Thursday, September 04, 2008

American Woman, Stay Away From Me

Congratulations to Sarah Palin.

The journalism-degreed former sportscaster knows how to deliver a speech written for her at the last minute by McCain’s scribes, who had to furiously revise what had been a “masculine” speech. (To be fair, at recent conventions all speakers other than the presidential candidates themselves and Bill Clinton must read what is given to them.)

Most people in their first exposure to the national stage might have come off a little haltingly. But with the exception of mispronouncing “pundit,” it was a flawless performance.

I watched as much of the Republican Convention as I could stomach, unbelievably yearning for the good old days when I covered the conventions that nominated Ronald Reagan and the party still inhabited Planet Earth. (A grand total of 36 of 2,380 delegates are African-American; 1.5 percent.)

I think my top complaint about the red meat rhetoric was the assumption that “the Eastern Elite media” have been unfairly attacking Palin and her family. Not only is this horseshit, to put it mildly, it is old horseshit, old as McCain.

The media the Republicans love to run against since 1964 are basically the New York Times and the Washington Post (which never stops them from leaking like crazy to them when it serves their purposes.)

But let me ask the press critics of a certain age this: Did you feel better served when the media failed to investigate similarly unprepared Republican vice presidential candidate Spiro Agnew? For the younger readers, Mr. Agnew rose quickly from PTA president to county executive (mayor) of a large Baltimore suburb, and got elected governor as a liberal in a three-way election in which the Democrat wore a white sheet and white hood.

As a reward for breaking with the Rockefeller wing of the GOP, Nixon tapped him as a running mate. Agnew, under the tutelage of Bill Safire and Pat Buchanan, then began a several-year campaign of trashing the news media. All this time, the press did not seem to have noticed he was on the take from construction contractors as county executive, governor and vice president.

The fact of the matter is that no one can point to an instance of what is called “the mainstream media” unfairly or inaccurately reporting on Palin. The Republicans say it is so, and the cowering television commentators assume they are guilty and then kowtow so as to prove it untrue.

A lot of well-meaning people do not understand something about journalism. When you hear a rumor, check it out. If your mother says she loves you, check it out. So when apprised of a rumor and you do check it, the “day-is-night” political hacks of the Republican Party accuse you of spreading rumors. Amusingly, John McCain repeatedly had claimed that his political base was the press corps.

Here are 22 thing that are true about Palin:

  1. In her first race for mayor, a nonpartisan position, Palin injected abortion, guns and Jesus into the campaign and defeated a man named Stein, proclaiming, “We will have our first Christian mayor.” Mr. Stein is Lutheran.
  2. Her long-time minister said critics of President Bush will go to hell, questioned whether John Kerry voters would go to heaven and proclaimed Jesus a general in the Iraq War, a battle for Christian supremacy. From the pulpit, Palin herself said, "Pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right. Also, for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending (U.S. soldiers) out on a task that is from God. That's what we have to make sure that we're praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God's plan." She also says God is for an Alaskan gas pipeline.
  3. A different church Palin attended three weeks ago had a speaker tell the congregation that terrorism in Israel is due to Jews not accepting Jesus.
  4. Despite scientific evidence that it does not work and is counterproductive, Palin believes in abstinence-only sex education. Her teenage daughter got pregnant well before sporting an engagement ring and will be married in a 21-shotgun salute ceremony.
  5. She opposes abortion even after rape or incest but thinks it is praiseworthy her own daughter chose to have her baby, a choice Palin would take away from every other woman.
  6. She accuses the Democrats of sexism for attacking her but opposes a requirement that women get paid the same as men for the same work, opposes expanded child health care coverage and early childhood education.
  7. She believes in creationism.
  8. She denies that global warming is man made.
  9. She wants more endangered polar bears killed to make room for more oil exploration.
  10. She opposed legislation banning shooting wolves from airplanes, which is apparently against federal law to begin with and inhumane, at least.
  11. As mentioned before, she endangered her own life and that of her child by choosing to take an eight-hour flight (with stopover) home while in labor.
  12. Whether she is sanctioned or indicted, she has abused her power by trying to get her ex-brother-in-law fired and then firing the head of the state police who found no work-related violations by the guy.
  13. As mayor, she fired the town’s police chief for political reasons.
  14. As mayor, she inquired of the town librarian how to go about banning books. Although, Palin did not follow up on the censorship drive, she did fire the librarian, who had to sue to get her job back through legal proceedings.
  15. She ran the town of Wasilla into $20 million of long-term debt.
  16. Despite opposing earmarks, she hired an associate of imprisoned Jack Abramoff to get a disproportionate amount of goodies for Wasilla.
  17. She has been a long-time supporter and acolyte of the indicted Sen. Ted Stevens, even after investigations of him began.
  18. Long and frequently before opposing Stevens’ “Bridge to Nowhere,” Palin supported it.
  19. She admitted recently she has “not paid much attention” to the war in Iraq but would become president if John McCain is elected and then goes to a place where John Kerry voters are not admitted.
  20. She was not always “country first.” In the 1990s, she belonged to a fringe group called the Alaska Independence Party that called for secession from the United States under a slogan, "Alaska First -- Alaska Always."
  21. As for her executive experience, as mayor she opened a car wash business in Anchorage but failed to pay the required fees or file required reports with the state, which then shut the business down.
  22. Her touted executive experience consists of being governor of a state with fewer people than a single congressional district and probably just a few more people than Barack Obama represented in the Illinois Senate.

    What does this amount to?

    This likeable unorthodox woman who seems to have dysfunctional elements in her family and ignorance of national and international affairs has been selected to be a melanoma away from the presidency by a doddering and divisive John McCain, whose temper and impulsiveness should reside in the Senate where he can do no damage to the country he claims to put first.


  1. Anonymous12:22 AM

    A true baseball fan cheers when the opponent’s rookie crushes a grand salami in to the centerfield upper deck. An ignorant ‘homer’ dismisses the feat and will try to tell you that the rookie misunderstood the balk rule when she was in Little League.

  2. I don't mean to make little of all the stuff you posted about Sarah's inconsistencies. I don't like Sarah or the Republican platform. I'm a Kucinich supporter who wishes Hillary had been the candidate when Dennis dropped out; thus I will be writing Hillary in.

    But I have to ask you this: Why do so many people on TV mispronounce the word "pundit" as "pundiNt"? I hear this all the time from commentators and politicians. It irritates me!

  3. They mispronounce it because being a broadcaster does not require knowledge of the language -- or anything else.

    When someone says "pundints" he or she must be assuming they are politically indepundint.

    Actually, it comes from "pandit", the Sanskrit for "Hindu learned man." Mohandas Gandhi was a pandit.

    As the father of a pundit, I can still say there are no real Hindu learned men on television. Or any kind of learned men or women.

  4. It's disturbing!

    I hear politicians saying it too, not just broadcasters. It's like a verbal plague!