.

    Educate yourself:

    http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2008/09/02/1327574.aspx

    She hasn’t banned a single book, or even tried, as best as I can tell.

    Again, educate yourself:

    http://www.ajc.com/news/content/news/stories/2008/09/05/palin_book_banning.html

  162. SIV @ 7:50pm

    The DemocRAT Party’s inability to field a POTUS candidate with a positive message is the reason they have had so little success, except when their candidate is positive about America like Bill Clinton.

    Yup, Willy was positive…that “this gig is gonna land me some MAJOR pussy!!”

  163. Palin is bait and a trap, and the left is falling for it so far (though the people on their ticket haven’t, to their credit).

  164. I don’t understand the title. Do you think middle class Americans are all driving Saabs? In Connecticut, where I live, and Manhattan, where I work, they are driven by the rich. Not all rich people are snobs, but what gives??

  165. Because they might identify with a personable middle class mother with minimal higher education and who has a positive view of the country and the citizens’ ability to take care of themselves tax dollars of citizens from other states to take care of Alaskan citizens over Ivy League educated elites who hold a pessimistic view of America and campaign that the government needs to take care of it’s “subjects”?

    I seriously do not get this idea that Palin is some kind of rugged individualist. But SIV and all the other government- and tax-lovers now have someone pretty and non-saggy to unite behind.

  166. Alaskans are the biggest fucking welfare queens on the planet, they pay no state income or sales tax and get a check from oil royalties for doing jack shit…not to mention the state gets something like $1.80 back from the federal gov’t for every dollar they put it…they would be a 3rd world country left to their own devices…and will all of this largess,they still maintain a lousy school system…ugh!

  167. So, this is Libertarianism?
    Pseudo Intellectualizing yourselves into boxes all day long?

  168. So, this is Libertarianism?
    Pseudo Intellectualizing yourselves into boxes all day long?

    LOL WUT

  169. Governor Sarah Palin is a man in a woman’s garb; her estrogen levels leave a lot to be desired. Make no mistake about her, she is NO Hillary Clinton and needs to hightail her little shrill white @#$ back to Alaska. I will bet there aren’t 18+ million votes in all of Alaska even if you included all the citizenry of any age, all the dogs, all the wolves, all the seals, all the polar bears, the walrus, moose and whalesl! Talk about pimping your way to the top! Nothing to be proud of.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.