A Middle Ground

I second the opinion aired by co-blogger and best friend Dan that Andrew Sullivan's Palin obsession is a bit unseemly. From the vehemence of his anger and name-calling to his self-congratulation about how absolutely brave and resolute he is to keep at this story to his excessive fondness for Levi Johnston - one leaves his blog with the unsettled, slightly guilty and slightly disgusted feeling one has after avidly reading a celebrity magazine.

That said, Damon Linker takes it a step too far also when he suggests that we simply ignore Palin. She might not be as popular were she not criticized as much by members of the media, but she would be popular. Ignoring people until they leave you alone doesn't work with bullies and it won't work with Sarah Palin. She is a potent political force. And criticism of her can be effective. Look at her approval ratings before and after Tina Fey's devastating impression of her.

Sullivan is right that she lies. He is right that she is incurious and unfit for office. I actually do think, as I've said before, that her pregnancy story, even taken at face value, says something about her fitness to serve, and should be explored. (For the record, I think her daughter's pregnancy, and her daughter's choice of sex partner, does not say anything about Sarah Palin's fitness to serve.) One can point out her falsehoods without insisting she is a pathological liar or that she's delusional. One can point out the oddnesses in her pregnancy story without speculating about a grand conspiracy. One can point out her tendency not to take responsibility, her lack of knowledge, her apparent impulsiveness without histrionics.

With humor, and a bit of exaggeration for effect, Tina Fey merely pointed to what was becoming obvious about Sarah Palin. With a few questions, Katie Couric exposed the gaps in Palin's knowledge. Both were effective at exposing Sarah Palin, without ignoring her, hurling invective at her, or making unfounded speculations about her.


  1. Interesting. By the end of the post, I had the impression this critique could be about President Obama as well. It's all there: the impulsiveness (police "acting stupidly", backtracking on KSM's guilt), the lack of knowledge (especially economics), the deflection of responsibility, the out and out lies. So I'm happy to see the beginnings of critical humor and a few fast pitch questions for the President by the MSM. Now if only they had tried exposing his weaknesses before the election...

  2. Gadfly, if you think the level of impulsiveness displayed in ill-chosen sentences is JUST AS BAD as up and leaving one's post as governeor with no word to supporters, if you think Obama's (a con law professor!) lack of knowledge is JUST AS SEVERE as Palin's (who thought Africa was a country), then I doubt we could agree on enough premises where I could disabuse you of any notion.

  3. I think Mr. Obama doesn't know shit from shinola, to be blunt. He thought Austrian was a language, if we are going to start comparing embarrassing gaffes, and there are plenty more. More importantly, he can't be bothered to learn how to greet Heads of State. He thinks the stock market is analogous to a tracking poll, for deity's sake. He has ZERO executive chops; his inner team has effed up appointment after appointment. He implored Congress to pass RationCare because "people are dying", but if military personnel are dying on the battlefield, then he has to reevaluate his reevaluation and toss out the recommendations of his handpicked general on the scene. His "smart diplomacy" has set the Palestinian Arab/Israeli peace prospects back years. He offended Poland when he appeased Russia, and Russia gave him nothing in return. His Iran secret negotiation policy is in tatters. The man is a foreign policy buffoon and an incompetent chief executive. But he reads a good speech. Just don't ask him, ahhh, to ahhh, uhhhh, actually, you know, ahhhh, think on, ummmm, his, ummm, and this isn't about me, ummm, his feet.

    Yes, Sarah "I resign" Palin could not have effed up so much so fast had she been elected President. There is no real comparison between the two; Ms. Palin ran a State for two years with seemingly reasonable competency. Mr. Obama can't keep the smallest commitment he made on the campaign trail. Ms. Palin's book was ghostwritten, a fact she freely acknowledges. Mr. Obama wrote his two books like Jack Kennedy wrote "Profiles in Courage."

    I don't like Mr. Obama. Please, though, feel free to disabuse me of the facts I've given above, if you can. I am always willing to reconsider when given rational argument.

  4. I will merely concur with Elizabeth, John. If you honestly think Sarah Palin would be doing a more creditable job as president than Obama is doing, I suspect our worldviews are too dissimilar to support meaningful dialogue.

  5. In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not. In theory, a Harvard Law grad ought to outperform a hockey mom. In practice, it hasn't happened (beyond the lightning-in-a-bottle campaign). Your weltanschauung out to take into account practice rather than simply theory.

    Ms. Palin has actually, you know, run an executive branch of a small US State. She didn't [*(&^%] up the budget, lie through her teeth to get elected, or appoint tax cheats to run finance and a pardon-for-bribe attorney to head law enforcement.

    Mr. Obama hadn't run anything larger than a Seantor's office before this year. As President, he's [*(&^%] up the budget, lied through his teeth to get elected, appointed a tax cheat to run Treasury and a pardon-for-bribe attoney to be AG. Admittedly, he's had more opportunity to go off into the weeds than Ms. Palin. He hasn't missed many chances, though.

    Again, if you dispute any of the facts in evidence (Iran strategy in tatters, Palestinian Arab/Israeli situation going backwards, Russia uncooperative, budget busted, Afghan dithering) feel free to point it out.

    Oh, and GITMO is still hiring! The Feds still use extraordinary rendition, wiretapping, and snoop on library checkouts. But don't worry, Pres. Scary-smart will get around to it. In theory.

  6. Elizabeth & Dan, Thanks, From his comments you have driven GJ over the edge.

  7. Hey, UJ, keep sending in those checks and voting Democratic, and maybe you can get seats at the next big Show Trial (verdict first, trial after) for some terrorist the government will not release regardless of outcome. Found not guilty, but sent back to prison -- man, that's some smart plan from Obama and Holder. I hope you are happy that you put those geniuses in office.

  8. GJ, NEWS FLASH..... Sarah "don't confuse me with facts" Palin while appearing on Sean Hannity confused Iran with Iraq. She did this several times calling for sanctions against Iraq to stop Iran from obtaining nukes. Yea she has about as much brain power as a clam. Now that I think about it I have eaten clams with more intelligence. To any clams out there I apologise for the comparison.