Like the Academy Awards

Well, this was bad timing. Or it bolsters the family’s conservative credentials, or something. Who knows? But this probably means that Donald Trump’s poll numbers will go up, and it simply is what it is:

The oldest son of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was arrested in a domestic violence case in which his girlfriend was afraid he would shoot himself with an AR-15 assault rifle, according to court documents filed Tuesday.

Track Palin, 26, is charged with assault, interfering with the report of a domestic violence crime and possessing a weapon while intoxicated in connection with the incident Monday night at the Wasilla home of his parents, where he lives, according to an affidavit by police.

The girlfriend told authorities she was punched in the face by Palin, who is the oldest child of Sarah Palin, the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee and conservative leader.

The charges were filed Tuesday, the same day Sarah Palin endorsed Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump before voting begins with the Iowa caucuses.

That is a bit awkward, and this wasn’t nice:

The court documents say the woman, Track Palin’s girlfriend of one year, had bruising and swelling around her left eye, and she said her right knee hurt after Palin kicked her there.

Palin family attorney John Tiemessen declined to comment on the matter other than to say in an email that respect for the family’s privacy is appreciated “as Track receives the help that he and many of our returning veterans need.” Palin’s arraignment was held Tuesday, but Tiemessen was not sure if he entered a plea yet.

Track Palin spent a year deployed in Iraq with the Army.

Okay, perhaps this is PTSD or something, or maybe not:

It’s not the first encounter with the law for Palin or other members of his family. In September 2014, he and other Palins were involved in a brawl that broke out at a party in Anchorage. No arrests were made in the melee, and no one wanted to press charges. But according to a police report, Palin had blood around his mouth and his hands. He was belligerent until his mother told him to talk to a police officer.

None of this was mentioned at the big endorsement event in Iowa, which parallels 2008:

The 17-year-old daughter of Gov. Sarah Palin, John McCain’s running mate, is five months pregnant, the Alaskan governor announced Monday, adding a new element of tumult to a Republican convention that had already been disrupted by Hurricane Gustav.

The daughter, Bristol, plans to marry the father, according to the statement, which was issued by Governor Palin and her husband, Todd.

“Our beautiful daughter Bristol came to us with news that as parents we knew would make her grow up faster than we had ever planned,” the statement said. “As Bristol faces the responsibilities of adulthood, she knows that she has our unconditional love and support.”

Even then there was no need to talk about this:

Steve Schmidt, the chief strategist for the McCain campaign, was surrounded by reporters and cameras as he walked through the media center next door to the Xcel Center in St. Paul, where the convention is taking place. Asked over and over when and how Mr. McCain found out about Bristol’s pregnancy, he repeated, “Senator McCain was aware” of it and called it “a private family matter.” He would not say when Mr. McCain found out or how, calling it a “private conversation.”

“The fact is, John McCain had a thorough search and made the decision to add Sarah Palin to the ticket because he believes” that she “will change America,” Mr. Schmidt said.

He said how big this becomes would depend on the media. “I think the American people will see this news and they’d have good wishes for the young lady and they’ll respect the privacy of the family,” he said.

Her privacy was respected. The God Folks make mistakes too, but she never married the father, and then there was this:

In February 2009, she told Fox News that abstinence is “not realistic at all,” but that she would like it to become more accepted among people her age. In May 2009, at age 18, Palin began working with the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, to inform young people about the negative consequences of teenage pregnancy. The campaign’s spokesman said that working with Palin made sense, because “she’s had the highest-profile teen pregnancy of the year.” Palin said that her abstinence quote of February had been “taken out of context.”

Also in May 2009, Palin was named a Teen Pregnancy Prevention Ambassador for the Candie’s Foundation, a teen pregnancy prevention organization that is a division of the Candie’s clothing brand. Her duties as a paid spokeswoman involved attending town hall meetings, public service announcements, and giving interviews on morning talk shows.

Cool, but then this June:

Palin daughter Bristol made a surprise announcement on her Patheos blog, stating she is pregnant again and that “I do not want any lectures and I do not want any sympathy.” She also admitted that “Honestly, I’ve been trying my hardest to keep my chin up on this one. At the end of the day there’s nothing I can’t do with God by my side, and I know I am fully capable of handling anything that is put in front of me with dignity and grace…. I know this has been, and will be, a huge disappointment to my family, to my close friends, and to many of you.” It was the second recent surprise announcement from the 24 year-old single mother of son Tripp, who last month suddenly called off her engagement to Dakota Meyer mere days before the planned nuptials, describing it as a “painful time.”

This will be a second child out of wedlock, as they say, but she then went one to describe anyone who saw any hypocrisy here “assholes” – people should get off her case. She does what she wants to do. Like her mother, she sometimes goes rogue. Deal with it, assholes. Track Palin may end up saying the same thing in court. He shouldn’t, but he might. He’s a Palin.

None of this came up in Iowa. Donald Trump is a Palin too, so the big event went well:

Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor and 2008 vice-presidential nominee who became a Tea Party sensation and a favorite of grass-roots conservatives, endorsed Donald J. Trump in Iowa on Tuesday, providing him with a potentially significant boost just 13 days before the state’s caucuses.

“Are you ready for the leader to make America great again?” Mrs. Palin said with Mr. Trump by her side at a rally at Iowa State University. “Are you ready to stump for Trump? I’m here to support the next president of the United States – Donald Trump.”

Her support is the highest-profile backing for a Republican so far. It came the same day that Iowa’s Republican governor, Terry Branstad, said he hoped that Senator Ted Cruz would be defeated in Iowa. The Feb. 1 caucuses are a must-win for the Texas senator, who is running neck-and-neck with Mr. Trump in state polls.

Yeah, her daughter is pregnant again, and her son was just arrested for beating the crap out of his girlfriend, but going rogue is a good thing:

As Mrs. Palin announced her backing, Mr. Trump stood wearing a satisfied smile as she scolded mainstream Republicans as sellouts and praised how Mr. Trump had shaken up the party. “He’s been going rogue left and right,” Mrs. Palin said of Mr. Trump, using one of her signature phrases. “That’s why he’s doing so well. He’s been able to tear the veil off this idea of the system.”

And Trump needed this:

It is not clear that Mrs. Palin’s blessing will have a major impact on Mr. Trump’s long-term prospects. But in Iowa, where Mrs. Palin spent years developing a network of supporters, it could be helpful. Mr. Trump has faced questions about whether his campaign’s organizing muscle can draw the voters to match his poll numbers come caucus night.

“Over the years Palin has actually cultivated a number of relationships in Iowa,” said Craig Robinson, the former political director of the Republican Party of Iowa and publisher of the website The Iowa Republican. “There are the Tea Party activists who still think she’s great and a breath of fresh air, but she also did a good job of courting Republican donors in the state,” he added. …

Other conservatives said that Mrs. Palin serves as a particularly effective shield against Mr. Cruz, who has assiduously courted Iowa’s evangelical voters.

“Palin’s brand among evangelicals is as gold as the faucets in Trump Tower,” said Ralph Reed, the chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition.

“Endorsements alone don’t guarantee victory, but Palin’s embrace of Trump may turn the fight over the evangelical vote into a war for the soul of the party,” he said.

She’ll bring in the Angry God People and that state’s governor can stuff it:

The endorsement comes as Mr. Cruz is facing increasing scrutiny in Iowa for his opposition to federal ethanol mandates, highlighted by the criticism from Governor Branstad, whose son works for a group promoting ethanol, the corn-based fuel that is a crucial Iowa industry.

“Ted Cruz is ahead right now. What we’re trying to do is educate the people in the state of Iowa,” Mr. Branstad told reporters at the Renewable Fuels Summit in Altoona. “He is the biggest opponent of renewable fuels. He actually introduced a bill in 2013 to immediately eliminate the Renewable Fuel Standard.”

“He’s heavily financed by Big Oil,” the governor added. “I think it would be a big mistake for Iowa to support him.”

The remark was highly unusual for Mr. Branstad, an establishment Republican who nonetheless has stayed out of his party’s presidential primaries in the past.

He was talking about economic issues. The idea is that no one cares about those, and Olivia Nuzzi saw this:

Failed reality television star Sarah Palin joined former reality television star Donald Trump in Ames, Iowa, on Tuesday evening, not for a taping of Celebrity Apprentice or a casting for Dancing With the Stars, but to endorse him for president of the United States.

Dressed in a black overcoat and blue tie, the GOP frontrunner walked out onstage at Iowa State University and gripped the lectern stamped with his name. “Wow, look at the press out there! They must think that a big event’s gonna happen today,” he said. “Wow! That’s a lot – it’s like the Academy Awards!”

Well, Nuzzi says it wasn’t like politics:

Searching for meaning in this spectacle is like trying to find enlightenment in the ball pit at Chuck E. Cheese. And the jokes, well, they write themselves but they’re not very funny, which, in a sense, is the key to Trump’s success in the Republican primary and perhaps life in general.

Trump persists because he defies parody. He, like Palin, is in on the joke that is his public persona. The difference is he’s better at telling it than any lowly scribe or comedian.

This was beyond irony:

Once governor of Alaska, Palin’s own road to caricature began when she joined Trump foe John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign as his running mate. Her tinny-voiced performance as a vice presidential candidate was, at turns, erratic and self-destructive. By Election Day, it was difficult to distinguish between the real Palin and the version of her performed by Tina Fey on Saturday Night Live.

For a time after McCain’s defeat, Palin enjoyed her status as an in-demand conservative star, too rogue to be tamed by the establishment elite. But her shtick – complete with props like Big Gulps and Dr. Seuss books – seemed to grow tired. TLC canceled her reality show, Sarah Palin’s Alaska, after just one season. Palin sightings on cable news occurred with less and less frequency. A CBS News poll from January 2015 found that 59 percent of Republicans didn’t want her to run for president in this election.

That’s dismal, but that will do:

To borrow a phrase from The Donald, Palin is a Loser – but a potentially useful one, like conspiracy monger Alex Jones, who was welcomed into Trump’s orbit in December.

Trump associates with sideshows and freaks as if to run on hot coals before the American public and media, who are left covered in sludge and scratching their heads. But unlike almost every politician before him, he cannot be tainted by these associations. No failed governor or tinfoil-hat wearing radio host or white supremacist making robocalls on his behalf can reflect poorly on his character, perhaps because we suspect he has none.

This will be just fine:

At the very least, Trump loses nothing after Tuesday’s Big Show. At most, he starves Cruz – his central rival – of much-needed media coverage with two weeks to spare until the Iowa caucus. Unlike other threats, like Ben Carson, Cruz has proved impervious to Trump’s put-downs. Despite weeks of Trump questioning Cruz’s citizenship, Cruz has hardly moved an inch in the Iowa polls, where he was beating Trump as recently as two weeks ago.

Now Trump’s got the upper hand, and Palin is all in:

As surreal as Tuesday’s performance felt at times, it was guided by a certain logic. Even Palin, who flailed her sequined arms in the air for the crowd, equal parts pep and menace in her voice, sounded a nuanced battle cry. “You ready for a commander and chief who will do their job and go kick ISIS ass?” she screamed at one point.

But then she explained her plight, and the plight of all Trump True Believers.

“Trump’s candidacy – it has exposed not just that tragic, the ramifications of betrayal of the country, but – two, he has exposed the complicity on both sides of the country that has enabled it,” she said. “He’s been able to tear the veil off this idea of the system, how the system really works.”

In Trump, Palin sees a leader – one who won’t be pushed off to the corner like she was. “We need someone new who has the power and is in the position to bust up that establishment,” she said. …

She said she and those like her – those who like Trump – are “right winging, bitter clinging, proud clinging to our guns and our Constitution.”

“Doggone right we’re angry,” she said.

And earlier in the day, Ted Cruz decided that you don’t mess with the Palin clan:

A spokesman for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who’s coming in just behind Trump in national polls according to HuffPost Pollster, said earlier it would “be a blow to Sarah Palin” if the former Alaska governor endorsed Trump.

“If she was going to endorse Donald Trump, sadly, she would be endorsing someone who’s held progressive views all their life on the sanctity of life, on marriage, on partial-birth abortion,” Cruz spokesman Rick Tyler said on CNN’s “New Day” Tuesday.

Palin’s daughter Bristol responded to the Cruz campaign with a blog post, calling those comments a “negative knee-jerk reaction” to a rumor about whom Palin would get behind in the 2016 race.

“How rude to that he’s setting up a false narrative about her!” Bristol Palin wrote, noting she hoped her mother would endorse Trump for president.

Cruz then backed down on Twitter – “I love @SarahPalinUSA. Without her support, I wouldn’t be in the Senate. Regardless of what she does in 2016, I will always be a big fan.” She had, in fact, once campaigned for him. There was no need to pick a fight now. Perhaps he knew he’d lose.

So she’s back, but so is the gibberish:

“Looking around at all of you, you hard-working Iowa families, you farm families and teachers and teamsters and cops and cooks, you rock ‘n’ rollers and holy rollers. All of you who work so hard, you full-time moms, you with the hands that rock the cradle. You all make the world go round. And now our cause is one.”

“Because a weak-kneed capitulator in chief has decided that America will lead from behind. And he who would negotiate deals, with the skills of a community organizer, maybe organizing a neighborhood tea – yeah, well – he deciding that America would apologize and as part of the deal, as the enemy sends a message to the rest of the world that they capture and we kowtow, and we apologize and then we bend over and say, ‘Thank you, enemy.'”

“Well, he being the only one who’s been willing, he’s got the guts to wear the issues that need to be spoken about and debated on his sleeve. Where the rest of some of these establishment candidates, they just wanted to duck and hide. They didn’t want to talk about these issues until he brought them up. In fact, they’ve been wearing this political correctness kind of like a suicide vest. And enough is enough.”

“Let me say something really positive about one of those individuals. Rand Paul. I’m going to tell you about that libertarian streak in him that is healthy, because he knows, you only go to war if you’re determined to win the war! And you quit footing the bill for these nations who are oil-rich. We’re paying for, some of their squirmishes [sic], that have been going on for centuries, where they’re fighting each other, and yelling, ‘Allah akbar,’ [sic] calling jihad on each other’s heads forever and ever. Like I said before, let them duke it out and let Allah sort it out.”

“He builds things, he builds big things. Things that touch the sky. Big infrastructure that puts other people to work. He has spent his life looking up and respecting the hard hats and the steel-toed boots and the work ethic that you all have within you. He, being an optimist, passionate about equal opportunity to work. This self-made success of his, you know that he doesn’t get his power, his high, off of opium – other people’s money – like a lot of dopes in Washington do. They’re addicted to opium, where they take other people’s money and then their high is getting to redistribute it, right?”

Passages like that are enough to make former English teachers weep, but there are so few of us that that hardly matters. Josh Marshall notes what really matters:

Looking at today’s historic Palin endorsement of Donald Trump, I think, forces us to rethink the last half dozen years and understand Sarah Palin not as a disgraced has-been but as a Republican innovator who arrived before her time.

In 2009 and 2010 Palin was one of the most popular and divisive figures in American politics. By 2011 and 2012 even one-time devoted supporters were abandoning her, a rushed relationship begun in a state of extreme inebriation, difficult in retrospect to understand or accept. There were many painful turning points. … By the late Obama years the Palins were slipping from the political cultural into the popular culture, perhaps best captured by the infamous Palin Clan brawl – a hair-pulling, roundhouse punch, Bristol dragged across the lawn by her feet affair, in which the Palins crashed a birthday party held by an upstanding Anchorage small businessman in a stretch Hummer limo and didn’t leave before police had to be called to sort out the wild outburst of white-on-white folk violence.

Now, though, it all looks quite different. Donald Trump is the clear frontrunner for the Republican nomination, a colorful billionaire whose campaign consists of a mix of televised speeches and twitter commentary and whose platform is to make us great and crush our enemies. His only real competitor at this point is Ted Cruz, another Palin acolyte whose own jump into the senate in 2012 received a significant assist from Sarah Palin herself.

The implications are clear:

Whose Republican party is this? McCain’s? Romney’s? Bush’s? Boehner’s? Ryan’s? There’s little question that the 2016 GOP is the party of Sarah Palin. Donald Trump is simply the successor who is bringing what she started to fruition – the Joshua to her Moses, the Umar to her Muhammad. This is not simply a commentary on the colorful, antic quality of this political cycle. It’s rooted in the same basic themes and beliefs: a mix of grievance and aggression, sharp tongued impatience with cosmopolitan thinking and ‘political correctness’, paeans to the righteous resentment of hard-working white folk, and all packaged in a media savvy gift for gab. It is no accident that the two on stage today are both reality TV stars. Perhaps he has talents to bring things to fruition which she could not. But it’s her brand and her message.

This may all sound like a snark. But that’s only the outer layer at most. Look back over the last eight years with the jostling factions of the GOP, establishment wings, Tea Partiers, post-2012 post-mortemers, House backbenchers, Palin and Joe the Plumber. What has it all arrived at? Whose party does it end up being? For right now, there’s just no debating it: Palin comes out on top. It’s her party.

And look at those crowds. It was like the Academy Awards! And Sarah Palin finally got her Oscar. As they say out here in Hollywood, now she owns the town. She can have it.

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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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