Thursday, October 02, 2008

Catapulting the Palinganda

Since those meanies Charlie and Katie were too meeeaaan to our underqualified Klondike Barbie, the braintrust running this vaudeville act announces a new tack, letting only close family members interview the frail thing who is, you know, interviewing for the job of running this country at some point.

Sarah Palin's interview Tuesday with conservative talker Hugh Hewitt gave the vice presidential candidate a chance to showcase elements of her life story and demonstrate some of the folksiness that's been central to her political success.

It's exactly the kind of interview that voters can expect to see from the governor in the coming weeks, according to a Palin adviser, who recognized that there is hunger in Republican circles and among the public at large to see a less-scripted, more authentic candidate. That means more comfortable settings like conservative talk radio, and fewer opportunities for Palin to stumble, as was the case with a pair of high-profile network interviews with ABC and CBS.

Yeah, after the way Katie Couric blindsided the poor dear with hard-hitting questions like what newspapers she reads, it's easy to see why the campaign felt they had to indulge in a handjob. Still, as we head into a remarkably over-anticipated veep debate, rather than merely writing off Hewitt as just another cheap Hannity knock-off (which of course he is), let's take a closer look at this preening joke of an interview.

There are only nine "questions", the last of which is asking Palin if she's heard from her son since he shipped out to Iraq. The preceding eight are a study in bullshit unto themselves. Indeed, the first three questions spare no effort in helping Palin (and the mental invalids who believe this mumbo-jumbo) into a nice warm comfort zone.

Governor, your candidacy has ignited extreme hostility, even some hatred on the left and in some parts of the media. Are you surprised? And what do you attribute this reaction to?

Now Governor, the Gibson and the Couric interview struck many as sort of pop quizzes designed to embarrass you as opposed to interviews. Do you share that opinion?

Have you followed the attacks on you, say, via Drudge or the blogs? Some of them are just made up and out of left field, others are just mocking. Do you follow those?

The buzzwords abound like the ingrown hairs on the bosomy Hewitt's fleshy ass (according to Drudge). "Extreme hostility". Is that "hostility" more or less "extreme" than what conservatard columnist Kathleen Parker has encountered from her own side in the wake of her column last week excoriating Palin's dimbulb interview (she's gotta degree in journalism, ya know) skills? What is "hostility" anyway, Hugh? Does openly racist Obama swag count, or hanging him in effigy? Or the more generic "librul media" bozos with their "Rope. Tree. Journalist. Some assembly required." t-shirts, does that count as "hostility"?

Only in Conservatardia does rigorous, healthy skepticism about the candidate's own words and actions count as hostility. Let's look at the facts -- she hit stump speeches all over the country for a solid month repeating assertions that had been thoroughly, repeatedly, and publicly debunked hours after her nomination. This is what is also known as "lying".

Palin has had several interviews with standard corporate hacks who are routinely assigned to celebrity puff pieces. And a celebrity is what Palin actually is, not a serious politician, nor a person qualified for the position she's applying for. This can be ascertained by reading and listening to her own responses in interviews that, while not as subservient as Hannity or Hewitt, should have been easy enough for just about any politician seeking national recognition to adequately prepare for.

(Incidentally, CBS has played out the Couric-Palin saga amazingly well. They astutely recognized a slow-motion train wreck when they saw it, and have been cock-teasing the derailment for a good week now with more and more clips, all drumming home the profound shallowness of Palin's quals. Nicely done.)

The fact is, if you look at all the transcripts of her speeches and interviews, it's a wash. She says nothing. Oh, there's plenty of happy crappy about the scrappy outsider comin' ta Warshinton an' fixin' an' shakin' things up and such. And a nifty slogan about new faces, new energy, new ideas, blah blah blah. But despite all the speeches, and despite all the exposure, and despite all the opportunities to explain her "new ideas", even to supposedly hostile corporate media anchors (whose assistants aren't being paid nearly enough to read the anguished, incoherent scrawls from disillusioned retards every time their new wampeter is exposed as a fraud), the bottom line is that Palin has failed to express a single new thought or idea.

Raiding the state offices in Juneau and Anchorage and replacing the old cronies with your cronies is not "reform", sweet cheeks. I've read far too much of what this dingbat has to say over the past month, and I'll be damned if she's managed to express a concrete opinion or idea about anything, anything at all. That may actually be the most offensive thing about her presence on the scene -- it's not that she's a disagreeable person per se, it's that she spouts interminable gobbets of meaningless, rehearsed buzzwords.

I really have no idea what the fuck she actually stands for, and that is solely due to the sheer incoherence and monomanic repetition of her blather. The debate tonight will either expose her fully and cinch that impression irretrievably, or she'll be just prepared enough (or Biden will be just off-putting enough) to keep the believers on the hook. Won't take much, since her crowd is looking for validation rather than facts. Perhaps they should get a dog, or better yet a psychiatrist.

Now, is all that "hostile"? Not really. None of this is personal, mind you -- I live in a small red town in a small red county, and every third person here is going through the motions of identifying with her. They're nice enough people, but one thing that rings true in their weird love for a person they hadn't heard of six weeks ago is that she really is like them, insofar as they aren't qualified to be vice-president either.

This is a distinguishing characteristic of self-selecting (if rarely consistent) conservatards -- it's always personal with them. Their hatred is palpable and vitriolic, full of violent fantasy; their infatuations are deep and passionate and always too brief. Guaranteed that in an Obama win that Palin, if she can't parlay her fifteen minutes into a run at Lisa Murkowski's Senate seat in a couple years, will be forgotten like Mark Foley or Fatboy Hastert, as an increasingly desperate and incoherent party struggles to rebuild itself for the next interminable go-round. Quick, who won Dancing with the Stars last year? That's the mentality we're dealing with here.

And Hewitt's example of Drudge as a blogger who "attacks" Palin, asshole please. Only a jaw-dropping moron (i.e., one of Hewitt's flock) could buy that one.

Governor, you mentioned the people who are struggling right now. Have you and your husband, Todd, ever faced tough economic times where you had to sit around a kitchen table and make tough choices?

Governor, when you say things are tight right now, is that simply because of Todd being off not working? Or is it because of extraordinary demands on the fiscal resources of the Palin family? What’s the situation there?

I suppose this is Palin's opportunity to prove her Joe Six-pack claims, and while she attests to the hard times every couple has, before they have kids and get cushy union jobs with fat insurance, she again proffers no solutions. People have always had to wonder what they'll do if they get sick or hurt, and they always will. John McCain is not going to improve that scenario because he doesn't intend to. Barack Obama probably wants to improve it, but whether his corporate overlords in the insurance and pharmaceutical industries allow him to is another matter.

But come on. She's the governor of a state, albeit a remote welfare state that has more in common with tsarist Irkutsk than California or New York. Her husband works in the oil fields. If anything, they've achieved the comfy moderation (by Washington standards) that most Joe Six-packs aspire to, but frequently cannot because the system is designed to keep people like them out. So it's a comparative push -- let's call Palin a Joe Twelve-pack who, despite her rhetoric, may dimly recall where she comes from but will do as little as possible to help that demographic.

Small-town America, as I've said many times before, is a curdled stew of boredom, addiction, and relative poverty for many. Contra what we've all been led to believe, there are actually bigger concerns in the boonies than making drug-using gay teen immigrant abortions illegal because it makes the baby Jesus cry. One commercial that plays with nauseating frequency on the local stations is an anti-meth screed that shows before-and-after photos of the drug's devastating effects, with an ominous voiceover repeating "meth" and "death" as often as possible in 30 seconds. And it's true; the cheap and easy availability of this stuff is quite prevalent in the small towns that fester along interstate corridors. Whether in Iowa or California or Alaska, if you pull off the freeway into a small-town with a lot of empty lots and closed businesses, you can bet your last dollar that you're in a town with a crank problem.

Here's the thing -- there are recreational drug users, who are generally harmless and confine their use to the privacy of their own homes over the weekend, and then there are the hardcore abusers that are made examples of in these commercials. You really want to get people off drugs? Give them jobs, and I mean jobs that a sane person can bring themselves to give a shit about, not low-wage hellholes that even moderately-educated people have to work two of to survive. It's not a stretch to point out that some of these people are doing dope just so they can make it through the second shift.

Every time I hear this fambly-valyews bullshit, when it's not code for "fetus killing" or "fags a-gittin' hitched", I respond that family is a condition of stability, and if people really valued stability, they'd fight for fair, livable wages. Otherwise you're just consigning people to endless hours of shit work, never seeing their, you know, families just so they can afford to keep a roof over their heads. That's not as feel-good as "I know what it's like" but it has the advantage of being true. Because people who actually know what it's like would have their goddamned priorities straight.

Last two questions:

Do you think the mainstream media and the left understands your religious faith, Governor Palin?

Governor, let’s close with some foreign affairs. It is reported that you had an Israeli flag in your governor’s office. You wore an Israeli flag pin occasionally. One, is that true? And two, why your support for Israel?

As with the other questions, Palin's answers are largely irrelevant, just more wheel-spinning for the converted. But it's worth noting that Hewitt's sole "foreign affairs" question has to do not with Israel's geopolitical importance itself, but rather Palin's depth of support for its policies. Not even that, really, just as assertion of Palin's use of the symbology of that support. A flag and a flag pin, big fuckin' deal.

Does or would she support a unilateral Israeli strike on an Iranian nuclear facility, even if Israel would have to violate the airspace sovereignty of at least two other countries to do so, and even if it would trigger a catastrophic response? That's a "foreign affairs" question, numbnuts. I couldn't care less if Sarah Palin wears Israeli flag panties and bra, though I'm sure the prurient interest of your average dickless male conservatard closet-case compels them to begin fwap-fwap-fwapping at such imagery.

No, the Israel question, obviously, is not a foreign policy question at all, but rather an elucidation of Palin's fairly peculiar sect of American premillenial dispensationalism, which is itself peculiar, and "Christian" in name only. I don't really care if the rest of the congregation speaks in tongues or believes in witchcraft, but I do not think it's unreasonable nor hostile for us to ask if she endorses those things personally. If so, yeah, it's a fuckin' disqualifier.

Obviously I think most religion is inherently destructive and irrational anyway, but there are also many aspects of it that can be put to positive use. A person holding out for an atheist candidate will die before they ever vote in this country. But discriminating against religious belief and inquiring about peculiar religious practices are two entirely different things.

And again, given the opportunity to elaborate on what her religious beliefs and practices actually are, Palin punts like she does everything else. Aside from her whining about her faith being "mocked" (it hasn't been; the idea of adults engaging in group glossolalia and witch banishment in the year 2008 is what's being mocked), she only says this about the extent of her faith.

I do have a strong belief in God, and I believe that I’m a heck of a lot better off putting my life in God’s hands, and saying hey, you know, guide me.

"Hey, you know, guide me." One can easily find countless examples of profound art and philosophy based, however irrationally at its core, on the simple belief of divine providence, of the urge to believe that something greater is out there. The works of Bach and Haydn, just for starters, are direct by-products of those inspirations. You got your Kunst der Fuge and your Paris Symphonies, and then you got your "Hey, you know, guide me," in the key of Stupid Minor. God is apparently now a frat brother. "Bro-ham, beer me! Amen, yo!"

What sort of a clown spends so much time in church throughout their life, and that's all they can come up with? What the hell is that? I'm an atheist who hasn't been near a church in thirty years, and I can do better than that. I guess that's better than asserting that God wants rape victims to pay for their own testing kits, or that victims of rape or incest should be counseled into carrying the seed of violence to term, but not by much. If this is what God has been guiding her to, she should invest in a decent map.

The continued viability of these people, all of them -- Palin, Hewitt, the whole rotten lot of them -- is as cruel a practical joke played upon humanity as any nasty, capricious deity can devise. Maybe there is a god, but rather than the passive-aggressive Levantine daddy figure we've come to know and fear, it's Loki or Kali that runs the show. That would explain a lot, such as why Hewitt doesn't explode into flames every time he opens his mouth to calumniate his ideological opponents.


Anonymous said...

Heywood, you write so clearly about issues that others find hrd to even approach. That is to say, you are writing exactly what I am thinking! ;-)

The press' interaction with palin has been pathetic, and symtematic of a effete elite press corp suffering from Somerby's Syndrome.

ann the debate! It was set up for a stupid micromanaged question and answer session, and when they began to get into it, Ifll would STOP the action. I said to myself, we need Howard Stern there. He knew not to interupt when things were starting to get hot. and also enough to prod his guests into answering truthfully, or at least into taking off their clothes.

Ifll did give that up when she realised that Plain was not going to answer ANY of her questions. just na na, nuh uh, na gonna do it.

and then she mostly remained out of the discussion which was not a bad thing. Poor Biden, always asking permission to address that until he figured out the the rules were no rules at all.

and that's what the pres debate should be.

5 minutes first candidate.
2 minutes response
2 mintues followup
1 minute moderator talking about what hacks and liars the candidates are. Then flip for second candidate.

repeat that for say 3times. (60 mins) Then go:

10 minutes
10 minutes

and maybe 2 minutes each for a closing insult.

I wish...

Heywood J. said...

Thanks. As always, spread the word. I believe the media syndrome in play is actually Stockholm. The press really hasn't been allowed to interact with Palin. It's the one area where that campaign has actually shown some discipline.

I see a lot of people trashing Ifill's performance as moderator. I don't think they're being entirely fair. The goal of the McPalin campaign's last-second effort to accuse Ifill of bias was to throw Ifill of her game.

It didn't matter that everyone knew about Ifill's book a couple months ago when she was selected, and no one said anything at the time. It worked on the perpetually aggrieved base they're marketing to. It always does.

Ifill played it safe to avoid further accusations, and it's hard to blame her. But you're right, a more aggressive moderator would help. Palin got away with quite a few lies and slanders last night.

Anonymous said...

right but I was sort of saying that the moderator shouldn't bother asking questions, but just make some helpfull comments about what the candidates just said.

Get em riled up a bit and let them go at it...but its not the moderators role to get aggressive.