Politics

Sarah Palin: Ambition, Incoherence, and Paranoia

|

It's been more than a week since Sarah Palin announced that she was resigning from the governorship of Alaska, and we still don't really know why. Despite intimations that a major scandal might be on the horizon, none has emerged. Nor has any clear reason come from Palin or her supporters. Several prominent journalistic attempts to explain her decision have fallen short: Time gave us a vapid contrarian reading of her resignation (Palin as "renegade"); The Weekly Standard sang flackish hosannas to her free-spirited political persona (she is "breaking free" from a governor's office that's been a "trap"). Although it's still possible that some crucial facts are missing, we have to accept the possibility that Palin's decision to resign will remain somewhat inscrutable. That said, I think her brief history on the national stage has given us a handful of useful clues into her personality: 

Incoherence: As Slate's Dahlia Lithwick points out, Palin has never been coherent except when scripted or interpreted by someone else. Even when given time to prepare remarks, as with her borderline nonsensical resignation speech, she seems unable to express herself in any clear, cogent manner. The consistency of her incoherence in combination with the unexpectedness of her decision to resign suggest both a lack of impulse control and poor reasoning skills. So it may simply be that it's tough to discern why Palin quit because there simply is no reason — other than that Palin isn't very good at thinking things through or acting rationally.

Ambition: Palin seems to have a genuine connection with the weird, frontier-like culture of Alaska, but she's also renowned for her ambition, and governing the state has limited her opportunities to both to live in the public eye and to make money off of doing so. Levi Johnston, the former fiance of Palin's daughter Bristol and father of Bristol's child, has said that, during the brief period in which he lived with the Palin family, he heard a fair bit of talk around the house about a very lucrative potential book deal, as well as the possibility of a Palin-hosted talk show. For someone who seems to view herself as a particularly important and deserving figure on the national stage, the fame and fortune dangling in front of her must have been extremely tempting. 

Paranoia: Perhaps there isn't actually a serious scandal brewing, but instead, Palin quit out of an undue, hypersensitive fear of negative coverage combined with an extreme victim mentality. She's exhibited such paranoia before: A few weeks ago, CBS News published emails from the campaign trail depicting a fight between Palin and the McCain's chief strategist, Steve Schmidt, over whether or not to respond to stories about her husband Todd's membership in a fringe Alaska secessionist group, the Alaska Independence Party.

After hearing someone from a crowd shout a derisive remark about his membership, Palin sent an email to Schmidt grossly exaggerating what had happened, saying that she'd seen protester signs and received questions about her husband's AIP membership from multiple reporters. She wanted a statement released addressing the issue. But the statement she wanted released — that secession isn't part of the group's platform and that Todd's membership was an "error" — was untrue.  

Schmidt called her bluff and refused to send out any statement about Todd's membership, arguing that doing so would only draw attention to what was really a non-issue. The incident seems revealing: Palin, faced with a single comment in a rope line, built up substantial threat in her mind where none previously existed and then attempted to readjust the facts of the case to make her and her family seem more victimized.

One wonders if that's exactly what she's done here, particularly given that Palin's lawyer recently sent a four-page letter to a number of media organizations threatening to sue if any of them published potentially "defamatory" material. Doing so, of course, simply made the story bigger and stranger, and gave news organizations more opportunity to write about the accusations in question. 

In other words, there isn't a firm "answer" perfectly explaining why she decided to step down. But there are some telling behavioral patterns, all of which seem to have been at play in her decision to resign.  Palin's time on the national stage has been short, but a few common threads have emerged: paranoia, poor reasoning, and an outsize sense of self-importance. I can't help but think that those are the same factors that drove her to quit. 

Last week, Cathy Young wrote about Sarah Palin and the future of conservatism.     

NEXT: Last Week's Top 5 Hit & Run Posts

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. Can we get Todd Palin to run for something?

    Might be interesting to see what happens to the country when Secession is on the table.

  2. So she’s the anti-Hillary when what the Republicans really need is an anti-Obama.

  3. If a person has too many interests to bother to go to work, it would make sense to quit before getting fired.

  4. Sarah Palin is a pure politician, without the obfuscating layers of pseudo-intellectuality and aversion to any risk. And it obviously shows.

    HILLARY-PALIN OCTAGON DEATHMATCH – PAY-PER-VIEW EXTRAVAGANZA!

  5. Palin is an amateur. Like Ross Perot and Jesse Ventura before her, she can’t stand the heat.

    It’s hilarious the way earnest conservatives keep urging her to bone up on policy. Sarah Palin don’t read books, honey! Sarah Palin writes books, and gets paid big money to do so! It will be even more hilarious, if she does “write” a book, to watch Bill Kristol et al. pretend they take it seriously.

    She will surely run in the Republican Primary, get her feelings hurt, quit, jump back in again, and get beaten. Like a lot of people, I think she will ultimately end up on Fox.

  6. Since when did libertarians have a problem with politicians leaving their jobs? Frankly, I would hope that every politician would be willing to leave their job and do so soon.

  7. Palin has a $500,000 legal bill from the frivolous, politically motivated lawsuits against her. I don’t know how many of us would stay in their offices after facing that much opposition.

  8. Well, she’s still the Governor. Doesn’t it make sense to wait until she is free from that obligation and observe what she does, before we try to discern the “reason” for her resignation? My guess is she’s going to sign an extremely lucrative book deal, perhaps get a gig on TV in LA or NYC, and then questions as to why she would resign from the Governorship of the state used to be attached to Siberia will become quite apparent.

  9. I think she figures that she can do better as a talking head and author than in politics. She’s not very good at public speaking, which just kills her chances on the national stage. Of course, she also has some gaps in her knowledge that she’ll need to work on if she wants to do TV. Not by learning everything, of course, just learning to bullshit better. Honestly, I think very few people consider her a viable candidate in 2012–there just isn’t anyone interesting to talk about at this point, especially with Sanford falling on his sword.

    The more important Palin, Michael, has just become president of the Royal Geographical Society.

  10. I think you’re reading too much into her actions, Peter. My guess is that it’s mostly money (book deal, TV show, etc.) combined with having to go back to Alaska after being huge on the national stage. People get addicted to their 15 minutes and will often do seemingly illogical things to get it back.

    My guess is that she wants the money from a possible book deal and TV show and is hoping that the TV show can return her to greater prominence again.

  11. Peter, I think money was a factor, but not in the direct way that you suggest. Palin obviously wants to be on the national stage in 2012, but there are ethics issues to using the office of Governor for personal political ambitions. SarahPAC was an attempt to get around the issues, but it apparently wasn’t effective.
    Now, she can make millions off of a book deal, and tons of publicity in a likely nationwide book tour paid for by the publisher. Such a media campaign would likely result in much friendlier coverage for her and her future ambitions than if she remained Governor of Alaska. Additionally, with her publisher sponsoring a media tour, they have much more control over the content of her interviews and media appearances, making her less likely to appear “incoherent” to the public.

  12. think of how many millions of people are going to tune into the trainwreck that will be the first episode of “The Palin Power Hour”.

  13. What, David Harsanyi, writes a column that doesn’t include what an idiot Palin is but you don’t print that one?

    Pretty lame to avoid your own columnists when they don’t fit your meme. It is usually called “intellectual dishonesty” but I am sure you simply got it lost in all the “Thank science Palin wasn’t elected President” articles. Not that “I” was confused about the actual position for which she was running. Here is a hint, it wasn’t President.

  14. SEX TAPE, YOU FOOLS, SEX TAPE! STARRING SARAH, BRISTOL, AND DAN HAGGERTY.

  15. Can we get “O & P: Olbermann v. Palin” as a nightly television show? It would either be heaven on earth of one of the signs of Apocalypse.

  16. Marshall Gill – wasn’t that article just more of a send-up of Obama than a defense of Palin? I mean, after all, she probably would have done all the terrible things the President has done, and I doubt Harsanyi would defend her then, either.

  17. Marshall Gill | July 13, 2009, 3:02pm | #

    Thanks Marshall, for a minute there I was afraid that this piece on Palin wouldn’t get any comments about how Reason is on a crusade to destroy Palin and is in the bag for the Democrats.

  18. “SEX TAPE, YOU FOOLS, SEX TAPE! STARRING SARAH, BRISTOL, AND DAN HAGGERTY.”

    EDWARDS-RIELLE-SANFORD-PALIN xXx VIAGR@ BI-PARTISAN 4-WAY…OOOOOOHHHH!

  19. ENOUGH ABOUT PALIN ALREADY!

  20. In case anyone was wondering, here’s what Marshall Gill is referencing:

    What if Palin were President?

    I am very hard-pressed to read that as a defense of her. Everyone else agree?

  21. She will benefit from going on news shows. Lets be honest, most journalists don’t know much. It won’t be hard to look good compared to your typical Washington talking head. She also will benefit from low expectations. How can you look bad when everyone says your stupid and all you have to do to look smart is match wits with the likes of Chris Mathews?

  22. Thanks Marshall, for a minute there I was afraid that this piece on Palin wouldn’t get any comments about how Reason is on a crusade to destroy Palin and is in the bag for the Democrats.

    Why does she inspire such devotion from a subsection of the right? Why? I just don’t get it. I also don’t get why she inspires such vitriol from the left, but at least that can be viewed as the left attacking an enemy.

    It’s just such a massive amount of energy expended over someone who most likely will, at best, be a minor political player.

  23. Palin is an amateur. Like Ross Perot and Jesse Ventura before her

    Is anyone really surprised that this is what we get when we clamor for “citizen legislators”?

  24. “How can you look bad when everyone says your stupid and all you have to do to look smart is match wits with the likes of Chris Mathews?”

    With Mathews, its easy: Wear a short skirt. He’s a sucker for the ladies, fine tradition of progressive Irish pols who are somewhat boorish with the women. I bet he wishes he was on FOX just for the hot-hot Fox-Fembot action.

  25. “Why does she inspire such devotion from a subsection of the right? Why? I just don’t get it. I also don’t get why she inspires such vitriol from the left, but at least that can be viewed as the left attacking an enemy.”

    The same reason feminists loved Bill Clinton even though he was serial womanizer and sexual harrasser; having the right enemies. A lot of people on the right hate the national media more than they hate the Democrats. The more the media hates Palin, the more some people on the right love her. Also the media is so hypocritical in their attacks on her. Everyone knows Biden is a complete baffoon with a room temperature IQ. But he gets a pass and was called statesmenlike and Palin gets pounded for everything half of which wasn’t even true.

  26. She should be paranoid, after lying about Trig for so long.

    After all, how could somebody who calls herself a “feminist” trounce her society’s oath of eugenics by failing to abort the retarded fetus?

  27. Honestly Epi, regardless of what you think about Palin, doesn’t it infuriate you to see some bubblehead like Katie Courac act like Palin is some idiot unfit for public life? Are you kidding me?

  28. Palin gets pounded

    *snickers*

    and boy am I tired of the Right working the refs.

  29. AO,

    Joe Biden may be the dumbest person ever to hold high office this country. The guy is walking talking gaffe machine. If Palin had said half the stupid shit he has, she would have been killed worse than she has been. But Biden is never held to anything. Better to obsess about Palin’s OBGYN records than worry about the fact that our VP is a moron.

  30. Honestly Epi, regardless of what you think about Palin, doesn’t it infuriate you to see some bubblehead like Katie Courac act like Palin is some idiot unfit for public life? Are you kidding me?

    Uhh…why the fuck would I care? I don’t get infuriated by the media baboons; I ignore them.

  31. Comparing and contrasting Obama with Palin is a fool’s errand, but I do wonder if she might not make better decisions than he does. Probably not, but that’s a damned low bar.

  32. “Uhh…why the fuck would I care? I don’t get infuriated by the media baboons; I ignore them.”

    Some get infuriated. You asked why people are loyal to Palin. I think the reason why is the people who like Palin hate her enemies more than they care about Palin’s flaws.

  33. “Comparing and contrasting Obama with Palin is a fool’s errand, but I do wonder if she might not make better decisions than he does. Probably not, but that’s a damned low bar.”

    How could she have possibly done worse? She could have sat in the oval office playing Wii for the past six months and done better than Obama simply by not doing any damage.

  34. Supporting Palin is just a wonderful way to give the entire washington establishment the finger. This is especially true now that BO has been revealed to be at best an empty suit and at worst a real bonifide nasty ass leftist.

  35. See, guys, Palin is the right-wing version of Obama: a tabula rasa, a blank screen, onto which partisans project their own views. Want proof that the Right is full of loonies, weirdos and fundies? Look at Palin. Want proof that the average gal deserves a shot and the media is biased against the Right? look at Palin.

  36. Supporting Palin is just a wonderful way to give the entire washington establishment the finger.

    Is the entire country the “Washington Establishment” now?

    If you think hitching your star to incoherent, anti-intellectual politicians is the way to go, John, you have a long time in the desert ahead of you.

  37. The Republicans will never get anywhere until they come up with a candidate who really doesn’t give a flying fuck what the beltway media thinks of them. It would be nice to have a candidate who was truely fearless and told the Dems and the media and purveyers of Washington conventional wisdom to fuck off.

    Margerat Thatcher used to say that when liberals won an election government expanded. When conservatives won it stayed were it was. The Republicans are going to have to come up with someone who breaks that paradigm and has the courage not to care when all the powers that be trash them as being a nut.

  38. Listen, I just want to put this out here. I hate Palin and was/am deeply disturbed by her inability to put a few nouns and prepositions together in a coherent manner.

    But…uh…yeah.

    I want to have dirty dirty sex with Ms. Palin. I want her to wink at me in that filthy way as those fields get plowed.

    So yeah. I really want to have sex with Palin.

    That is all. I apologize.

  39. AO,

    Why don’t you just write Na Na na. It would make as much sense and take up less space.

  40. John, you really think Katie Couric was being unfair?

    “What newspapers do you read?”
    “Um, all of them”

    I mean, what the fuck, John? you have some balls defending the one who acted like a Dumb Hick on more than one occasion.

  41. EV! HOW MUCH WOULD YOU PAY TO SEE A SARAH PALIN SEX TAPE? OR, BETTER YET, A SARAH PALIN PORN FILM, WITH GOVERNOR PALIN IN THE ROLE OF THE RELUCTANT LIBRARIAN?

  42. “John, you really think Katie Couric was being unfair?”

    No I think Couric is an idiot who got where she is on looks and has no basis to criticize anyone’s intelligence.

  43. For all te complaining bout her $500K in legal bills, why not just set up a legal defense fun like every other scandal plagued politician?

    Margerat Thatcher used to say that when liberals won an election government expanded. When conservatives won it stayed were it was. The Republicans are going to have to come up with someone who breaks that paradigm and has the courage not to care when all the powers that be trash them as being a nut.

    Except under Bush, the government expanded more than anyone since FDR. Even O doesn’t have him beat because the $700 B happened under GWB.

  44. I still find it odd that anyone with a libertarian mindset or leaning would begrudge anyone for leaving government to pursue a career in the private sector. Is it that a career in writing a book and hosting a TV show is not a worthy endeavor?

    The rest is just the same crap you can hear on Fox or CNN during a slow news day. Over analyzing why someone did something when nothing tawdry or more appealing comes to light.

    She took her toys and left the sandbox. Who cares.

  45. AO,

    Couric is a dumb hick. She knows nothing about anything outside of the two coasts. She has never held a productive job. She has been nothing in her life but a news reader paid to look cute. She is no better than a stripper. She just happened to find a way to keep her clothes on while she made a living. The entire MSM are a bunch of dumb hicks who have no idea how the real world works. Palin may be a dumb hick to, but no one in the media has any right to criticize as such.

  46. Like I said, she’s a blank slate for partisans. John uses her to beat up on “TEH LIBRUL MEDIA!!!111ONE1!”; liberals use her to beat up on fundies.

  47. “Except under Bush, the government expanded more than anyone since FDR. Even O doesn’t have him beat because the $700 B happened under GWB.”

    The first round of TARP came under Bush. The later rounds of TARP and the 700 billion plus stimulus came under Obama. Get your facts right.

  48. Thank You America – And Damn You, You Bastards
    By Jabr Al Jabouri
    Al-Bayyna Al-Jadida [Baghdad]
    July 1, 2009

    America chose to save us from the most evil party, and the most despicable President in the universe [Saddam]. Meanwhile, the Arab powers stood firmly against the American project. They used all means to thwart them, but Allah’s will had another say in this matter. America turned the Ba’athists into the world’s laughing stock by showing them fleeing in their underwear on live television. Meanwhile, the Arab powers turned those cowards into national heroes on their satellite channels.

    America gave the lives of 4,000 of its people to Iraq’s land to instill security and democracy, while the Arabs sent us their filthy mercenaries who mercilessly murdered, bombed, and slaughtered the Iraqi people.

    http://www.albayyna-new.com/

  49. hmm,

    You are right. I don’t see how Libertarians could have a problem with any politician who leaves public office. But finding fault in Palin is a way for stupid people to feel smart.

  50. oh no, someone criticized a Republican. Don your Partisan Armor, John!

    She has never held a productive job. She has been nothing in her life but a news reader paid to look cute.

    your jealousy is transparent. Regardless, engaging in ad hominems against the media doesn’t eviscerate the point that Palin IS TOO DUMB to play the game.

  51. Poor impulse control? Compared to who? Biden?

  52. Let’s not bicker and argue about who is dumber than who. Palin is a fool, and Obama is incompetent. Ah, bipartisanship.

  53. “BO has been revealed to be at best an empty suit”

    Our Johnny Bravo President.

  54. AO,

    What has Couric ever done besides have a tight ass and read competently from a teleprompter? She is a bubbleheaded news babe.

  55. “Let’s not bicker and argue about who is dumber than who. Palin is a fool, and Obama is incompetent. Ah, bipartisanship.”

    True enough. But we can’t do that because it has been decided that BO is errudite and the most brilliant human being ever to grace the planet.

  56. you’re not much smarter than she is.

    Regardless, you’re still engaging in ad hominems rather than address the point the media made. It doesn’t matter if the Town Fool said Palin was too dumb for politics: that would make the Town Fool right as well.

  57. you can talk about Biden and Mathews and Couric all you want, John, but you know what? Based on the evidence, Palin is dumber than ALL OF THEM. She couldn’t even take the time to string together a coherent resignation speech. Mathews may say airhead things, but at least I can understand him when he utters a sentence.

  58. “you can talk about Biden and Mathews and Couric all you want, John, but you know what? Based on the evidence, Palin is dumber than ALL OF THEM. She couldn’t even take the time to string together a coherent resignation speech. Mathews may say airhead things, but at least I can understand him when he utters a sentence.”

    Do you not speak English? I have seen Palin on lots of interviews and I can understand her just fine. What did she turn you down for a date in college or something? Is Palin a genius? No. But most of our politicans are morons who were born into political families. Palin is no worse than someone like Nancy Pelosi or Joe Biden or Trent Lott or Arlan Spector or Olympia Snow or any of about 500 or so national politicians you can name.

    The question is why Palin is singled out for special scorn when she is no worse and in some cases better than our entire disfunctional political class.

  59. “I don’t see how Libertarians could have a problem with any politician who leaves public office”

    Are libertarians doing this? I thought it was just an interesting and amusing thing to discuss while wasting time at work. I don’t really care what she does, but it is unusual how this has all played out and as such is interesting and worthy of note.

  60. If you want to eliminate morons from politics, I am sorry but Palin is pretty far down the list.

  61. I want to have dirty dirty sex with Ms. Palin. I want her to wink at me in that filthy way as those fields get plowed.

    I bet she has a huge C.

  62. Every second post in this thread is John ‘defending’ Palin in every possible way except the important one:

    Demonstrating that she really isn’t dumb as a fucking brick.

    Biden is irrelevant. Couric is irrelevant (though in the end, it doesn’t actually matter who asks the question when it’s a softball like ‘what newspapers do you read’ — a trained chimp could have made Palin look like a retard with that one). Obama is irrelevant.

    Because the only actual comparison anyone needs to make is: is she smarter than your average high school student?

    The answer, based on everything she’s ever said in public, is ‘no’.

  63. i still love turkey-murdergate. that was some hysterical shit.

  64. Asserting that Katie Couric is dumb is no way to win an argument if you’re trying to establish that Sarah Palin is competent. The Couric/Palin interview had a clear loser, and it wasn’t Couric.

  65. You know what’s odd about Palin? At least for me? Before she was tapped to be McCain’s running mate, I saw her a couple of times on TV, usually on Alaska or “Western” issues. She seemed pretty good then, full of common sense and even a little limited governmenty. I can’t reconcile that person with who she’s been since her nomination. It’s really weird.

  66. “But we can’t do that [say Obama is incompetent] because it has been decided that BO is erudite and the most brilliant human being ever to grace the planet.”

    What do you mean we can’t do that? We do it every day.

  67. “Because the only actual comparison anyone needs to make is: is she smarter than your average high school student?

    The answer, based on everything she’s ever said in public, is ‘no’.”

    I would say being a nobody and managing to get yourself elected governor of a state means you have a better IQ than a high school student. At least half of our political class are the sons and daughters of connected politcals who have never had to accomplish anything on their own in their life. And on top of that, they are morons who have managed to fuck up every governmental institution in the country. But, somehow, it is Palin that is the moron, no Pelosi, Reid, Arnold, et.al.

  68. “You know what’s odd about Palin? At least for me? Before she was tapped to be McCain’s running mate, I saw her a couple of times on TV, usually on Alaska or “Western” issues. She seemed pretty good then, full of common sense and even a little limited governmenty. I can’t reconcile that person with who she’s been since her nomination. It’s really weird.”

    I saw those same interviews. I think she was unready for the national stage. I think the McCain people totally mishandled her and didn’t let her be herself. I have seen plenty of interviews with her where she has done great. It is hard to explain. Maybe she cracked under the pressure. If Andrew Sullivan were posting every day about my medical records, I might crack to.

  69. I would say being a nobody and managing to get yourself elected governor of a state means you have a better IQ than a high school student.

    and I would say you are full of shit. a) there are geniuses in high school. b) getting elected is more a function of social skills than intelligence.

    If being smart were a way to political power, libertarians would be a real party: we have plenty of smarts, the problem is that we are mostly a bunch of geeks.

  70. No I think Couric is an idiot who got where she is on looks and has no basis to criticize anyone’s intelligence.

    Dude, this is weak.

    You spend half the thread on a rampage about how unfair the media was to Palin.

    Then someone asks you how Katie Couric was unfair to Palin.

    Obviously you scratched your head, remembered the interview in question, and realized that Couric didn’t really do anything but ask extreme softball questions, get confused when Palin couldn’t answer them, and then go on with the rest of the interview.

    So all of a sudden the issue gets switched to, “Well, Couric is stupid, so no one gets to call Palin out for looking stupid in an interview done by Couric.” Um…what?

  71. I would say being a nobody and managing to get yourself elected governor of a state means you have a better IQ than a high school student.

    Well, insert “VP” or “Senator” and I guess I expect to hear you say the same thing about Biden.

  72. I feel sorry for her book editor.

  73. I feel sorry for her book editor.

    Why? Ghostwriters are usually pretty good writers.

  74. I figure Palin lost her composure when the attacks started coming, and she’s never gotten it back. To be fair, the media (in large part) was ridiculous in its zeal to take her down. Biden is at least as bad in public as she is. And he has decades of experience. Of course, she was new news, attractive, and perceived as a threat to the Obamanation. So she had to be destroyed.

    I’d vote for Couric. Her perkiness would restore America’s reputation in the world.

  75. “I would say being a nobody and managing to get yourself elected governor of a state means you have a better IQ than a high school student.”

    Really?

    I mean… really?

    She’s a fucking prom queen. Of course she can win a popularity contest. That’s all she’s ever done her whole life.

    You seem to be careening wildly back and forth between ‘politicians are all dumb’ and ‘Palin is not dumb because she’s achieved something in politics.’ You can’t actually have it both ways.

    Either politics is a tough gig filled with smart operators (and Palin isn’t one) or politics is bullshit, filled with idiots (of which Palin is an excellent example).

    But let’s take a step back. Listen to the woman speak extemporaneously on ANY TOPIC. I’ve heard five-year-olds with a better grasp of the English language. She seems to always be in a life-and-death struggle with her endless, serpentine sentences (not to mention her actual arguments, which seem to completely overwhelm her).

    It’s important for Palin defenders to bring arguments unrelated to her actual performance in the public eye to the discussion… because we’ve *all seen her speak*. Nobody here — or, outside of the bastions of wingnuttery, anywhere in the nation — has any doubts about the woman’s intellect.

    Seriously, dude. She’s self-evidently a fucking moron with a pretty face. She’s a prom queen princess. Why are you defending her?

  76. thought experiment: tonight Katie Couric, on the nightly news, does a highlight reel of Joe Biden’s gaffes.

    Now, fast-forward to the next-day at reason. Is John pounding the desk, asking Katie Couric where she gets off making fun of someone’s intellect? Is he calling her a bubbleblonde media-head now?

  77. And what’s it say about us that people like Palin, Obama, Biden, Bush, Clinton(s), Gore, et al. are dominating the national stage in recent years? What the hell is wrong with this country?

    I didn’t particularly like Old Man Bush, but he’s the last president who I thought had any business even running for the job.

  78. “Everyone knows Biden is a complete baffoon with a room temperature IQ. But he gets a pass and was called statesmenlike and Palin gets pounded for everything half of which wasn’t even true.”

    That’s not actually true. Palin doesn’t get criticized for stupidity. It’s because she isn’t informed, and takes pride in not being informed. Biden gets a pass because he is informed. It is a side issue that both are stupid.

  79. Don’t retarded kids have bigger than normal heads?

    I bet it would be like fucking a hefty trash bag.

  80. ed, none of those three are citizen legislators. Two successfully became state executives. I’d take citizen legislators over the professional class that’s knowingly taking us down the road to serfdom, anyday.

  81. We won’t have Palin to kick around anymore!!

  82. I think I’M going to crack if someone doesn’t, — please, for the love of God! — finally teach John the difference between “to” and “too.” (And I bet that someone won’t be Palin.)

  83. “””Joe Biden may be the dumbest person ever to hold high office this country. The guy is walking talking gaffe machine.”””

    He has a long way to go before he rises to the level of Bush 41 and 43. But he is trying.

    I’m starting to think Palin is done holding office, and she just wants to be a cheerleader. She wants to promote her idea but not acutally hold office. My bet is she’ll be a Fox News Network host or radio personality by the end of next year.

  84. “Nobody here — or, outside of the bastions of wingnuttery, anywhere in the nation — has any doubts about the woman’s intellect.”

    I absolutely cannot stand Palin, but c’mon. The ability to speak is not equivalent to intellect. Public speaking is one thing, intellectual ability is another. They are not related.

  85. “I figure Palin lost her composure when the attacks started coming, and she’s never gotten it back. To be fair, the media (in large part) was ridiculous in its zeal to take her down. Biden is at least as bad in public as she is. And he has decades of experience. Of course, she was new news, attractive, and perceived as a threat to the Obamanation. So she had to be destroyed.”

    I think that about sums it up. What was and is amazing is that people who should know better reserve so much vennom for Palin but can’t seem to get too upset about the people who are actually destroying the country. Criticizing Palin has become a brand. It is a way for the stupid and uniformed to feel smart and better about themselves. Generally, the more venenom someone has towards Palin, the less interesting their views are about anything else.

  86. And what’s it say about us that people like Palin, Obama, Biden, Bush, Clinton(s), Gore, et al. are dominating the national stage in recent years?

    Bill Clinton was a Rhodes scholar and if the IQ test figures leaked for him are accurate, he can join Mensa any time he wants. Hillary Clinton was valedictorian at Wellesley. The Clintons are collectivist assholes [Hillary much more than Bill] but it’s a bit silly to claim that they’re stupid.

    And please, spare me the “Well, you can go to Oxford and can be first in your class at Wellesley and be stupid!” stuff too, OK?

    Biden, Obama and Gore I’m not going to defend, but if we throw Bill in with Palin the entire concept of intellect doesn’t really have much meaning any more. Putting Bill in the same boat as Palin makes you sound like one of those “Well, there are different kinds of intelligence” or “Don’t you believe in emotional intelligence?” or “What does intelligence really measure anyway?” people, and you don’t want to be one of those.

  87. “too upset”
    Woohoo! I knew you had it in ya!

  88. “I absolutely cannot stand Palin, but c’mon. The ability to speak is not equivalent to intellect. Public speaking is one thing, intellectual ability is another. They are not related.”

    Having done about 80 trials in my career as a trial lawyer, I can say you are absolutely right. It is really hard. The simplest thing when done in a public forum because difficult. I can’t imagine giving a one take interview to a journalist who hates my guts and is not above editing to make me look stupid. It would have taken someone of Reagan or Thatcherite stature to be thrown to the wolves the way Palin was and come out of it ok.

  89. Fluffy,

    Clinton is a brilliant person. No one could deny that. But there is a difference between intellegence and wisdom. The three smartest Presidents of the 20th Century were probably Wilson, Nixon and Clinton. I leave it to you to consider the implications of that.

  90. It would have taken someone of Reagan or Thatcherite stature to be thrown to the wolves the way Palin was and come out of it ok.

    And why shouldn’t the GOP expect such stature of someone who wants to be the voice of the party? She isn’t interviewing for a third grade teachers job. she is SUPPOSED to be able to do this kind of thing and look good – that’s kind of the point.

  91. I can sort of understand why the left whats to destroy Palin….but i really do not understand is why people at Reason do.

    My guess is it comes from thier paranoia, poor reasoning, and an outsize sense of self-importance.

    Palin is only slightly smarter then Biden and a million times less harmful…how about you guys at Reason go find someone who actaully matters to go attack….and maybe actaully have a case involving free minds and free markets when you do it.

  92. No. I will not accept the ‘public speaking is hard’ excuse.

    SHE COULDN’T NAME A NEWSPAPER BY NAME THAT SHE READS.

    Case closed. There are plenty of other examples, but… no. Case closed.

  93. “she is SUPPOSED to be able to do this kind of thing and look good – that’s kind of the point.”

    True but no one does it well from the start. Reagan was President of the SAG, governor of California, and spent 8 years on the lecture circuit before he even ran for President much less was on a major ticket. I look at Palin like an 18 year old pitcher some desparate organization pulled from A ball and threw into the majors. She was good minor league talent wasted on a losing cause.

  94. I can sort of understand why the left whats to destroy Palin….but i really do not understand is why people at Reason do.

    The left doesn’t need to destroy Palin – they are content to let her destroy herself. The GOP and anyone who might actually have an interest in smaller government need to destroy Palin, before she destroys any credibility the movement might still have.

  95. “I can sort of understand why the left whats to destroy Palin….but i really do not understand is why people at Reason do.

    My guess is it comes from thier paranoia, poor reasoning, and an outsize sense of self-importance.”

    Dissing Palin is a way to feel smart. The whole thing is pathetic. Palin at least pretends to be commmitted to small government. You would think Reason would cut her some slack. Instead they attack her more than a lot of other people who have done a lot more damage. I think it is a cultural thing more than anything else.

  96. “””I can sort of understand why the left whats to destroy Palin….but i really do not understand is why people at Reason do.”””

    Are you kidding? Reason isn’t interested in destroying Palin, they think she can handle that one on her own.

  97. She was good minor league talent wasted on a losing cause.

    Except in politics, you call yourself up to the big leagues. She should’ve known she wasn’t ready. Going national anyway demonstrates poor judgement, and lack of strategic thinking, and poor grasp of her own limitations. None of which are good traits for a leader.

  98. Fluffy said it best last week – this should be printed as a preemptive rebuttal on all Palin threads:

    Palin has defenders because she ended up as the VP candidate and temporary face of the pseudoconservative movement, and while she was in that position a lot of people aggressively committed to defending her – and now those people can’t back down, because that would involve admitting that they were either wrong, or deliberately full of shit for electoral purposes.

    There’s no reason to try to puzzle out why these pundits like Palin, because it’s not really about Palin. It’s about the pundits themselves. They know what her flaws are, and simply refuse to admit them, because during the election they claimed those flaws didn’t exist. Pretending she’s not a flake and rube made its way onto the checklist of things you have to pretend in order to maintain establishment conservative credentials, and now that it’s on the checklist none of these guys will ever back down. It could be revealed that Palin is a robot controlled from within by retarded Mexican midgets and they wouldn’t back down, but would just write paeans to the simple folksy wisdom of Mexican retards and the humility and compassion one learns by being a midget.

  99. Are libertarians doing this? I thought it was just an interesting and amusing thing to discuss while wasting time at work. I don’t really care what she does, but it is unusual how this has all played out and as such is interesting and worthy of note.

    Using the subtitle Ambition between Incoherence and Paranoia sort of sets the stage as ambition being a bad thing. Unless you think the other two things are a good thing?

    Bottom line is leaving office to make money is as old as the founding fathers. Of all the things to question or insult her for that is the last thing anyone with a mildly libertarian view point should be considering a bad thing.

    The other points are valid, the one in the middle (ambition) smacks of talking head punditry from mildly retarded partisan fucktwats that cluster fuck my business news on TV.

  100. “SHE COULDN’T NAME A NEWSPAPER BY NAME THAT SHE READS.”

    You will kindly note that not only did I say that public speaking does not equate to intelligence, I also stated that ‘intelligence’ isn’t her problem. It is that she is uninformed, and glorifies being uninformed.

  101. Palin at least pretends to be commmitted to small government. You would think Reason would cut her some slack.

    Turning the cause into a joke from the inside is worse than attacking it from the outside. It’s like if you found yourself agreeing with Lonewacko or something…

  102. “””Palin at least pretends to be commmitted to small government. You would think Reason would cut her some slack.”””

    Cut her some slack for pretending? Electing people who pretend to be committed to small government hasn’t worked well for the nation. No one should give the pretenders slack, we’ve done that for too long.

  103. Fluffy,

    I wasn’t equating their intelligence; I was equating their inexperience and apparent lack of aptitude for the White House (or Naval Observatory). The reasons for that vary wildly among those I named.

    I think one odd trend is that of moving towards young or young-seeming (thinking GWB here) candidates. Experience alone means little–McCain and Biden have plenty of that–but it does give us something critical: a track record.

  104. “It is that she is uninformed, and glorifies being uninformed.”

    How does blanking out on a single question in one inveriew cause you to conclude she glorifies in being uniformed? List ten things Palin has said that cause you to believe that she glorifies in being uniformed. I mean if she really glorifies in being uniformed there should be lots of quotes where she says she loves being uniformed. I would like to see them.

  105. Trickyvic,

    She is not a pretender. She actually believes it. Even Reason admits that. They don’t say she isn’t sincerely for small government. They say she is crazy or stupid.

  106. I find it curious that so many words have been written about a woman that supposedly is so dumb, incoherent and inarticulate. It would seem that if a person was so completely unable to navigate the daily minefields of eating breakfast or brushing her teeth, that she wouldn’t warrant such all consuming attention.

    But apparently writers around the US are compelled to explain to me time and again that Sarah Palin is one stupid bitch. Why is that?

    Why are so many people so eager to not only drive Palin from office, or politics but seemingly from the face of the planet? What is this obsession.

    At what point will people finally feel safe again?

    This circus has completed it’s third ring. Can you just move on already?

  107. John – she’s an embarassment. The left laughs at her, and thinks she is a joke. The majority of the country, and even the people of her home state are sick of her. She is not an effective communicator or advocate for the ideas she espouses – however sincere she may be. She is telegenic. She is qualified to be a talk show host, not president. Let it go.

  108. John defends Palin because he’s John, and that is his way. Does anyone have any doubt how the thought experiment I posited would come out?

  109. Well said eb.

  110. No one has mentioned the Vanity Fair article.

    The second thing McCain could have discovered about Palin is that no political principle or personal relationship is more sacred than her own ambition. To be sure, Palin is “conservative,” whatever that means, but she can be all over the lot in the articulation of her platform. In a June interview with Sean Hannity, she sounded like a New Dealer when she proudly proclaimed that “a share of our oil-resource revenue goes back to the people who own the resources-imagine that.” In the next breath, sounding like a “starve the beast” conservative, she said she hoped the price of oil, the principal variable of state revenue, would not rise too much. “The fewer dollars that the state of Alaska government has, the fewer dollars we spend, and that’s good for our families and the private sector.” Palin has always been a party of one.

  111. No Ao,

    I defend Palin because people like you are full of shit and dislike her for all the wrong reasons. If you actually knew what she thought and had a legitimate beef with her, that would be one thing. But you don’t. It is strictly a cultural thing. It is just a way for people without creative thoughts to feel better about themeselves. Again, Palain, while hardly Reagan, seemms to commit no more gaffes publicly than President they speak Austrian in Vienna or any other politician for that matter. But people like you an Ilsider reserve special hatred for Palin because it is your way of feeling smart I guess.

  112. I still think the problem with politics is the citizenry. Look at Congress’s approval rating before the presidental primary, and then try to figure out how anyone could think one of those guys would make a good president.

  113. again, no, John, I don’t have any special feelings about her as a person one way or the other. What I do have “special feelings” about is the apparent need for people like you, for transparently partisan reasons, to defend her when the record speaks for itself.

  114. Or how about Obama saying in response to a question concerning the recent scholarship indicating that the New Deal made the Depression worse by saying “that is not what they taught me in school.” Now that is a real no kidding case of someone taking pride in being uninformed. But it is Obama so he must be smart right?

  115. I’m shocked that any citizen would vote anyone back into office right now. Excepting–I’m being generous here–maybe 1% of officeholders.

  116. there is a huge difference between believing revisionist literature about the New Deal (because they didn’t teach me that in school, either, John) and claiming that you read all newspapers ’cause you cannot name one!

  117. “I still think the problem with politics is the citizenry. Look at Congress’s approval rating before the presidental primary, and then try to figure out how anyone could think one of those guys would make a good president.”

    You are only as good as the people who make up your society. I am starting to lose faith in the country.

  118. “there is a huge difference between believing revisionist literature about the New Deal (because they didn’t teach me that in school, either, John) and claiming that you read all newspapers ’cause you cannot name one!”

    What Obama said was worse. That was a case of someone taking pride in not learning anything since school. The new histories of the New Deal are very important. Anyone in public policy should know them and have an intelligent opinion on them. Saying “I didn’t learn that in school” is about as dumb of a response as you could give. So dumb, that it is the kind of thing that people like you accuse Palin of making.

  119. “””She is not a pretender. She actually believes it.”””

    I think she thinks she means it, but would have no problem acting contra to that belief when it benefits her or her people. Just like Bush Jr. He ran on a limited government platform in 2000, but had no problem abandoning those principles when he felt it was right to abandon them.

  120. anyway, John, this isn’t Democratic Underground. I have called many politicians of both sides dumb on multiple occasions. The fact that you think you’re arguing with Obama supporters just adds to the hilarity that is you.

  121. AO,

    I don’t know where you went to school, but when I was in college A Monetary History of the US was pretty much compulsory if you were an economics major. Again, any person who claims to be an educated economic policy maker ought to be familiar with the debate about the New Deal. Obama apparently doesn’t know anything except for the cartoon high school history version and is proud of it.

  122. “I think she thinks she means it, but would have no problem acting contra to that belief when it benefits her or her people. Just like Bush Jr. He ran on a limited government platform in 2000, but had no problem abandoning those principles when he felt it was right to abandon them.”

    You have pretty much described every politician in history. Clinton ran as a third way liberal and wound up cutting taxes and reforming welfare and passing NAFTA. As Tolstoy says, “great men are just the names we give to great events.”

  123. “””You are only as good as the people who make up your society. I am starting to lose faith in the country.”””

    I can understand that. But I have a feeling that if you looked back, you would realize you shouldn’t have ever had faith. The founders didn’t, that’s why the Electorial College instead of the citizenry was originally tasked to deciding a president.

    Bottom line, it’s human nature and there is little we can do about it.

  124. “””You have pretty much described every politician in history.”””

    Exactly John, and Palin would have been no different. So why should she bullshit us. That’s the pretending I’m talking about.

  125. Palin is an amateur. Like Ross Perot and Jesse Ventura before her, she can’t stand the heat.

    Not arguing, but I do find it somewhat disturbing that this level of heat is applied only to third party politicians or Republicans who break the mold.

    As long as you conform to the media narrative, they don’t bring the heat. I would have no problem with the savagery directed at Palin if it was equal opportunity savagery, but its not. Obama’s career, short though it may be, is littered with more than enough suggestive episodes that the kind of scrutiny directed at Palin would have destroyed him, to the benefit of us all.

  126. “The founders didn’t, that’s why the Electorial College instead of the citizenry was originally tasked to deciding a president.”

    Direct election of Senators did not help. In some ways I blame it all on the South. Limited federal government was the ideal. Sadly, the South used that as first an excuse to enslave people and then later to run Jim Crow. We could not have a country that was 1/2 slave so we had the civil war. Then we really couldn’t have a country where a large third of it had Jim Crow so we had the civil rights laws. I find the civil rights’ laws trampling of states rights to be deplorable. But I find Jim Crow even more deplorable. Everytime I see some clown pining for the Old South I want to punch them. Those racist fucks screwed it up for everyone.

  127. “””The fact that you think you’re arguing with Obama supporters just adds to the hilarity that is you.”””

    I think H&R’s only Obama supporter stopped posting shortly after the election.

  128. Give it up, John. You (and Palin) lost this one long ago.

  129. John, you’re right in a limited respect: the President should be familiar with alternative positions to the New Deal.

    However, and again, unfamiliarity with the other side is not equivalent to being unable to state what you read for information.

  130. “As long as you conform to the media narrative, they don’t bring the heat. I would have no problem with the savagery directed at Palin if it was equal opportunity savagery, but its not.”

    All Republicans will gladly abandon support of Palin if the media will agree to destroy Biden and Obama. That sounds like a fair deal to me.

  131. Palin confirms jump into national politics

    She’d be well advised not to campaign for anyone in the NE. During the campaign she was in Philly. OK Philly is considered a working class town, very Democratic, pro union, large minority population, and she bombed. So, they decided to take her a few miles west of the city to the Main Line. A lot of old money blue blood Republicans. She bombed. Then she made a statement to the press along the lines of: she was going to small town America, where the “real” America is. Really?

    Stay away SP. Stay away.

  132. “John, you’re right in a limited respect: the President should be familiar with alternative positions to the New Deal.

    However, and again, unfamiliarity with the other side is not equivalent to being unable to state what you read for information.”

    But the media gave BO a pass and savage Palin for less. That is why I defend Palin. As RC says, if the savagry went both ways, it wouldn’t bother me as much.

  133. “””In some ways I blame it all on the South. Limited federal government was the ideal. Sadly, the South used that as first an excuse to enslave people”””

    Seriously? I’m pretty sure slavery was around before we had a federal government. True, the south wanted to keep slavery and the founders had to make concessions to get the Constitution passed, but your blame is misplaced

  134. “However, and again, unfamiliarity with the other side is not equivalent to being unable to state what you read for information.”

    Do you honstly think she has never and does not read any newspapers? Or maybe she just drew a blank on a question. Also, she is a governor. It actually wouldn’t suprise me if she and a lot of other top execs don’t actually read a specific newspaper like you and I do. They have staffs that put together press briefings for them every day. If someone handing you a fully digested press briefing every day, you might not actually read a newspaper.

  135. Tricky – I’ll defend John on that one: look at any legislative monstrosity or abridgment of federalism, and you’re likely to find Jim Crow at the root.

  136. “List ten things Palin has said that cause you to believe that she glorifies in being uniformed.”

    I can’t remember the quote, but I remember Palin during one of the debates. She said economic indicators, jobs and production aren’t worth knowing because you can measure the economy by going to a kids soccer game. Then there was the classic, “I may not answer these questions the way you want or the moderator wants, but I’m going to speak directly to the American people.” Then she couldn’t name a single Supreme Court case that bothers her.

    She didn’t appear to know what the Bush Doctrine was, even if that is a term invented by the media. She didn’t seem to read any newspapers or books. Her Russian foreign policy is based on her sight of vision. She says the Constitution has a right to privacy, and that it is up to the states to determine the extent of that right to privacy. ????

    I mean, c’mon. You might come back with “Well, X politician also isn’t informed”, but that don’t make Sarah Baracuda any more in the know.

  137. “True, the south wanted to keep slavery and the founders had to make concessions to get the Constitution passed, but your blame is misplaced”

    But the South wanted to expand slavery into the territories. They also got Dred Scott. Dred Scott ruled that if a slave owner took his slave to a free state, the slave was still a slave. That meant universal slavery. After Dred, there was nothing to stop a citizen of Missiouri from buying land in a free state and sending his slaves to work it. Something had to be done.

  138. Oh, and on cue, John is repeating the talking points from last year. The “newspaper” question came in a planned interview, John, not an off-the-cuff questioning session.

  139. She didn’t appear to know what the Bush Doctrine was, even if that is a term invented by the media.

    Read the transcript. I was watching the interview and I thought he was talking about the spread of Democracy. He was actually talking about pre-emption. There really is no one “Bush Doctrine”.

    She didn’t seem to read any newspapers or books.

    See my response above.

    Her Russian foreign policy is based on her sight of vision.

    She never said that. Tina Fay said that on Saturday Night live. Palin never said she can see Ruusia from her house. Further, the McCain people fucked up. She really did have experience with foreighn countries. Her state has a huge land border with Canada. Any border governor has a ton of dealings with Canada. I will never understand why they didn’t play that up.

    “She says the Constitution has a right to privacy, and that it is up to the states to determine the extent of that right to privacy.”

    Where and when did she say that? I don’t doubt you but I would like to see the context.

  140. Arguing about Palin is pointless. She’s quickly heading for obscurity, except maybe as some sort of talking head. I don’t think the GOP is very interested in helping her into any national offices.

    It’ll be interesting to see who hits the field for the GOP in 2012. I had thought Sanford was a possible dark horse, but that’s unlikely now.

  141. “Now that is a real no kidding case of someone taking pride in being uninformed. But it is Obama so he must be smart right?”

    OK, Nobody is saying that being wrong a few times is the same as taking pride in being uninformed. But when you go out on the campaign trail and rail against the media and the educated as “elites” not in step with “real America” then you have a pride in underachievement, being uninformed, etc.

    Let’s flip this to the other side: What exactly it is that Palin stands for? Is it the limited government bridge to nowhere biggest pork state in the union? Or something else?

  142. “Oh, and on cue, John is repeating the talking points from last year. The “newspaper” question came in a planned interview, John, not an off-the-cuff questioning session.”

    So what? She blanked on a single question. Again, it wouldn’t surprise me that as a governor she doesn’t read newspapers but has prepared press briefings every day. The point still stands.

  143. John, it wasn’t just a single question, either:

    Couric: And when it comes to establishing your worldview, I was curious, what newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this to stay informed and to understand the world?

    Palin: I’ve read most of them, again with a great appreciation for the press, for the media.

    Couric: What, specifically?

    Palin: Um, all of them, any of them that have been in front of me all these years.

    Couric: Can you name a few?

    Palin: I have a vast variety of sources where we get our news, too.

  144. From the CBS News website:

    Couric: Do you think there’s an inherent right to privacy in the Constitution?

    Palin: I do. Yeah, I do.

    Couric: The cornerstone of Roe v. Wade.

    Palin: I do. And I believe that individual states can best handle what the people within the different constituencies in the 50 states would like to see their will ushered in an issue like that.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/10/01/eveningnews/main4493062.shtml

  145. AB Stoddart (The Hill), Stanley Fish (New York Times) and Roger Simon (Politico), not to mention Ann Coulter all did a better job than Chapman, Young and Suderman. Reason didn’t have the worst coverage, but you did fall victim to the need to sound like other Beltway journalists showing your superiority to Palin. Though she remains more accomplished than you.

  146. “But when you go out on the campaign trail and rail against the media and the educated as “elites” not in step with “real America” then you have a pride in underachievement, being uninformed, etc.”

    But the media and the Washington elite are out of step with America. They are a bunch of assholes who have run the country in the groung. Now, it is a problem that her running mate was one of those assholes who is helping to run the country in the ground. But, she is dead right that the media and governmental elites in this country are fucking things up royally. Further, the business elites haven’t done a good job either. It wasn’t the average person who thought CDS werre a great way to package mortgages. Palin made a valid point that our elites be it on Wall Street, in Academia or Washington have fucking lost their minds. Hasn’t the last six months proven her right?

  147. Actually, I took the Obama quote about the New Deal the exact opposite of the way John took it.

    I thought Obama was in effect saying that New Deal revisionism is absurd, because every schoolchild knows that the New Deal worked.

    So I thought Obama was being an intellectually dishonest dick. But I didn’t think he was revelling in being uninformed. I think he’s just well aware that the default history most Americans know is the statist one, and is happy to leverage that, and condescend to those who offer a non-statist alternative.

  148. AO,

    She fucked up the interview. No question. But again, I don’t think one interview makes you a genius or a moron.

  149. Maybe Palin simply forgot to repeat her line “abortion is murder, not privacy”. But that’s for her to actually say, and not for me to infer.

    “But the media and the Washington elite are out of step with America.”

    Which America? The shrinking, rural white America? You’re probably right. But media companies are big business, and they don’t make a profit unless people want and consume their products. So the media can’t truly be out of touch as much as we like to think. Reason just ran a story a few days ago about how profitable newspapers have been.

    When businesses are “out of touch” with their consumers, they go “out of business”. Right?

  150. “I do. And I believe that individual states can best handle what the people within the different constituencies in the 50 states would like to see their will ushered in an issue like that. ”

    Thanks for the link Lamar. I don’t think what she is saying is that bad. She seems to be saying that each state through their elected officials should have some influence on what the term “privacy” means. It is actually a pretty subversive point. Originally, the founders thought that all three branches of government and the states should have an equal say in interpreting the Constitution. It was only later that our robed overlords came to interpret it for us. I don’t think it is unreasonable or necessarily stupid to say that yes, the fifty states should each have a say in what “privacy” means in thier state.

  151. When businesses are “out of touch” with their consumers, they go “out of business”. Right?

    They are going out of business. NEwspapers are all losing money and nightly news shows have the lowest ratings ever. The old media is dying. I would say they are more out of touch than not.

  152. Fluffy,

    I tend to think that Obama is an economic idiot and not just willfully obtuse. Frankly, that’s not at all uncommon among lawyers, who are usually mathematically illiterate.

  153. Good work, on laying the talk of the town out there, Peter Suderman. I have a suggestion concerning:

    Despite intimations that a major scandal might be on the horizon, none has emerged.

    Since nothing has emerged, it is unlikely to be in the form of Conventional DC Narrative if there is a scandal in the wings. Call the National Enquirer and Hustler up and see if they have sniffed out anything.

  154. What does TMZ have to say about this? They seem to be scooping everyone else on celebrity news lately.

  155. “Newspapers are all losing money and nightly news shows have the lowest ratings ever.”

    https://www.reason.com/blog/show/134620.html

  156. “Which America? The shrinking, rural white America? You’re probably right.”

    How about any America that values fiscal sanity and doesn’t think that government is the sollution to every problem and that people are better at making their own decisions than enlightened bureaucrats? I hope that is more than rural white America.

  157. A person who cannot tackle a problem like teen pregnancy in her own home is probably not the person we need to tackle problems like teen pregnancy at a national level.

    Just sayin’

  158. Interesting link Lamar. But even that link admits “the trend lines are horrible”. Also, the mainline liberal newspapers like the Boston Globe, Washington Post, and New York Times are bleeding red ink like crazy. Hell the Times can’t even make money selling to Manhattanites.

  159. “I don’t think what she is saying is that bad.”

    She doesn’t seem to get how the law works. Each state doesn’t get to decide what “freedom of speech” is.

    What she meant, and I don’t know how else it could be taken, is that there is no privacy in the Constitution, or that the privacy in the Constitution doesn’t apply to abortion, and therefore the issue goes to the states. Otherwise, you’d have 50 different interpretations of every constitutional issue. If you’re in California, making files available on the internet gets you 20 years. If you are in Idaho, it’s free speech.

  160. Are we forgetting that Obama, notwithstanding his ivy background, has difficulty completing a sentence without a plethora of “umms” and “aahs” and other filler language?

    Are we also forgetting that Palin’s convention speech was better than any speech Obama has delivered?

  161. “Hell the Times can’t even make money selling to Manhattanites.”

    True, and I’m rather certain the the NY Times is not out of touch with Manhattanites.

  162. “A person who cannot tackle a problem like teen pregnancy in her own home is probably not the person we need to tackle problems like teen pregnancy at a national level.”

    Maybe it is her fault her daughter is a dimwit who couldn’t keep her legs closed. But maybe not. You would have to know the family personally to know for sure. Beyond that, some of our best Presidents, Reagan and Lincoln come to mind, have not been the best parents.

  163. A person who cannot tackle a problem like teen pregnancy in her own home is probably not the person we need to tackle problems like teen pregnancy at a national level.

    First, I don’t think we need a national level bureaucracy to handle the nonexistent “crisis” of teen pregnancy. Leave it alone.

    Secondly, would you say this our President, who has taken it upon himself to disincentivize smoking while being a smoker?

  164. “If you’re in California, making files available on the internet gets you 20 years. If you are in Idaho, it’s free speech.”

    Honestly I am not so sure that would be a bad system. Admittedly I am giving Palin too much credit. She fumbled explaining abortion. I really wonder what nitwits she had for staff. It is hard to give a tactful not really say anything answer to the abortion question, but it can be done. You just have staff write it for you.

  165. The mere fact that everyone is so adamant in telling me that I should hate this woman and why makes me like her so very much.

    If you’re not contrary, you’re not a Libertarian.

  166. For fuck’s sake, call a spade a spade.

    The only reason(s) the left doesn’t like Sarah Palin is because she’s a Christian and didn’t abort that baby.

    That’s it. Period, the end.

    Get rid of those two things, and they’d think she was an awesome republican that could unite the damn two party system.

  167. “The mere fact that everyone is so adamant in telling me that I should hate this woman and why makes me like her so very much.”

    I can identify with that

  168. There is no argument here,Palin is a dangerous ditz.Suderman’s sources,Dahlia Lithwick,Levi Johnston,and CBS News are unimpeachable paragons of professional objectivity.

  169. And the only reason anyone on the right doesn’t like her is because they’re afraid of being teased and called names by the popular lefty kids.

  170. James Ard | July 13, 2009, 4:14pm | #

    ed, none of those three are citizen legislators. Two successfully became state executives.

    Yeah, but “citizen executives” makes no sense. Citizen legislators is all-encompassing, meaning temporary office-holders, as opposed to the professional political class. Not that there are not members of that class who are even more intellectually unwary than Mrs. Palin.

  171. Pro Lib-

    Wait a minute! Don’t be so quick to disparage your brethern. Some lawyers are quite keen with numbers. For example:

    At a cocktail party, a physician was approached by several guests seeking answers to their medical questions. He was becoming annoyed when he spotted a lawyer with whom he had a casual relationship. The doctor asked the lawyer what he should do to keep from being pestered with medical questions at a social gathering. The lawyer responded, “send each of them a bill for a 15 minute consultation. They won’t approach you with any more questions.”

    Two days later, upon arriving home after a long day’s work at his office and at the hospital, the doctor opened his mail and found a bill from the lawyer-for a 15 minute consultation.

  172. Read the transcript. I was watching the interview and I thought he was talking about the spread of Democracy. He was actually talking about pre-emption. There really is no one “Bush Doctrine”.

    Got to give it to John on this one. Usage of what the Bush Doctrine means changed after that Leninist Inaugural speech (shocked the hell of me when he quoted John Reed) he gave in 2005. Right after that you go the color revolutions, the Lebanon elections, and Palestinian election fiasco, so Bush Doctrine meant something a bit different by that point.

    She still flunked the interview though, and Gibson and Couric were both fair in their treatment.

  173. LM – funny stuff. I’ll have to remember that. Although, to your possible astonishment, there are large firms that bill in six-minute increments.

  174. A person who cannot tackle a problem like teen pregnancy in her own home is probably not the person we need to tackle problems like teen pregnancy at a national level.

    Well, MNG, I guess you would agree that a person who cannot tackle a problem like marital fidelity in their own home, etc.

    Right?

  175. “A person who cannot tackle a problem like teen pregnancy in her own home is probably not the person we need to tackle problems like teen pregnancy at a national level.”

    Even I don’t think that’s fair. Aside from the Presidency not being the platform to go after teen pregnancy, even good leaders don’t always succeed.

  176. libertymike,

    No kidding. But that’s simple math.

    In any event, we in-house counsel are above such things. In fact, we’re victims, too, because those damned outside counsel are always trying to rip us off!

  177. oh my goodness – in-house counsel…what a cushy job. if you can’t answer the question, bill the “house” to outside counsel. Get paid six-figures. Rinse and repeat.

  178. Fist of Etiquette-

    “If you’re not contrary, you’re not a Libertarian.”

    Amen.

  179. I cannot remember the last time I billed a “.1”. It’s like saying, “I am so focused on your case that I spent an entire 3 minutes on it”. Or even better, “well, I called him, but he didn’t pick up. But I dialed his number very professionally”.

  180. TAO,

    I wish.

  181. Pro L-

    re/Pro Libertate | July 13, 2009, 4:02pm | #

    I am struck by the same thing. I had followed Palin for a couple of years before she got the nomination for veep. I was very impressed with her poise, confidence, and commmon sense. I was pretty happy with her selection.

    Then she bombed completely. I dunno what happened.

  182. As much as I have enjoyed the Palin bashing, can we declare a moratorium on additional Reason pieces on Palin?

    It’s seriously getting to be a bit much. Even for me.

  183. Clinton is a brilliant person. No one could deny that. But there is a difference between intellegence and wisdom. The three smartest Presidents of the 20th Century were probably Wilson, Nixon and Clinton. I leave it to you to consider the implications of that.

    The implication is that because smart presidents can make bad presidents, we should opt for dumb presidents?

    You mentioned Reagan above… interesting. Bush and Palin make that guy look like a freakin brain surgeon and he was a dumbass. Nixon was smarter still but a racist asshole. Wonderful sort of devolution your party has going on. Trig in ’44!

  184. “A person who cannot tackle a problem like teen pregnancy in her own home is probably not the person we need to tackle problems like teen pregnancy at a national level.”

    “Well, MNG, I guess you would agree that a person who cannot tackle a problem like marital fidelity in their own home, etc.”

    A Congressman from North Carolina couldn’t escape from being tackled. Is that a problem? Even if it is, does making all the Top 25 lists make up for it?

  185. Hey, there is a lawyer who is also a libertarian that I have known for several years. He loves lawyer jokes.

    I think he is a little different in that he lists all of the phone call attempts on his bills. He does not charge for any phone calls when he speaks to a secretary or leaves a voice message. He represented one of my family’s businesses in a lawsuit and just cleaned the clock of another guy who charged 350.00 per hour whereas our guy charged just 200.00 per hour. I hate to say we “won” because we expended about 90,000.00 to do so.

  186. oh my goodness – in-house counsel…what a cushy job. if you can’t answer the question, bill the “house” to outside counsel. Get paid six-figures. Rinse and repeat.

    Preach it, brother. 😉

  187. Reagan was actually fairly bright, from what I can tell. And I’m not a big fan of his. His writings indicate that he at least thought about politics. He also seemed to have fairly fixed positions on issues, which I’d love to see from ANY politician today. I think that’s one reason that Ron Paul made a splash during the primaries–he seemed to have positions that would remain the same regardless of how we voted. Or polled.

    It’s telling that the left is constantly bragging about the intellect of people who seem to make really stupid decisions. Bill Clinton is a great example of that. He’s intelligent, but about the only place that seemed to come out in any practical way was in campaigning. Even that can be attributed to his advisers more than to him. Honestly, most people in politics aren’t in the super genius category, and accepting that is the first step to ending this pathetic deification of politicians that’s so in vogue these days.

  188. R C Dean,

    I nod to you in the secret in-house counsel salute.

  189. Pro Lib-

    Paul more so than Reagan on remaining steadfast with their positions; however, on the larger point, I agree and I would add “regardless of ‘changing realities.'”

  190. One of the reasons that Reagan failed as a “libertarian” was that he didn’t stick to his guns on implementing his limited government rhetoric. However, I think there’s little doubt that he really believed in limited government principles.

    The problem with Reagan was that he valued winning the Cold War more than rolling back Leviathan. I think there was room to do both, but hindsight’s 20/20, and he had some extremely entrenched opposition.

  191. “John | July 13, 2009, 4:29pm | #
    Dissing Palin is a way to feel smart. The whole thing is pathetic.”

    “John | July 13, 2009, 3:43pm | #
    Couric is a dumb hick. She knows nothing about anything outside of the two coasts. She has never held a productive job. She has been nothing in her life but a news reader paid to look cute. She is no better than a stripper. She just happened to find a way to keep her clothes on while she made a living.”

    Please explain the difference between dissing Palin and dissing Couric.

  192. Maybe that’s the master plan! Palin is quitting to go after Couric’s job!

  193. I used to work for a media company, pretty close to the owner and all the top execs. None of them picked up a single publication and perused it at their leisure. The pr department compiled a stack of relevant material for the owner and the execs to read. they were too busy to find that stuff themselves. In fact we employed a clipping service eventually to do the job for us because the PR department couldn’t keep up.

    I don’t know the inner workings of the governer in Alaska, but I assume a busy executive would need staff to do these things. This seemingly endless argument about whether Palin knows or doesn’t know what newspapers she reads reveals more about the people making the accusation than her. I know plenty of morons that can tell me what newspapers they read everyday.

    I read from basically all major publications because I get all my news online. If you ask me what I read, I would say “all”. I don’t stick with the NYTimes or Washington Post or anything. In fact it reflects a pretty narrow view of the world if somebody does in this day.

    I would be embarrassed to keep bringing it up.

  194. “Palin quit out of an undue, hypersensitive fear of negative coverage combined with an extreme victim mentality.”

    Spot on. The woman exhibits a Nixon-esque paranoia when it comes to the mainstream “liberal media.”

  195. Why is everyone wondering why she quit? It’s all in her speech, in plain english. But of course if you are expecting the type of doublespeak that usually comes from politicians then it will seem incoherent.

    And by the way, three other governors quit this year to pursue other options and to further their careers: they had better offers. Where was the criticism from the media?

  196. I read from basically all major publications because I get all my news online. If you ask me what I read, I would say “all”. I don’t stick with the NYTimes or Washington Post or anything. In fact it reflects a pretty narrow view of the world if somebody does in this day.

    Of course, this is really a non-answer to the Katie Couric question, still. She could have given that exact answer and it would have been fine. But the bottom line is that she didn’t, and she stumbled on a softball question. Her obvious and gross incompetence is telling and indefensible.

  197. I should say, this is really a non-answer to why she muffed the Katie Couric question.

  198. I’m hoping this is the last article ever written about that sad screwhead. But that’s just hope.

  199. I’m just glad we got something to break 200 posts.

  200. 1. Dislike of the media is sensible. They do a horrible job, and many of the media stars are stupid, lazy or both.

    2. Supporting someone because the media dislikes him/her is stupid. The person should be supported, or not, based on his/her merits. If one’s resentment toward an amorphous “elite” Establishment is the driving force behind how one views various political personalities, it’s probably time to seek professional help.

    3. I don’t see how the media supposedly “savaged” Palin any worse than the way the Clintons have been treated since the late 1990s, or how Gore was treated during the 2000 presidential campaign. Anyone who thinks Palin has been uniquely disfavored should remove their partisan blinders. (I’m not a Democrat, and have never voted for either Clinton or for Gore.)

  201. Palin’s resignation means that any remaining viability she had as potential presidential candidate is done. She’s probably got a future in the political world as a GOP pundit, but not a candidate.

    I understand why the left went after her, she excited the conservative voters and was the only thing that gave McCain’s candidacy any life. The criticisms of her as stupid are absurd, if that was real reason she is disliked by the talking heads then Biden would not escape their scorn. Playing her up as an idiot is the excuse for the excessive disdain, it is not the reason for the hate.

    At this point, the continued level of bile and vitriol directed at her has gone beyond even the sleaziness of standard leftist politics, and has become rather creepy and obsessive. Why did you continue to beat this dead horse today Suderman?

  202. “The left laughs at her, and thinks she is a joke.”- domoarigato

    The left does that to every political figure they find particularly threatening to their interests. All that showed was that the left feared her. The kind of person the left ridicules has made enemies of the right people, why should that in and of itself be reason to reject Palin?

  203. Earlier in the year Gibson asked all of the Democratic nominees the same question he asked Palin about the Bush Doctrine. However, with them he first defined the Bush Doctrine. I’ve always wondered why he didn’t also define it for Palin before asking her about it.

    After that I pretty much stopped paying any attention to anything derogatory any of the news people said about Palin. And I would venture that all of her supporters have done the same. So the media is wasting its time if it is trying to turn her supporters against her. Nobody’s listening.

  204. I understand that Gibson’s description of the Bush doctrine was wrong and the idea that there was one bush doctrine was wrong. I don’t have the info in front of me but that was clearly understood after all the blabbering.

    What is worse, a sad screwhead or a sad somebody who is obsessed with them?

    And so the attacks continue to be directed by that all important question, “what newspaper do you read?”

    Ironically I don’t see Palin as a viable candidate in the next election so I’m not a staunch supporter. But I do take offense to people just piling on because it somehow makes them feel like they are intelligent. Believe me, I know a lot of people who belong to the “I have more foreign policy experience than Sarah Palin” They’re all regular brain scientists.

  205. “I understand that Gibson’s description of the Bush doctrine was wrong and the idea that there was one bush doctrine was wrong. I don’t have the info in front of me but that was clearly understood after all the blabbering.”

    Let’s say I ask you what “begging the question” means. Do you say, “I have no idea”? Or does an ‘informed’ person say that it means assuming the proposition which you are trying to prove and also has come into common usage as meaning “to raise the question”?

    Just because there might be ambiguity or differing interpretations doesn’t give a politician the green light to know nothing.

  206. Hey eb, I fully agree that folks at the top get their news in small, pre-digested bits. That’s why reports have “executive summaries”. Executives usually don’t need to know the low-level nuts and bolts of a subject. That’s what underpaid IT people are for.

    But the very basis of intellectual curiousity is knowing your sources. If someone hands me a “fact” I have to know where it came from, or I’m a complete idiot. Did it come from the AP, Pravda, Highlights for children? So for her to be unable to name a single primary source is a little worrisome. She gets her information from all the newspapers and magazines but can’t name a single one. She couldn’t even bullshit a couple? C’mon, I can list 10 major newspapers off the top of my head, and I’m not even running for VP. It’s not like Couric was going to nail her with “Now tell me today’s headline, hurry up, you have 5 seconds!”

  207. I understand why the left went after her, she excited the conservative voters and was the only thing that gave McCain’s candidacy any life. The criticisms of her as stupid are absurd, if that was real reason she is disliked by the talking heads then Biden would not escape their scorn. Playing her up as an idiot is the excuse for the excessive disdain, it is not the reason for the hate.

    And…

    “The left laughs at her, and thinks she is a joke.”- domoarigato

    The left does that to every political figure they find particularly threatening to their interests. All that showed was that the left feared her.

    That reminds me very much of the way Ron Paul was treated by both the media and his own party. Remember the way “Drooliani” and the rest of the “smart” guys laughed and sneered during the debates? Until Paul’s campaign donations upticked, that is.

  208. All the hand-wringing apologetics and defenses of Palin just tell me that some would support a rutabaga as long as it had an (R) next to its name. The standards are so mind-numbingly low for Republican pols these days. What business do libertarians have supporting the party of stupid? (Not to mention the party of wiretaps)

  209. Thanks to Sarah Palin, there’s a name for this mental condition:

    http://www.airfarceone.net/antirepubs2/ditzophrenia5.gif

    🙂

  210. Whenever you try to get into another person’s head you just project your own stupid faults.

    I don’t understand how women think either. Welcome to the club.

  211. “””Maybe it is her fault her daughter is a dimwit who couldn’t keep her legs closed. But maybe not. “””

    Would that be from her mom’s side or dad’s?

    “””That reminds me very much of the way Ron Paul was treated by both the media and his own party.”””

    Correct, neither party will stand for something breaking the status quo.

    If Palin can’t stand the heat, not sure if I’m buying that excuse, then she can’t handle national politics. Quiting her job gives every republican running against her in the primary an acme size mallet to beat her to a pulp.

  212. Hey John
    From deep in the heart of Dixie…fuck you and your blame. Ever heard of the “triangle trade”?Suck my rebel dick. I could blame everything, including Palin, on yankee puritans and make as much sense.

  213. Anyone see her latest tweets? You can’t pick and choose when to believe biologists, Sarah!

  214. ummmmm…..dementia praecox?
    lol

  215. I find it curious that so many words have been written about a woman that supposedly is so dumb, incoherent and inarticulate. It would seem that if a person was so completely unable to navigate the daily minefields of eating breakfast or brushing her teeth, that she wouldn’t warrant such all consuming attention.

    But apparently writers around the US are compelled to explain to me time and again that Sarah Palin is one stupid bitch. Why is that?

    Why are so many people so eager to not only drive Palin from office, or politics but seemingly from the face of the planet? What is this obsession.

    At what point will people finally feel safe again?

    This circus has completed it’s third ring. Can you just move on already?

    I’m confused by the argument that “if she’s so dumb, she can’t be threatening.” Really? Did Biden become VP? Did Evo Morales become president of Bolivia? Did Ahmadinejad become president of Iran? Yes, dumb but charming people are threatening. As far as I can tell, Palin’s intellect:charisma ratio is lower than any politician in the U.S. or anywhere. She’s the consummate idiot demagogue. She perfectly plays identity/victim politics (I’m just like you, and look the elites are holding us down my asking us hard questions!) And really, pretty imbeciles make fine victims.

    I think the Palin bomb has probably already been defused, so most of the recent ire is unwarranted. But who knows? She could potentially win a GOP primary. That would be a disaster for everyone.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.