I pulled up a chair next to the woodstove in my shop. With the help of a student, we conjured up Eugene Ionesco’s ghost. I grabbed a chair and invited the ghost to sit there……
I think most pundits, newsies and bloggers have had a hard time grasping what Eastwood did for at least two reasons: He WAS doing improv, and he was too old to put himself in Steven Colbert’s shoes.
I was working when he gave his “warmup” for “save it for Mitt.” When I finally got around to watching his RNC speech late Friday night, I was struck by the dissonance between what occurred and how it has been looked upon.
Eastwood did not endorse Romney.
He certainly didn’t endorse Obama, but, other than criticize the president for many things the real left dislike about him, Eastwood didn’t go there, let alone throw out the red (black) meat this convention might have expected for a highly touted “mystery” warmup.
I know you were against the war in Iraq, and that’s okay. But you thought the war in Afghanistan was OK.
Yo know, I mean — you thought that was something worth doing. We didn’t check with the Russians to see how did it — they did there for 10 years.
But we did it, and it is something to be thought about, and I think that, when we get to maybe — I think you’ve mentioned something about having a target date for bringing everybody home. You gave that target date, and I think Mr. Romney asked the only sensible question, you know, he says, “Why are you giving the date out now?
Why don’t you just bring them home tomorrow morning?”
And I thought — I thought, yeah — I am not going to shut up, it is my turn.
So anyway, we’re going to have — we’re going to have to have a little chat about that.
No, we are not. The only candidate who has consistently advocated withdrawal from Afghanistan has been Ron Paul.
Was Eastwood trying to be a contrarian? Might he have been attempting to use the place the RNC had given him in this event – the warmup for what the insiders knew was going to be a lackluster closer – to appeal for something he couldn’t manage to articulate?
We should ask Mike Gravel what he thought of Eastwood’s speech.
Mitt Romney's campaign has reversed a decision to not allow the media into a fundraiser here Monday morning, bowing to reporters' demand that they be allowed to record the Republican's address to some of his top donors.]
Speculation over why GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has excluded reporters from his Jerusalem King David Hotel fundraiser is perhaps beside the point. Nobody in the American press is going to center a story around the event upon the fact that this hotel was the scene of an awful act of terrorism, perpetrated upon the British in July, 1946:
On the morning of the 22nd of July 1946 a party of between 15 and 20 Jews, dressed as an Arabs entered the King David Hotel. The hotel housed the Secretariat of the Government of Palestine and Headquarters of the British Forces in Palestine and Transjordan. The terrorists were able to enter the building without arousing too much attention because part of the building was still being used as a hotel and other people frequented it. The Jews pretended to be an Arab working party. Having unloading from their lorry several milk churns filled with 225 kilogram’s of explosive, they placed them in the basement of the wing of the hotel occupied by the Secretariat.
A British officer standing nearby, one Major Mackintosh, became suspicious of this group of Arabs and began to ask questions, but was suddenly gunned down by a member of the Jewish gang and subsequently died. A policeman stationed at the tradesman’s entrance suffered a similar fate when he challenged the Jewish terrorists. Both victims were unarmed. A gun battle soon began between the terrorist and guards during which time the Jews ignited the fuse and bolted from the building as the alarm was given. As they ran several were shot and wounded by guards, but most managed to make good their escape. There was no time to evacuate the building and the charge exploded with devastating effect. Many were killed instantly as the whole wing of the building collapsed about them, others were trapped and many more injured.
Rescue work started straight way as soldiers and police began to pull away the rubble in the hope of finding survivors. Members of the Royal Engineers were hurried to the scene with heavy lifting equipment, but they had difficulty reaching the King David Hotel because of Jewish road blocks. The Royal Engineers were stoned and booed as they tried to make their way to the scene of the bombing.
Although Romney relented, reporters were pissed about Romney’s campaign breaking a supposed promise to not exclude them from this event. But they won’t be allowed by their editors to write about how corrupt Sheldon Adelson and Benjamin Netanyahu are, or how dangerous Romney’s conduct in this case actually is. Case in point:
Romney’s campaign announced Saturday that it would block the news media from covering the event, which will be held at the King David Hotel. The campaign’s decision to close the fundraiser to the press violates the ground rules it negotiated with news organizations in April, when Romney wrapped up the Republican nomination and began opening some of his finance events to the news media.
Under the agreement, a pool of wire, print and television reporters can cover every Romney fundraiser held in public venues, including hotels and country clubs. The campaign does not allow media coverage of fundraisers held in private residences.
Campaign spokesman Rick Gorka declined to explain the campaign’s decision to violate protocol with the Jerusalem event. Pressed repeatedly by reporters to offer an explanation, Gorka said only that the fundraiser was “closed press.”
“That’s all I’ve got for you — it’s closed press,” Gorka said.
Obama’s campaign will not counter Romney’s secret King David fundraiser with a press release or campaign ad that messages “Romney Follows London Gaffs with Fundraiser at Hotel Zionists Bombed to Kill Brits and Meets with Macau Crime Boss and Former Spy Against the USA.” None of that will be brought up.
It is not allowed.
Juan Cole lists ten reasons why Romney’s Israel visit is “distasteful.” He brings up the inappropriate venue of the King David, especially after Romney’s London visit.
I find it even more distasteful that our media refuses to give this campaign visit context.
Here’s John Cook at Gawker, covering it late yesterday:
Andrew Adler, the owner and publisher of the Atlanta Jewish Times, a weekly newspaper serving Atlanta’s Jewish community, devoted his January 13, 2012 column to the thorny problem of the U.S. and Israel’s diverging views on the threat posed by Iran. Basically Israel has three options, he wrote: Strike Hezbollah and Hamas, strike Iran, or “order a hit” on Barack Obama. Either way, problem solved!
Here’s how Adler laid out “option three” in his list of scenarios facing Israeli president Benjamin Netanyahu (the column, which was forwarded to us by a tipster, isn’t online, but you can read a copy here):
Three, give the go-ahead for U.S.-based Mossad agents to take out a president deemed unfriendly to Israel in order for the current vice president to take his place, and forcefully dictate that the United States’ policy includes its helping the Jewish state obliterate its enemies.
Yes, you read “three” correctly. Order a hit on a president in order to preserve Israel’s existence. Think about it. If I have thought of this Tom Clancy-type scenario, don’t you think that this almost unfathomable idea has been discussed in Israel’s most inner circles?
Another way of putting “three” in perspective goes something like this: How far would you go to save a nation comprised of seven million lives…Jews, Christians and Arabs alike?
You have got to believe, like I do, that all options are on the table.
Adler’s newspaper isn’t what it used to be, and, according to Wikipedia, “After [Adler's] takeover the website jtonline.us ceased to be updated.. This may explain the gap of a week between the editorial’s publication and the pushback, which has begun in earnest today, inducing an apology from Mr. Adler:
The owner of the Atlanta Jewish Times apologized for an opinion column in which he counted President Obama’s assassination as among Israel’s options in heading off a nuclear Iran.
“I very much regret it, I wish I hadn’t made reference to it at all,” Andrew Adler told JTA on Friday.
He said he would publish an apology in his next edition, and that reaction from readers had been overwhelmingly negative.
The option for Israel to assassinate Obama was the third in a series that Adler laid out as choices for Netanyahu to confront the threat posed by Iran. Adler denied that he was advocating that Israel consider ordering Obama’s assassination. He claimed he only wrote the piece to provoke readers.
“I don’t stand behind what I wrote and my intention was never to stand behind it. I just wanted to get a reaction from the local community, to see what they would do,” he told the Forward.
Adler said the reaction had been “very negative.” He vowed to write a column explaining himself, and insisted he has nothing against Obama.
“My view of the President is favorable,” Adler said.
The Secret Service, which investigates threats against the president, did not immediately respond to request for comment.
Adler, who is a member of the Chabad Movement and has been active in the Atlanta Jewish community for years, bought the paper 2-1/2 years ago. It has a circulation of between 3,000 and 4,000.
The National Jewish Democratic Council denounced Adler’s column, calling in the “height of irresponsibility.”
“To dare to give such despicable ideas space in a newspaper … is beyond the pale,” said NJDC President David A. Harris in a statement.
Adler’s column on the 13th begs the question, “Is this one deranged man’s response to the campaign of organized efforts afoot by ardently militant Zionists, to demonize Obama?”
Thursday, both Glenn Greenwald and Justin Raimondo wrote very long columns on how anyone questioning the militant Zionist meme that Iran is indeed developing nuclear weapons is being targeted as “anti-Semitic.” These attacks are centering on a few writers, who Raimondo has called The DC Five:
The tale of the DC Five – the five Beltway bloggers at two prominent Democratic Washington thinktanks who have been smacked down (and one fired) for being insufficiently pro-Israel – is hardly a shock to those who know their history. But before we get into that, a few details on what is only the latest chapter in the story of how the War Party operates in this country.
Both Greenwald and Raimondo, in their articles, give many examples of how a coordinated campaign against Obama, tied directly to the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is seeking to undermine the presidency and reelection of one of the most Israel-friendly presidents in U.S. history, for not being supportive enough of that pesky little country. Adler’s over-reaction may just be one of many. As critical as I am of Obama, I’d give my life to protect his, if the occasion occurred. Likewise Mr. Adler’s life.
This shit is getting way, way out of hand.
A final thought: Had the editor of the Dearborn American Muslim Times (I’m making the name up, so if there is such a paper – sorry) proposed that an option of dealing with any president of the United States might be to have him whacked by Iranian or Pakistani or Saudi or Syrian secret services, do you think that editor would be walking the streets a week later a free man or woman?
First of All – Good Job, Everyone – In Alaska and elsewhere.
Special thanks to some key Alaskans, dating back to 1996:
John Stein and the late Karen Marie
The Wasilla librarians
Linda Kellen Biegel
After much prayer and serious consideration, I have decided that I will not be seeking the 2012 GOP nomination for President of the United States. As always, my family comes first and obviously Todd and I put great consideration into family life before making this decision. When we serve, we devote ourselves to God, family and country. My decision maintains this order.
My decision is based upon a review of what common sense Conservatives and Independents have accomplished, especially over the last year. I believe that at this time I can be more effective in a decisive role to help elect other true public servants to office – from the nation’s governors to Congressional seats and the Presidency. We need to continue to actively and aggressively help those who will stop the “fundamental transformation” of our nation and instead seek the restoration of our greatness, our goodness and our constitutional republic based on the rule of law.
From the bottom of my heart I thank those who have supported me and defended my record throughout the years, and encouraged me to run for President. Know that by working together we can bring this country back – and as I’ve always said, one doesn’t need a title to help do it.
I will continue driving the discussion for freedom and free markets, including in the race for President where our candidates must embrace immediate action toward energy independence through domestic resource developments of conventional energy sources, along with renewables. We must reduce tax burdens and onerous regulations that kill American industry, and our candidates must always push to minimize government to strengthen the economy and allow the private sector to create jobs.
Those will be our priorities so Americans can be confident that a smaller, smarter government that is truly of the people, by the people, and for the people can better serve this most exceptional nation. In the coming weeks I will help coordinate strategies to assist in replacing the President, re-taking the Senate, and maintaining the House.
Thank you again for all your support. Let’s unite to restore this country!
In early 2009, as Palin’s executive abilities in Alaska were rapidly declining, and Alaskans along the lower Yukon and Kuskokwim Rivers faced severe hardships, Graham was the one to lead her mission of mercydelivery of trinkets and blankets to people along the Yukon. The trip was a public relations disaster for her, surpassed that early part of the year only by her choice of a person mostly despised by the same people along those rivers, Wayne Anthony Ross, to be the discredited Talis Colberg’s replacement as Alaska Attorney General. Her selection of Ross was roundly rejected, and was Palin’s biggest political debacle. Read the rest of this entry →
Listen my children and you shall be hailing
The midnight ride of Sarah Palin,
On the second of June, in ought-eleven;
Hardly a man was not stunned.
Who remembers that famous day and year?
She said to her friend, “If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Ring the bells aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal loud and bright,
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and pit,
For the country folk to welcome the Brits.”
Then she said “Good-night!” and with unmuffled motor
Loudly bussed to the Charlestown shore,
Just as the moon rose over the bay,
Where swinging wide at her moorings lay
Murdoch’s yacht, ready to slip away;
A phantom ship, with each mast and spar
Across the moon like a prison bar,
And a huge black hulk, that was magnified
By Palin’s stark reflection in the tide.
Meanwhile, her friends through blogs and tweeters
Donated and worshipped, with eager ears,
Till in the silence around her she hears
The muster of Palinbots at the barrack door,
The sound of arms, and the tramp of feet,
And the measured tread of the Breitbartiers,
Marching down to their fellow dolts on the shore. Read the rest of this entry →
Scott Conroy, one of the authors of the 2009 Palin quickie bio, Sarah from Alaska: The Sudden Rise and Brutal Education of a New Conservative Superstar, penned an article today for RealClearPolitics.com that gives out more details of what is obviously Sarah Palin’s 2012 presidential campaign strategy, than has appeared elsewhere. It is a long article, mostly about a film recently finished by Stephen K. Bannon, titled The Undefeated, that Bannon hopes to show in the early GOP primary and caucus states, in an effort to galvanize Palin’s base and others there to vote for her:
“This film is a call to action for a campaign like 1976: Reagan vs. the establishment,” Bannon told RealClearPolitics. “Let’s have a good old-fashioned brouhaha.”
RealClearPolitics was recently given an exclusive screening of a rough cut of the now finished film, which Bannon designed, in part, to help catapult Palin from the presidential afterthought she has become in the eyes of many pundits directly to the front lines of the 2012 GOP conversation.
The schedule of when the film will appear where is highly political:
Bannon intends to premiere the film in Iowa late next month before expanding the release to New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada. After the initial rollout in the four early voting states, the filmmaker will eventually release it to somewhere between 50 and 100 markets nationwide.
Bannon met recently with Palin to discuss the finished product, and details of its release schedule:
The result is a two-hour-long, sweeping epic, a rough cut of which Bannon screened privately for Sarah and Todd Palin last Wednesday in Arizona, where Alaska’s most famous couple has been rumored to have purchased a new home. When it premieres in Iowa next month, the film is poised to serve as a galvanizing prelude to Palin’s prospective presidential campaign — an unconventional reintroduction to the nation that she and her political team have spent months eagerly anticipating, even as Beltway Republicans have largely concluded that she won’t run.
According to Conroy’s article, Palin is already using themes from the film in her media appearances:
The film’s coda is introduced with an on-screen caption that reads, “From here, I can see November.” It is here that Mark Levin alludes to Ronald Reagan as a Palin-like insurgent who was also once distrusted by the GOP establishment.
Palin is then shown firing up a rally that occurred just last month on the steps of the state capitol in Wisconsin. “What we need is for you to stand up, GOP, and fight,” Palin, in vintage campaign form, shouts to the crowd. “Maybe I should ask some of the Badger women’s hockey team — those champions — maybe I should ask them if we should be suggesting to GOP leaders they need to learn how to fight like a girl!”
Following an extended in-your-face riff by Andrew Breitbart in which he repeatedly denounces as “eunuchs” the male Republican leaders who decline to defend Palin, the film ends with one last scene from the April rally in Madison: “Mr. President, game on!” Palin shouts before a martial drumbeat ushers in a closing quotation by Thomas Paine, which also appeared in “Going Rogue.” The implication is neither subtle nor easy to dismiss.
In a telling sign of how the film’s message has already resonated with her own thought process, Palin made reference to the Paine quotation during an appearance on Greta Van Susteren’s Fox News show last week shortly after she viewed a rough cut of the film for the first time.
The film, and its cast of “good guys” – prominent Islamophobe Mark Levin, racist Andrew Breitbart, among others – will resonate with Palin’s base base, but it probably won’t have much of an impact at all with a wider audience. On the other hand, apparently the director wants to paint former Wasilla Mayor John Stein as “one of the film’s villains.” That will be impossible to do without resorting to flat-out lies.
John Ziegler, whose 2009 Palin paean was almost universally panned, wasn’t able to help Palin at all with his sycophantic rant, Media Malpractice. Bannon, who is partnering up with both former Ziegler producer David Bossie, and who has gotten – like Ziegler in the past – financial help from Citizens United, may be a more upscale version of Ziegler, but from the looks of the narrative of the film, as described by Conroy, The Undefeated will have a high probability of being the unseen.
Conroy’s description of Palin as an all-but-announced 2012 presidential candidate brings up her relationship with Newscorp:
Palin has been tight-lipped about which way she is leaning in regard to running for president next year, but her team of advisers is operating under the notion that they are laying the groundwork for a future campaign, until they are told otherwise.
Palin’s future presidential bid might be based in the Phoenix area — where Bristol Palin also recently purchased a new home — but Palin’s aides have yet to reach out to potential venues for a campaign headquarters in Arizona.
Despite Palin’s apparent desire to wait as long as possible before making her decision, aides acknowledge that they will soon have to establish a more campaign-like operation in order to begin a more concerted effort to raise money and take other steps that would be required — even for a potential candidate as unconventional as Palin.
Meanwhile, the news about Palin’s initial effort to commission a film project to highlight her political record is sure to put additional pressure on Fox News to demand an answer from one of their star contributors on whether she intends to run for president or continue working as a political analyst on the network that may soon find itself reporting on her campaign.
Palin will run. It is hard to see any logic in her doing that, but I’ve been convinced since her disastrous Madison speech last month, that she will run.
My favorite line from Conroy’s article?
Even more daunting will be finding a way to explain persuasively just how it was that ethics complainers and liberal bloggers — whom other politicians in her shoes might have largely dismissed as relatively minor nuisances — succeeded in forcing her [out] of office.
With those two words, Sarah Palin ended her abysmally empty, yet fully shrieky speech in front of about 1,200 or so Tea Partiers and 5,000 or so pro-labor protestors in Madison Wisconsin last Saturday. Palin went after Obama at least 25 times in the 15-minute speech. Here’s the rest of the final line:
It starts here. It starts now … Mr. President, Game on!
The speech, as theater, was pure disaster:
It did not get very wide coverage for more than 24 hours. Her facebook and twitter spin doctors have gotten frantic early this week, as they try to create something positive about the Madison debacle to drown out the increasing interest in the rebirth of the TriG birthers. Here’s Dave Weigel at Slate.com:
In the two years and eight months that Sarah Palin has been a political celebrity, I’ve never heard a conservative complain about the media ignoring her. Not until last night. That was when Palin’s web consigliere Rebecca Mansour loaded up Twitter and started tweeting at official media accounts to ask when they hadn’t given more coverage to Palin’s Tea Party speech in Madison this past weekend. She tag-teamed with Jim Nolte, the editor of Andrew Breitbart’s Big Hollywood site — that’s why @jimnolte is mentioned in the tweets.
What has Palin’s staff atwitter is the attention drawn to a “paper” written by a Northern Kentucky University journalism professor, Brad Scharlott. A draft of it was picked up by the campus newspaper on April 7th. Scharlott’s theme in the paper, titled Palin, the Press, and the Fake Pregnancy Rumor, is this:
[I]t’s fair to ask if the U.S. press should have treated the fake pregnancy rumor as untouchable, both in 2008 and up to the present day. After all, if there seemed to be any real chance that the rumor was true, that might mean that a candidate for the vice presidency had staged a hoax about the birth of a Down syndrome child and then used that birth to promote her political career. This article looks at what American journalists knew, and when they knew it, concerning the fake birth rumor – and it finds there was insufficient evidence for the press to conclude that Palin was telling the truth about Trig. The article then looks at what factors may have caused the press to give Palin more deference than she was due, and how journalists might have reacted differently. Finally, the article considers how the spiral of silence theory casts light on press performance relative to the Trig hoax rumor and, relatedly, the Obama fake birth-certificate rumor.
1) that Palin “likely” staged “a hoax” concerning the birth of her son Trig;
and 2) that “a spiral of silence” prevented the mainstream U.S. media from adequately investigating the circumstances of Trig’s birth.
Dunn is among those lining up against the out-and-out TriG birthers. He’s also among the most reasonable. Dunn’s article, titled Sarah Palin’s Version of Trig’s Birth May Be More Troubling Than The Hoax, is an excellent summation of the battle since April 7th between the TriG truthers and those who think Palin’s hiding of her 2007-2008 pregnancy was merely part of her attempt to kill the poor little guy. (I happen to fall into the latter category. Or at least I do today).
I cover the ensuing details of Palin’s so-called “wild ride” from Texas back to Alaska in considerable detail in my book, but in short–according to information she gave at a news conference immediately following her return–Palin claimed that she called her physician in the middle of the night from her hotel room in Texas to discuss what Palin referred to as “amniotic fluid leaking.” Despite the presence of this fluid–a strong indicator of impending birth and which potentially exposed Palin and her child to infection–Palin stayed in Dallas and delivered her speech later that day.
Rather than getting checked at a nearby hospital in Dallas before her departure (Baylor Medical Center was less than ten minutes away), Palin and her husband commenced on their return flight home to Anchorage via Seattle. They did not tell flight attendants of Palin’s medical situation. The failure of the Palins to inform airline personnel of her impending medical situation not only put her infant and herself at risk, it also potentially put all passengers and staff on the two flights at risk as well. As The Atlantic’s Andrew Sullivan (who deserves a commendation for keeping this story from being buried completely) dubbed it, Palin’s decisions were “reckless beyond measure.”
Once returning to Anchorage late in the evening of April 17, Palin claims to have bypassed the Providence Hospital in Anchorage (which has a neonatal intensive-care unit and is located only a few minutes from the Ted Stevens International Airport) for the roughly hour-long drive to the Mat-Su Regional Medical Center, located just off the Parks Highway, roughly seven miles outside of Wasilla (and which has no neonatal intensive-care unit).
Three days after Trig’s birth, Palin and her husband held a news conference in Anchorage, with Trig joining them. The audio recording of the news conference provides a fascinating glimpse into the Palins’ mindset at the time of Trig’s birth and their chafing at criticism of their decision to fly back to Alaska. Again, I cite several passages from the press conference in my book, but what follows are some highlights:
Sarah Palin: Well that was again if, if I must get personal, technical about this at the same time, um, it was one, it was a sign that I knew, um, could lead to uh, labor being uh kind of kicked in there was any kind of, um, amniotic leaking, amniotic fluid leaking, so when, when that happened we decided OK let’s call her [her physician, Cathy Baldwin-Johnson].
The answer was classic Palin–evasive, circuitous, garbled and indirect. In fact, The Anchorage Daily News story the following day, by Kyle Hopkins, reported that Palin had not asked her physician “for a medical OK to fly.”
Hopkins also contacted an obstetrician in California, Dr. Laurie Gregg, active in the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, who said that “when a pregnant woman’s water breaks, she should go right to the hospital because of the risk of infection. That’s true even if the amniotic fluid simply leaks out.”
As for the distinction that Palin was trying to make between “breaking” and “leaking,” Gregg was not buying into it. “To us, leaking and broken, we are talking the same thing,” Gregg asserted. “We are talking doctor-speak.”
The Palins were clearly irritated by the direction of the questioning. “There’s a lot of new doctors out there on the streets in the last couple of days,” Todd Palin asserted irritably.
There still are, Todd. And I have to say that the TriG birthers have a lot of material that makes sense. The three sites which are most relentless are the Alaska site, The Immoral Minority, and two out-of-state sites, Palingates and Politicalgates. They are sometimes backed up by Andrew Sullivan, now over at The Daily Beast.
Palin may have come up with 25 reasons to diss Obama as she was booed by thousands in Madison, but she’s about to be assailed by several more thousand emails, articles, op-eds and author interviews that will challenge her very second-rate publicity machine.
Gloria Nieto’s long interview in the San Francisco Chronicle with author and journalist Geoffrey Dunn, on the advent of the distribution of Dunn’s book (release date – May 10th) about Sarah Palin, is the richest, least sensational in-depth article about Palin’s past, present and future written yet in 2011. It is also informative in the sense that Dunn has much to say about Alaskans and our politics.
Nieto’s not up enough about Alaska politics to ask about some of the nuttiness of the current legislative session, but she and Dunn were able to address the dynamics of Alaska party politics. Dunn was clear that this will be an important aspect of his look at Palin’s rise:
Nieto asks Dunn:
I am curious about the people of Alaska. There is the liberal wing which seems to have become energized from her being up there and organizing more. Maybe it is because more people are paying attention, the blogs are getting more attention, the radio up there has been on fire. Even Rachel Maddow went up there. So what can you tell me about the folks up there you have known for a long time whose voices are finally being heard in the lower 48. It isn’t so much a voice crying in the wilderness anymore.
Dunn’s response is interesting:
Alaska’s political culture is as complex as any I’ve ever seen in the world. People forget that it’s an oil-driven economy and therefore it’s an oil-driven political system. Itâ€™s like Louisiana, circa 1933. In many respects, Palin was simply a symptom of Alaska’s longtime political culture of corruption.
I do think the left was energized some by Palin’s presence (after her nomination), but in the last election, Scott McAdams, the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate and a great guy, only received 23 percent in a three-way race with two Republicans. Joe Miller, whose politics are somewhere to the right of Attila the Hun, got 35 percent. So don’t let Rachel Maddow’s cameo in Anchorage fool you. I would say there’s been a left wing awakening in Alaska–even a coalescing–but not yet a full-scale movement.
One thing I will say: Alaskans by and large are much more practical than ideological in their politics and the parties are less influential than they are in other states. Don’t forget, Palin an against the Republican establishment for governor in 2006 and was elected as a “moderate.
Dunn isn’t the first person to note recently how little “party” has to do with some of the basic dynamics of Alaska politics. He is also appreciative of three law enforcement officers whose problems with Palin he seems to have woven into the fabric of the book’s narrative. He has apparently dedicated his book to them – Irl Stambaugh, the Wasilla police chief Palin inherited from the previous administration (and fired); Walt Monegan, the state public safety director Palin hired and then forced out; and Alaska State Trooper officer Mike Wooten, who Palin failed to get fired.
Dunn agrees with my assessment that Palin’s reaction to the January 9th Tucson shootings finished her chances of ever becoming the GOP 2012 nominee:
Well, I’m a gambling man, and a few months ago I would have bet any amount of money that Palin would wage a race for the GOP nomination in 2012. That’s why she quit her governorship; she hated being governor and wanted to be president. She has clearly been positioning herself for such a run since October of 2008. But her irresponsible remarks both before and after the carnage in Tucson has severely impacted her favorability ratings. I’d say right now her chances of running are 50-50. Her chances of winning the GOP nomination are now a very long shot. The Republican establishment is absolutely united in its opposition to her. Even her former lapdog, Billy Kristol, has signaled his opposition to her candidacy. As for winning the presidency, slim to none.
Let us count our blessings.
The atmosphere of sensationalism leading to fiasco last month involving the leak of Frank Bailey’s Palin book manuscript, and the way the leak involved author Joe McGinniss, whose own Palin book is coming out soon, is completely absent from Dunn’s interview with Gloria Nieto. No doubt, to keep from saying the same stuff over and over, as Dunn has more pre-release interviews, more details will emerge on what is in the book. Dunn claims the book morphed from one in which Palin was an important character to one in which she is the book’s subject. Like millions of Americans, Dunn’s views on Palin have changed.
He really is a super nice guy. I know this from my conversations with him as his idea for a book evolved, and he kept on trying to find a plausibly positive human face with which to portray Palin. Other people who dealt with Geoffrey during the book’s composition have shared their delight in dealing with his persistent questions and hilarious stories. There’s a sense of empathy in Dunn’s assessment of Palin’s trajectory:
Let me note that Palin HAD a decent shot of winning the GOP nomination, but she blew it. She was gifted with the instant celebrity that went with her selection by McCain–and celebrity now plays a role in the election of a president–and she had a solid brand that stood squarely in opposition to Obama. She is the anti-Obama, if you will. But she has blown it both tactically and strategically over the past two years. She can’t put an organization together. She is absolutely dysfunctional. And she is a pathological liar, so she can’t keep her story straight. Palin had it all handed to her–and her various pathologies have brought her down. It would be a Greek tragedy if she weren’t such a farce and a lightweight. Her fall is a Shakespearean comedy.
And she has fallen.
I’ve been asked several times to write music about Palin – an opera, a musical comedy, a song or an overture. The closest I’ve come to latching onto an idea has been something that would encompass what Dunn describes in his comment above – an overture mimicking some of the great Shakespearean comedy musical themes, emphasising the farcical aspects of her “lightweight” personality. Unlike my imaginary overture, though, Dunn’s book promises to be unsparing, if empathic:
One of the things that really pissed me off early on in the Palin campaign was her latching on to the “special needs” issue because of her son, Trig. As you know, I have a so-called “special needs” child, and the thought of Palin serving in any way as a spokesperson for special needs kids or for families with special needs kids made my stomach turn. She has never walked the walk. Ever. In fact, I wrote a piece about it for the Chronicle and it was picked up all over the country. So I suppose that was an early impetus.
Then when she began rattling off about “death panels” in respect to Obama’s health care reform I hit the roof. It was a flat-out lie. As a survivor of very advanced and very aggressive colon cancer, I’ve had to deal with end-of-life decisions; I’ve had first-hand experience. You want to know who the death panels are? They’re the medical insurance companies that prevented me from getting a colonoscopy before I turned 50, even though I had moderate symptoms. So I lost several body parts to the death panels. And I had to deal with my father’s death in a VA hospital because he didn’t have proper end-of-life counseling. Sarah Palin has never dealt with anything like that. My father had an old Navy phrase that fits her to a “T.” I will refrain from using it.
I’m looking forward to all these Palin books. I haven’t read any of the ones published so far. Who knows whether Bailey will find a publisher? His looks by far the least promising. Dunn’s certainly looks very interesting. McGinniss has the capability and connections to write the book that finally nails the silver stake into the heart of the nutty Sarah Palin cult. But – again – as Dunn and many of us have observed – the cult is already in its death rattles.
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