Tag Archives: Tea Party

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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Palin’s Dangerous Anti-Intellectualism

Former GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin signed a book outside Barnes & Noble Booksellers at Woodland Mall in Grand Rapids on Wednesday evening.

Former GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin signed a book outside Barnes & Noble Booksellers at Woodland Mall in Grand Rapids on Wednesday evening.

A dangerous divide has been developing for some years in America, between those who are comfortable negotiating the wide array of knowledge and information sources now available, and those who are not. It is in many aspects a class divide, one side characterized by wealth, professional degrees, security and complacency, the other by shrinking incomes and high credit card debt, anxiety about the future, and anger at those in power.

One U.S. Senator, Jim Webb of Virginia, recently called this America’s greatest present danger, more potent than our international entanglements, the financial crisis, health care, energy or environment. The “tea party” protests over health care and immigration policy are one manifestation of that divide. Another, related, is the current response to Sarah Palin.

Palin has become the champion of a new wave of populism. People attracted to her are outraged over federal bailouts for Wall Street bankers, resentful of benefits accorded illegal immigrants, incensed over the notion of federally funded abortions, and perhaps most disturbing, suspicious of education. A fairly consistent analysis of the Palin phenomenon concludes that she is the happy beneficiary of this protest coalition, having happened into her celebrity role by the accident of timing, a willing but passive instrument. But her willing embrace of the role of symbolic embodiment of protest makes her as much a generator as recipient of it.

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The Battle of NY-23 and Sarah Palin’s Purity Problem

Conservative supporters of Sarah Palin carrying protest signs.

Conservative supporters of Sarah Palin carrying protest signs.

Once you whip up a mob, can you control it? That may be Sarah Palin‘s next problem.

Before the votes were counted Tuesday night, the former Republican vice presidential candidate was already something of a winner. Though her candidate in the special election for a House seat in upstate New York, Doug Hoffman, lost to Democrat Bill Owens — in an area that hasn’t sent a Democrat to the House since the 1800s — Palin, by intervening in the race, had established herself as a successful ideological power broker. At first, Hoffman was merely a third-party conservative candidate in New York’s 23rd congressional district. Yet when Palin backed him over the official Republican in the race, a moderate assemblywoman named Dede Scozzafava, she helped turn this contest into an intra-party clash, which ended with the right wing of her party chasing Scozzafava out of the contest and forcing the GOP establishment to swing behind Hoffman.

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