Tag Archives: Barack Obama

Vanity Fair Discovers Sarah Palin is Loud and Secretive

Excellent detailed piece on Sarah Palin by journalist Michael Joseph Gross in the October 2010 issue of Vanity Fair

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Sarah Palin: The Sound and the Fury

Former Republican Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin speaks at the "Restoring Honor" rally at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington on August 28, 2010.

Even as Sarah Palin’s public voice grows louder, she has become increasingly secretive, walling herself off from old friends and associates, and attempting to enforce silence from those around her. Following the former Alaska governor’s road show, the author delves into the surreal new world Palin now inhabits—a place of fear, anger, and illusion, which has swallowed up the engaging, small-town hockey mom and her family—and the sadness she has left in her wake.

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Tea Party Hysteria Rooted in Racism

Tea Partiers & Birthers continue to claim their movement is not based on racism.

Tea Partiers & Birthers continue to claim their Tea Party movement is not based on racism, dispute all the evidence to the contrary.

I was going to open this piece with an analogy about the tea party groups and why they’re treated seriously by the press and the Republicans. The analogy would go something like: “Imagine [insert left-wing activist group here] getting a serious profile in a mainstream newspaper, and imagine serious Democratic politicians appearing at their convention.”

The problem is, when I really evaluated what the various far-left activist groups are all about and compared them with the tea party movement, there really wasn’t any equivalency. At all.

Because when you strip away all of the rage, all of the nonsensical loud noises and all of the contradictions, all that’s left is race. The tea party is almost entirely about race, and there’s no comparative group on the left that’s similarly motivated by bigotry, ignorance and racial hatred.

I hasten to note that I’m taking about real racism, insofar as it’s impossible for the majority race — the 70 percent white majority — to be on the receiving end of racism. That is unless white males, for example, are suddenly an oppressed racial demographic. But judging by the racial composition of, say, the Senate or AM talk radio or the cast members playing the Obamas on SNL, I don’t think white people have anything to worry about.

This isn’t an epiphany by any stretch. From the beginning, with their witch doctor imagery, watermelon agitprop and Curious George effigies, the wingnut right has been dying to blurt out, as Lee Atwater famously said, “nigger, nigger, nigger!”

But they can’t.

Strike that. Correction. TeaParty.org founder Dale Robertson brandished a sign with the (misspelled) word “niggar.” So they’re not even as restrained as the generally unstrung Atwater anymore.

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Palin’s Cunning Sleight of Hand

Sarah Palin’s Sleight of Hand

Sarah Palin’s Sleight of Hand

Liberals had a blast mocking Sarah Palin last weekend when she was caught addressing the Tea Party Convention with a cheat sheet scrawled on her hand. Even the president’s press secretary, Robert Gibbs, couldn’t resist getting into the act and treated a White House briefing to a Palin hand gag of his own.

Yet the laughter rang hollow. You had to wonder if Palin, who is nothing if not cunning, had sprung a trap. She knows all too well that the more the so-called elites lampoon her, the more she cements her cred with the third of the country that is her base. Her hand hieroglyphics may not have been speaking aids but bait.

If so, mission accomplished. Her sleight of hand gave the anti-Palin chorus another prod to deride her as an empty-headed, subliterate clown, and her fans another cue to rally. The only problem is that the serious import of Palin’s overriding political message got lost in this distracting sideshow. That message has the power to upend the Obama presidency — even if Palin, with her record-low approval ratings, never gets anywhere near the White House.

The Palin shtick has now become the Republican catechism, parroted by every party leader in Washington. Their constant refrain, delivered with cynicism but not irony, is this: Republicans are the anti-big-government, anti-stimulus, anti-Wall Street, pro-Tea Party tribunes of the common folk. “This is about the people,” as Palin repeatedly put it last weekend while pocketing $100,000 of the Tea Partiers’ money.

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MSNBC Chris Matthews: Sarah Palin’s a “Frightening, Empty Vessel, Nothing Going on Mentally” (Video)

MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews forcefully ripped into Sarah Palin’s advice that President Obama could “declare war on Iran” to improve his re-election chances, repeatedly calling her “frightening” and claiming she’s “an empty vessel” with “nothing going on mentally.”

Palin told Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday that if Obama “played the war card” in that manner it “changes the dynamics in what we can assume is going to happen between now and three years.”

“She’s frightening. Mark, that is frightening stuff. Frightening,” Matthews said Tuesday on his show Hardball. “First of all, president don’t declare war. Anybody knows that in high school. Congress has to declare war. To declare war on Iran, I don’t think the most far right, Middle East hawk will talk about declaring war on Iran, a country with 70-some million people, with an advanced air force.

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Lie of the Year: ‘Death Panels’

And the "Lie of the Year" winner is ... Sarah Palin!!

Of all the falsehoods and distortions in the political discourse this year, one stood out from the rest.

Death panels.”

The claim set political debate afire when it was made in August, raising issues from the role of government in health care to the bounds of acceptable political discussion. In a nod to the way technology has transformed politics, the statement wasn’t made in an interview or a television ad. Sarah Palin posted it on her Facebook page.

Her assertion — that the government would set up boards to determine whether seniors and the disabled were worthy of care — spread through newscasts, talk shows, blogs and town hall meetings. Opponents of health care legislation said it revealed the real goals of the Democratic proposals. Advocates for health reform said it showed the depths to which their opponents would sink. Still others scratched their heads and said, “Death panels? Really?”

The editors of PolitiFact.com, the fact-checking Web site of the St. Petersburg Times, have chosen it as our inaugural “Lie of the Year.”

PolitiFact readers overwhelmingly supported the decision. Nearly 5,000 voted in a national poll to name the biggest lie, and 61 percent chose “death panels” from a field of eight finalists. (See the complete results.)

This is the story of how two words generated intense heat in the national debate over health care.

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Sarah Palin’s Brand of Populism is Dangerous and Deceptive

Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin

Writing about Sarah Palin in Newsweek last month, I pointed out the crude way in which she tried to Teflon-ize herself when allegations of weird political extremism were made against her. Thus, she had once gone to a Pat Buchanan rally wearing a pro-Buchanan button, but only because she thought it was the polite thing to do. She and her husband had both attended meetings of the Alaskan Independence Party—he as a member—but its name, she later tried to claim, only meant “independent.” (The AIP is a straightforward secessionist party.) She didn’t disbelieve all the evidence for evolution, only some of it. She hadn’t exactly said that God was on our side in Iraq, only that God and the United States were on the same side. She says that she left Hawaii Pacific College after only one year because the climate was too sunny for an Alaskan; her father (whom she considers practically infallible) tells her most recent biographers that she quit because of the preponderance of Asian and Pacific islanders: “They were a minority type thing and it wasn’t glamorous. So she came home.” And so on. As I tried to summarize the repeated tactic:

So there it is: anti-Washington except that she thirsts for it, and close enough (and also far enough away to be “deniable”) to the paranoid fringe element who darkly suggest that our president is a Kenyan communist.

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Sarah’s Palling Around with Conspiracists

Sarah Palin and her pals Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh

Sarah Palin and her pals Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh.

While many are pondering what exactly Sarah Palin’s approving radio comments on the birther issue and her subsequent “clarification” mean to her possible 2012 run, there is a more fundamental question: what does this bode for our democracy? The answer is this is yet another indicator that extreme is the new mainstream.

In a radio interview on the conservative Rusty Humphries show yesterday, the former 2008 Vice Presidential Republican candidate answered a question about her possibly using the President’s birth certificate as an issue if she ran again for office:  “I think the public rightfully is still making it [the President’s birth certificate] an issue. I don’t have a problem with that. I don’t know if I would have to bother to make it an issue, because I think that members of the electorate still want answers.” She continued: “I think it’s a fair question, just like I think past association and past voting records — all of that is fair game” She later deftly stated on Facebook that she never directly asked the President to produce his birth certificate or suggest that he was not born in the country. True, she only inferred it, when she could have done what both her running mate, John McCain, Rudy Giuliani and Ann Coulter all did—reject the lie.

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