She’s Back

She was the talk of the nation, and then she disappeared. How did that happen? No, not Paris Hilton – who has done nothing even remotely outrageous or even very interesting in the last few years – we’re talking about Sarah Palin. In July, back in 2008, John McCain stunned the nation, or confused the nation, by announcing that this woman, the obscure new governor way up there in far away Alaska, would be his running mate, and God willing, the next vice president – a heartbeat away from the most powerful position in the world. And as he was an old coot you had to imagine Sarah Palin with the codes to all the nuclear weapons and the option to wage all-out war, and perhaps end life on earth, if she chose to – for whatever reason. And the rest of that summer and up until November there was the endless analysis of her inadequacies – intellectually and emotionally and practically – and general unfitness for the office. That interview with Katie Couric didn’t help – Sarah Palin doesn’t read much of anything and doesn’t know much about anything, and doesn’t even try to fake it. And that interview with ABC’s Charlie Gibson where she clearly had no idea about the cornerstone of our new foreign policy, the Bush Doctrine (where we reserve the right to wage all-out preemptive war on any nation we think may, one day, possibly, somehow, at some hypothetical point in the distant future, be a threat to us) – well, that didn’t help either. And then there was Tina Fey on Saturday Night Live week after week, mocking Palin’s somewhat frightening goofiness, by mercilessly quoting her word for word. The nation was transfixed by all this.

But John McCain had his reasons for choosing Sarah Palin. The hard-right evangelical social conservative wing of his party didn’t think he was really their guy, and the Ayn Rand end-all-government wing didn’t trust him either, nor did the big-business end-all-regulation-of-everything wing. He was a maverick. But McCain was simply the last man standing after the primaries, the compromise maybe-good-enough choice, and clearly the only Republican who stood a chance against Obama, after eight years of the disastrous George Bush the Younger. At least McCain was a war hero – for getting shot down and spending almost all of the Vietnam War in a small prison cell outside Hanoi. No one was supposed to ask how that gave him insight into anything, and so they didn’t ask. He was a hero, somehow.

But McCain’s own party clearly didn’t like him much. He chose Sarah Palin to keep their votes, as she said all the right things he was reluctant to say – Real Americans didn’t live in cities, or on the coasts, and Real Americans didn’t think much of people who thought they were so smart because they had all those fancy degrees and knew things. No one needed to know things. We’d had enough of the fancy-pants elites who thought they were so smart. They’d ruined everything, and it was time to take the country back from these damned educated and thoughtful un-American creeps – and so on and so forth. And don’t get her started on icky minorities and gays and whatnot.

Well, things didn’t work out and the McCain-Palin ticket went down in flames. He was old and she was young. He was unreliably conservative – sometimes siding with the Democrats in the past – and she was take-no-prisoners committed to the cause, without really understanding the details of course. They should have complemented each other. But she was too toxic. The more she energized the base the more she scared the crap out of the rest of the nation.

And then, the summer after the election disaster, she abruptly resigned her governorship, less than halfway through her first term. She said she felt called to be bigger than Alaska, to be a real national player – or maybe the job bored her, or maybe she actually found Alaska just too provincial – an isolated dump with no big-city bright-lights pulse at all. No one quite knew what to make of it. Books followed, and her curious reality show, and her daughter appearing on Dancing with the Stars – but she faded. Rupert Murdoch paid her big bucks to come on Fox News now and then, but the world was passing her by. She was little more than a curiosity on Fox, and the speaking engagements were few and far between, and then no one was asking her to come and offer her wit and wisdom. Even Tina Fey moved on. Some things just don’t work out.

But here we are four years later and Newt Gingrich is now saying that Sarah Palin will play a “major role” in his administration. Henry D’Andrea offers this video clip of Gingrich saying that on CNN and adds this:

Gingrich wasn’t specific, but he said he would “ask her to consider taking a major role” in my administration. I don’t know if Gingrich is being honest, but if he did pick Palin for some kind of high-level position in his administration, that could help boost Palin for a possible future presidential run and would bring aboard a lot of Conservatives that question Newt’s Conservatism. Nonetheless, if he actually picked her for VP, it’d be the most unconventional thing this entire campaign season. I’d love if he did, but he won’t.

It’s the McCain Gambit all over again. People would no longer question Newt’s conservatism. But Gingrich, who may have an ego the size of Alaska, and a real problem with impulse-control, isn’t dumb. He knows there’s not one position she could handle competently – she has a degree in sports broadcasting, was mayor of a tiny town, and then quit her one significant government job before she had done much of anything, and she’s made no effort, again, to familiarize herself with any of the issues. What would he have her do? And this didn’t work for McCain.

But she’s not one to pass up an opportunity to grab at something like her former significance, such as it was, and on Facebook she posts Cannibals in GOP Establishment Employ Tactics of the Left – and if you’re one of the seven people in the world not on Facebook, most of the text is here:

We have witnessed something very disturbing this week. The Republican establishment which fought Ronald Reagan in the 1970s and which continues to fight the grassroots Tea Party movement today has adopted the tactics of the left in using the media and the politics of personal destruction to attack an opponent.

We will look back on this week and realize that something changed. I have given numerous interviews wherein I espoused the benefits of thorough vetting during aggressive contested primary elections, but this week’s tactics aren’t what I meant. Those who claim allegiance to Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment should stop and think about where we are today. Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater, the fathers of the modern conservative movement, would be ashamed of us in this primary. Let me make clear that I have no problem with the routine rough and tumble of a heated campaign. As I said at the first Tea Party convention two years ago, I am in favor of contested primaries and healthy, pointed debate. They help focus candidates and the electorate. I have fought in tough and heated contested primaries myself. But what we have seen in Florida this week is beyond the pale. It was unprecedented in GOP primaries. I’ve seen it before – heck, I lived it before – but not in a GOP primary race.

Yes, everyone is picking on Newt, and it’s just not fair, and there’s more:

But this whole thing isn’t really about Newt Gingrich vs. Mitt Romney. It is about the GOP establishment vs. the Tea Party grassroots and independent Americans who are sick of the politics of personal destruction used now by both parties’ operatives with a complicit media egging it on. In fact, the establishment has been just as dismissive of Ron Paul and Rick Santorum. Newt is an imperfect vessel for Tea Party support, but in South Carolina the Tea Party chose to get behind him instead of the old guard’s choice. In response, the GOP establishment voices denounced South Carolinian voters with the same vitriol we usually see from the left when they spew hatred at everyday Americans “bitterly clinging” to their faith and their Second Amendment rights. The Tea Party was once again told to sit down and shut up and listen to the “wisdom” of their betters. We were reminded of the litany of Tea Party endorsed candidates in 2010 who didn’t win. Well, here’s a little newsflash to the establishment: without the Tea Party there would have been no historic 2010 victory at all.

It’s those damned elites again, and they have to be stopped:

Pundits in the Beltway are gleefully proclaiming that this primary race is over after Florida, despite 46 states still not having chimed in. Well, perhaps it’s possible that it will come to a speedy end in just four days; but with these questions left unanswered, it will not have come to a satisfactory conclusion. Without this necessary vetting process, the unanswered question of Governor Romney’s conservative bona fides and the unanswered and false attacks on Newt Gingrich will hang in the air to demoralize many in the electorate. The Tea Party grassroots will certainly feel disenfranchised and disenchanted with the perceived orchestrated outcome from self-proclaimed movers and shakers trying to sew this all up. And, trust me, during the general election, Governor Romney’s statements and record in the private sector will be relentlessly parsed over by the opposition in excruciating detail to frighten off swing voters. This is why we need a fair primary that is not prematurely cut short by the GOP establishment using Alinsky tactics to kneecap Governor Romney’s chief rival.

Yeah, yeah – Saul Alinsky – sounds Jewish and left-wing and all – even if she doesn’t know who the guy is. But the warning is clear. Matt and his buddies, demoralize many in the electorate at your risk. We may be nuts but we can break you.

Both CNN and Reuters covered this story, but the coolest assessment comes from TBogg:

Gone-to-seed cougar Sarah Palin, who may be the next Mrs. Newt Gingrich if Callista gets a head cold or possibly her period at an inopportune time, is out defending Newt Gingrich from those mean old Republican elites who dated Sarah back in ’08 and then they never called or returned her long weepy drunken voicemails or angry texts and then there was the restraining order issued following that ugly scene in the Taco Bell parking lot….

But the less said about that the better, because Sarah has moved on with her life and is now going all Mama Grizzly Pit-Bull Screechy Wolf-Killer On Meth on anyone who dares say a discouraging word about her lil’ Newt-cub…

Callista Gingrich, however, might want to update her resume…

But in Politico, Ginger Gibson calls Sarah Palin Newt’s Secret Weapon:

Newt Gingrich has a new unofficial campaign surrogate and her name is Sarah Palin. As the 2008 veep nominee sees it, Gingrich is getting a raw deal from the national media and conservative elite, the very same forces who conspired against her when she was on the national ticket. Palin hasn’t endorsed Gingrich – and has no official role in his campaign – but she is repeatedly surfacing at just the right times on the national airwaves to vociferously defend him.

In her latest appearance, Palin stated: “Look at Newt Gingrich, what’s going on with him via the establishment’s attacks,” she said, though the original question was about Ron Paul. “They’re trying to crucify this man and rewrite history and rewrite what it is that he has stood for all these years.”

Palin then called conservative writer Peggy Noonan “hypocritical” for recently calling Gingrich an “angry little attack muffin.”

“They maybe subscribe such characterization of Newt via words like that, but they don’t subscribe those to say Mitt Romney when he or his surrogates do the same thing,” she said. “That’s that typical hypocrisy stuff in the media that I’ve lived with over a couple of decades in the political arena. So I’m used to it.”

“But in order to help educate the rest of the American public, I’ll articulate that it is hypocritical of the media to subscribe to one candidate and not another, that kind of angry attack muffin verbiage to one and not the other.”

Newt is not an angry little attack muffin. He’s not. He’s not.

But of course he is, and he has a new friend:

As has usually been the case with Palin, her exact motives remain a mystery. But it does seem like the two Republicans share a common bond in suspecting the media and Washington power brokers are biased against them.

When asked about Palin’s unofficial advocacy for him on Friday, Gingrich’s campaign had no comment.

But after Palin picked Gingrich in South Carolina, Gingrich spokesman R. C. Hammond told NBC News: “We think it’s a pretty darn clear call to arms.”

Gibson goes on to explain how Palin’s husband, Todd, backed Gingrich before he won South Carolina, and right afterward, she jumped in and called Gingrich the leader of the pack. And Newt gets a freebie:

Gingrich rarely employs the use of official surrogates, lacking the organization of Mitt Romney, who frequently dispatches supporters to make public appearances. A surrogate that is doing so voluntarily is a plus for a campaign that is struggling to fend off a barrage of attacks.

And this has been going on for some time:

The first sign that Palin would ride to Gingrich’s rescue was a radio interview with Sean Hannity right before ABC aired its interview with his ex-wife, Marianne Gingrich, in which she claimed the former speaker wanted an open marriage.

“I call them dumbarses,” said Palin of the media, according to The Huffington Post. “They, thinking that by trotting out this old Gingrich divorce interview that’s old news – and it does feature a disgruntled ex, claiming that it would destroy his campaign – all this does, Sean, is incentivize conservatives and independents who are so sick of the politics of personal destruction because it’s played so selectively by the media, that their target, in this case Newt, he’s now going to soar even more. Because we know the game now, and we just won’t put up with it.”

“Good call, media,” she quipped.

Ah, the scorn of infidels is the praise of Allah. No wait – that’s the Koran, or Saul Alinsky.

And then there was Romney’s guy Chris Christie criticizing Gingrich on “Meet the Press” after Gingrich’s South Carolina win. Christie called Gingrich an “embarrassment” to the Republican Party and Palin warned him not to get his “panties in a wad” over this. And yes, the image is priceless, and insulting, implying Chris Christie should just be a man here. And she drips with condescension:

You know, sometimes, if your candidate loses in just one step along this path, as was the case when Romney lost to Newt the other night – and, of course, Romney is Chris Christie’s guy – well, you kind of get your panties in a wad, and you may say things that you regret later. And I think that that’s what Chris Christie did.

And then she took it a step farther, saying this demonstrated a “lack of self-discipline” (unlike her mastery of the political process) with this on the Fox Business Network:

Poor Chris… This was a rookie mistake. He played right into the media’s hands. The host had asked Chris, “Does Newt embarrass the party?” I think he asked him twice, and there, Chris played right into it.

She knows how to handle these things. No one else does. Yes, that’s absurd on the face of it, given what happened in 2008 and since – but her ego is as big as Alaska too.

And earlier she had praised Rick Perry for dropping out of the race and throwing his support behind Gingrich:

“I think what Rick Perry having dropped out and that patriot having done well for the front-runner, whom I will call Newt Gingrich now, being the front-runner, having endorsed him, was a good smart move,” Palin said on Fox News after the results rolled in. “He kind of took one for the team there, the conservative team, when he dropped out.”

Palin quipped: “I don’t know, do political pundits back there in the Beltway feign surprise, or are you really surprised that Newt Gingrich did as well as he did?”

Don’t try to figure out the grammar in that first sentence there. Only asshole elitists do that sort of thing.

But there was Stephanie Pappas with the odd science story of the week:

There’s no gentle way to put it: People who give in to racism and prejudice may simply be dumb, according to a new study that is bound to stir public controversy.

The research finds that children with low intelligence are more likely to hold prejudiced attitudes as adults. These findings point to a vicious cycle, according to lead researcher Gordon Hodson, a psychologist at Brock University in Ontario. Low-intelligence adults tend to gravitate toward socially conservative ideologies, the study found. Those ideologies, in turn, stress hierarchy and resistance to change, attitudes that can contribute to prejudice…

And of course there’s controversy ahead:

The findings combine three hot-button topics.

“They’ve pulled off the trifecta of controversial topics,” said Brian Nosek, a social and cognitive psychologist at the University of Virginia who was not involved in the study. “When one selects intelligence, political ideology and racism and looks at any of the relationships between those three variables, it’s bound to upset somebody.”

Polling data and social and political science research do show that prejudice is more common in those who hold right-wing ideals that those of other political persuasions, Nosek told LiveScience.

Add this:

There is reason to believe that strict right-wing ideology might appeal to those who have trouble grasping the complexity of the world.

And this:

They found that what applies to racism may also apply to homophobia. People who were poorer at abstract reasoning were more likely to exhibit prejudice against gays. As in the U.K. citizens, a lack of contact with gays and more acceptance of right-wing authoritarianism explained the link.

And from Charles Blow there’s this:

Hey, I get it: Republicans have to reject and condemn virtually everything President Obama proposes, no matter how noble, to satisfy their base. This is our political predicament.

Rick Santorum, however, has followed that logic out the window. In New Hampshire last week Santorum accused President Obama of “elitist snobbery” and “hubris” for suggesting that “under my administration, every child should go to college.”

Santorum had the basic questions. Who are you? Who are you to say that every child in America go to college? And Blow demonstrates that Obama never said that, in fact Obama consistently talks about trade schools and apprenticeships too, and also that college maybe just might be a good thing too:

Oh, the hubris and elitist snobbery of wanting a more educated, more highly employed work force.

But Sarah is back, just in time, to demonstrate how elitist what’s called a good education, and knowing things, really is – or to demonstrate what it means to not know things. And we’re back to 2008 again. Luckily we know what that means.

About Alan

The editor is a former systems manager for a large California-based HMO, and a former senior systems manager for Northrop, Hughes-Raytheon, Computer Sciences Corporation, Perot Systems and other such organizations. One position was managing the financial and payroll systems for a large hospital chain. And somewhere in there was a two-year stint in Canada running the systems shop at a General Motors locomotive factory - in London, Ontario. That explains Canadian matters scattered through these pages. Otherwise, think large-scale HR, payroll, financial and manufacturing systems. A résumé is available if you wish. The editor has a graduate degree in Eighteenth-Century British Literature from Duke University where he was a National Woodrow Wilson Fellow, and taught English and music in upstate New York in the seventies, and then in the early eighties moved to California and left teaching. The editor currently resides in Hollywood California, a block north of the Sunset Strip.
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