No Questions For Palin???

by: Paul Rosenberg

Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 11:08


Ooops! Written 2 hours ago as a draft diary.  I DO have something more to say than Matt did.

Questions, schmestions!  Nicole Wallace of the McCain campaign asks why Palin should talk to the press, when she can talk to the American people?

Jay Carney, dumped on by Wallace, is not so sure:

It's important to them [the American people] to know if Palin can handle herself in an environment that isn't controlled and sanitized by campaign image makers and message mavens. Maybe she can, maybe she can't. As far as Wallace is concerned, it's none of their -- or your -- business.

Remember back in the Dark Ages of mid-August when being able to give a good speech was grounds for being dismissed as unqualified?

Looks like McCain was right: we do have to catch up with history!

Paul Rosenberg :: No Questions For Palin???
By now, none of this should be the least bit surprising.  Virtually everything the Reps accuse the Democrats of doing was always what they either did, had done, or wanted to do themselves.  This is just Projection 101, the GOP version of Politics 101.

When Ronald Reagan gave speeches that made many Americans choke up with emotions as their jobs were being shipped overseas, that was a sign of strong leadership (not like Jimmy Carter).  And when he didn't know WTF was going on in his own administration that was (a) a sign of strong delegation skills before Iran/Contra (not like Jimmy Carter) and (b) a sure-fire defense against impeachment after Iran/Contra.

And when the media wanted to ask him embarrassing questions--why, it was a sign of how unpatriotic they were!

The Republicans had a long drought after Reagan.  Finding another speaker like him proved difficult.  And--whaddaya know?--so did the criteria for great leadership!   To this very day, I firmly believe that the main reason George H.W. Bush invaded Panama was because he couldn't deliver a sentence, much less a Reaganesque speech.  Words failed him in presenting a credible macho leadership pose.  And so he had to invade small countries.

This explains why he had to invade Iraq as well.  He still couldn't give a decent macho leader speech, so he had to invade another country. But Iraq was no Panama, so he wisely decided to only invade a little bit--kick them out of Kuwait, and chase the troops out into the desert. No sense risking trouble with a full-fledged invasion.

Well, along came a Democrat, name of Bill Clinton, who could talk up a storm, and not only that, he knew stuff, too!  Been to Oxford, even.  This was pretty hard for the GOP to take.

But then they found their own Bill Clinton, a guy named Newt--who sounded like he could give a spirited speech, intellectual, too.  Until you realized he was like the guy yakking about Marshall McLuhan in line behind Woody Allen in Annie Hall.  But he was still a great leader anyway, because he constantly told us so.  Until he lead the charge to impeach Clinton, and ended up with an egg facial.

Which lead us to Bush II.  Still couldn't finish a sentence half the time, but had the good sense not to try all that often.  Just gave reporters nick-names, and small scraps of food when they stood on their hind legs.

That worked really well, despite 9/11 and a failed war, until Terri Schiavo, Cindy Sheehan and Hurricane Katrina combined to steal his bag of food scraps,  He was never the same.

Finally comes Barack Obama, and now we're firmly 180 degrees from Reagansville. Giving speeches that millions of Americans respond to is now irrelevent to leadership capacity.  In fact--even though he's been editor of the Harvard Law Revoew, it really means that he's just a vacuous Hollywood celebrity, like, oh, well, Ronald Reagan back in the 1940s.

Until the GOP comes up with Sarah Palin.  Then, suddeny we're back in Reaganland again, where giving a rousing speech means never having to say you're sorry, even if every word you said was a lie.

A reformer with earmarks. Booyah!

This all goes back to the three kinds of reasoning I first talked about in "Terri Schiavo: We're Too Smart!":

  • Sequential thinkers reason "by tracking the world," recognize regularities in sequences of events, but have no abstract understanding of cause and effect.  The world they perceive is a world of appearances that has very little organization to it beyond the recurrence of sequences.

  • Linear thinkers understand cause and effect, limited to a one-direction, one-cause/one-effect model.  The world they perceive has logical order and structure, but the structure is invariably hierarchical, causality flows top-down, and the world is divided neatly into cause and effect.

  • Systematic thinkers understand multi-faceted, multi-linear cause and effect, with mutual cause-and-effect relationships between different elements.  The world they perceive is primarily a world of systems and relationships, rather than objects.
There are additional features of sequential thinking, such as:
  • The notion of causality, e.g. that events are caused by necessary and sufficient preconditions, does not play a salient role in the sequential mind. Events transpire, without much interpretation of how they come about. The attention is occupied by one item at a time, and there is little spontaneous effort to relate them to other items or to a general context.

  • The sequential thinker is not really aware that the world may appear differently to other people, and he or she has therefore a limited ability to take the perspective of others.

  • Sequential thinking involves conceptual relations that "are synthetic without being analytic.  They join events together but the union forged is not subject to any conceptual dissection." Because such relations are non-rational, there is nothing rational one can say or do to change them. (Sound familiar?)

  • But they can change, based on changing appearances. These relationships "are mutable," they can either be extended, based on "share[d] recognized overlapping events" (connections provided by Limbaugh, O'Lielly, etc.) or changed, when the sequence does not play out as expected.  Because it is a pre-logical mode of thought, "the relations of sequential thought engender expectations, but do not create subjective standards of normal or necessary relations between events."  People who think this way can be quite unbothered by a lack of consistency. To the contrary, their arbitrary embrace of one contradictory claim after another will seem perfectly normal, while insistence on logical consistency--bracketing Palin's speechifying  the same way as Obama's, for example--can seem arbitrary and unfair to them.

So, welcome to the funhouse world of sequential thinking folks!  This is the dreamworld terrain on which the GOP intends to fight this campaign.  Indweed, it's dreamworld terrain on which they've been fighting pretty much since 1929, with a bit of a brief interlude during the Eisenhower years.  This is where the GOP--on a national level, at least--has virtually always lived.  It's their home turf.  They know every nook and crannie.

And, like any dreamworld, things turn into their exact opposites in the twinkling of an eye.  Demogogery is eloquence. Truth is lies. The past is the future.  Corruption is reform. Authoritarianism is libertarianism.

You have been warned.  No questions asked. Or answered.


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Palin (4.00 / 2)
I think the soap opera of her life is already a spent currency. It will not be interesting after few repeats which bound to happen during 2008 campaign. This is not a story of heroism that carries respect even if it is not interesting after a while. As she said  this is the story of an ordinary family. Is McCains POW credentials as effective as when it was disclosed the first time? Apart from that she is not very rich. She doesn't have a rich dady and she is not from an electorally important state. So I don't think she is a viable candidate on her own. Of course she could be coached to perform reasonably during the debates but that is the extent of it. I also think  Joe Biden  should be very delicate in handling her during the debates and avoid a direct attack. Instead he should use his attack skills directly at McCain.

Trooper-Gate (0.00 / 0)
Right now, they don't want to give any oxygen to any of the real scandals, most of all Trooper-Gate, which seriously could get her impeached, and possibly even land her in prisoner, unless political pressure can get it squashed.

The cover-up and stonewalling strategies she's using are pure Nixon/Bush.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


[ Parent ]
We need to start comparing her to Cheney (0.00 / 0)
Everyone loathes him and she is behaving like she'll be just another Cheney.

And Biden better start his debate prep now.  Get the murder boards running.  Biden needs to demolish her with a big smile on his face.


[ Parent ]
Only thing she needs from Cheney is the combination to the Bunker (4.00 / 1)
Otherwise, she's got his act down pat (sans cuss words and scowling).


"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."


[ Parent ]
Speaking of 'not rich,' does anyone else (0.00 / 0)
find it odd that the only records of Palin's political donations at OpenSecrets come to a grand total of $628? (And what kinda donation is $328, anyway? Odd sum.) That's since 1994, I think.



[ Parent ]
Victory/Surrender (0.00 / 0)
Obama has been for quite some time trying to move the idea along of setting a specific "Timeline" for getting out of Iraq. So, in all of that time, he has been accused of promoting surrendering to the enemy and losing the "WOT".

Now - mostly I think due to pressures placed upon Iraqi politicians in Iraq by an overwhelming number of the people of Iraq - the Bush administration has been boxed in and basically forced to agree - or at least pretend to agree - to what might be called a "Timeline" for getting out of Iraq. Wingers are now calling that 'Closing in on "VICTORY" in Iraq.

Is that a form of sequential thinking?  


Pretty Much (0.00 / 0)
Dealing with things in terms of appearance, without analyzing them is characteristic of sequential thinking.  Readily switching from one appearance (timeline as defeat) to another (timeline as victory) is symptomatic of sequential thinking in two ways.

First, there is no real thought involved in either case, merely an association of one thing (the timeline) with another (victory or defeat, neither of which, btw, is defined).

Second, the two appearances are logically incompatible, but the sequential thinker doesn't compare them logically, because they can't.  Logic requires a level of coginitive development they haven't attained.  

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


[ Parent ]
No need to talk to the M$M (4.00 / 2)
If Palin wants to "talk to America" - let her hold a couple of unscripted Town Hall meetings that are open to the public.


"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."


For 5 1/2 Years John McCain Couldn't Go To ANY Town Halls (4.00 / 1)
He was in prison!

Sarah who?

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


[ Parent ]
Seriously, this could be an opening, I think (0.00 / 0)
McCain has challenged Obama to joint Town Hall meetings and I think the time is right to take him up on that offer...

...as long as Biden and Palin do the same.  They can even compromise on the "open" format, as each campaign can invite people.

If McCain/Palin turn him down - so much the better.

"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."


[ Parent ]
I Agree 100% (0.00 / 0)
Hence the super-snarky response.

Because if your suggestion were put squarely to the McCain/Palin campaign, what else could they say?

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


[ Parent ]
I'm getting used to your snark :) (0.00 / 0)
I don't see how the McCain/Palin campaign could spin their way out of it.  The worst case would be another "flip/flop" accusation tossed at Obama because he would have been against joint town halls before he was for them, but that's a pretty weak attack, even to sequential thinkers.


"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."


[ Parent ]
They Wouldn't Spin Their Way Out (4.00 / 1)
They'd bluster.  Which is fine.  We just want to make them bluster for as long as possible, in the most high-profile manner possible.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
how to react to palin (4.00 / 1)
i suggest that the obama campaign portray the vp pick just for what it is, not a woman, or fresh face, but someone that by her own executive past shows no respect for the rule of law or bipartisanship and uses her power to hurt her opponents just as the bush admin has done for the last eight years, and since thats the way mccain wants to govern, he wants a soul mate like him a heart beat away.

i don't believe the american public wants a government that has an anti-democratic view of america and doesn't respect the constitution, unless it suits its narrow view of partisan politics, its obvious gov palin is just the vp to carry on the bush/cheney agenda alongside of sen mccain.

as gov palin stonewalls an investigation into her executive credentials, we get a birds eye view of her governing style and we need no scripted answers from her to confuse the issue, the truth will set the american voter free to vote against four more years of partisan and criminal governing by the gop and their anti-democratic supporters and political insiders.


talking (4.00 / 1)
we should probably tell the McCain campaign that there is a difference between "talking to" and "talking at". scripted speeches and refusal to answer to the media and citizenry isn't "talking to", it's telling them how it's going to be.

Thinkers (0.00 / 0)
Of course, there is nothing to prevent systematic thinkers from understanding that sequential thinkers make up a large part of the electorate.  I'd even argue, and I assume you agree, that Democrats need to do a better job selling themselves to this demographic.  Only, you know, honestly.

[Systematic thinking sucks btw.  I, for one, rarely feel I have enough information to form a solid opinion, given all the complexities out there.  Also, I find for every X amount of knowledge I gain, I discover X^2 knowledge out there I've yet to learn.  My understanding of my ignorance grows exponentially with my linear learning.  Se la vie.]


Go Read My Original Diary To See My Thoughts (0.00 / 0)
About reaching sequential thinkers, since we're basically agreed on this, and I'd welcome further ideas.  I've thought about it a lot more since then, of course.  But it's a good start.

As for systematic thinking, The very reasoning you give about 'why it sucks' is, in fact, an example of it--which I take as intentional, but it's only part of the story, no?  Getting the wheat is always harder than getting rid of the chaff, but both are vitally important.

And if we can collectively get rid of the chaff, and eliminate it from our public discourse, then the odds for sound public policy increase dramatically, more on the order of 2^X than X^2.  I likes them odds.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


[ Parent ]
Thoughts (0.00 / 0)
Your link, btw, points to openleft when it should point to mydd.  Here is the real link.

I get linear thinkers, but sequential thinkers are trickier.  For linear thinkers you really want a story.  For fun, I often read Jane Espenson's blog where she describes how to write a bet spec script.  The details are completely different, of course, but I often think the art of screen writing could actually apply to politics.  

What's your A plot?  B?

How do you demonstrate who the characters are?

I think campaigns should come up with caricatures both candidates, positives and negatives, and figure out how to demonstrate those traits through story and narrative.  

I think a campaign should even actively push negatives for their own candidate and positives for the opposition.  The idea is to occupy that space first, control the narrative.  Your own negatives don't really matter (messy desk, bad with names, whatever) nor do your opponents positives (nice dog?).

Now that I think of it, I suspect much of this will work with sequential thinkers as well, who still believe what they see more than what they are told.


[ Parent ]
Narratives Are Much MORE For Sequential Thinkers (0.00 / 0)
Your last paragrph is where you hit paydirt.  The narrative approach works with everyone to some extent, since we build out higher-order thinking on lower-order foundations.  But where it is most effective, because there really isn't anything else, is with the sequential thinkers.

The linear thinkers are suckers for "the surge worked" sort of narrative, which cuts out all the other things that were happening simultaneously or even beforehand--most notably, the wind-down in ethnic cleansing, because most of it had already been accomplished, and the bribing of the "Awakening Councils."

Fixed the link, thanks.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


[ Parent ]
Yes, it is quite an epistemological dilemma! (0.00 / 0)
"Also, I find for every X amount of knowledge I gain, I discover X^2 knowledge out there I've yet to learn.  My understanding of my ignorance grows exponentially with my linear learning."

Yes, it is quite an epistemological dilemma!  


[ Parent ]
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