Sarah Palin and Colbert's White House Correspondent's Dinner

by: Matt Stoller

Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 16:06


I've had two big realizations this cycle, and both have to do with gender and the progressive movement.  The first happened during the Obama/Clinton primary, when a good number of both male and (to a lesser extent) female Obama supporters referred to Clinton as a bitch and just generally exposed themselves as misogynistic assholes.  I was surprised at the level of vitriole towards her, expressed in such charming statements as 'It's not that she's a woman, I just can't stand her voice.'  Subsequently I saw this sentiment ding a lot of great progressive female candidates who were not Hillary Clinton.  It should be obvious at this point that there is no substantial difference between Clinton and Obama on an ideological level.  In Obama's recent interview with Bill O'Reilly (oh yeah, he did one of those), the very first question was 'Do you believe there's a war on terror', to which Obama pliantly and politely cried out 'Absolutely'.
Matt Stoller :: Sarah Palin and Colbert's White House Correspondent's Dinner
So that was part one of a disillusioning experience towards the progressive space.  But the reaction to Sarah Palin has been another education.  I watched the speech with my girlfriend, who heard from all her friends that it was terrible.  I actually read a lot of the commentary before I read the speech, so I expected a blood and guts partisan red meat angry tirade.  And I saw one, only it was Giuliani up there relishing a quasi-fascist rally of organized hatred towards liberals.

When Palin came on, I saw an incredibly charming and hilarious performer, who expressed a secure sense of mockery towards Democratic leaders and a down home sense of self.  She's obviously an alpha girl in the mean girl high school sense, but she's also extraordinarily bright and grounded in a conservative view of the world.  She's tough and accomplished and that can't be denied.  What her accomplishments are should be debated, since much of them involves high oil prices, corruption, and a white Christian dominionist view of the world (as Bruce Wilson makes clear).  But that she is a powerful political figure who has appeal can't be denied.

And yet that's what I saw among many progressives who told me how awful Palin is and how she isn't taking care of her family or any such crap.  I felt like I was among insiders during Stephen Colbert's white house correspondent's dinner, insiders that insisted he wasn't funny because they were the butt of his jokes and they couldn't see it.  

She was great.  And she's a strong politician we must take seriously, or else she's going to be our President.  And frankly, it's about time we have a strong woman in high office.  I would just hope it's not a female Nixon.


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In other words ... (4.00 / 4)
"it's not about issues, it's about personalities."

"And she's a strong politician we must take seriously, or else she's going to be our President." (4.00 / 3)
Funny, I thought the opponent was John McCain. Sigh.

mccain (4.00 / 3)
will die in office.

[ Parent ]
literally a one in six chance. (0.00 / 0)
roll the die!

[ Parent ]
I was mildly thankful for her speech (4.00 / 2)
Thankfully, the Republicans' recycling of the speech prepared for someone else undercut in its 2nd portion the enormously appealing right wing populist I saw in the first part of the speech.

They had much more of an opportunity to use Palin's skills and crossover appeal -- as they still do, but I'm talking about that speech -- but I breathed a sigh of relief that she went for base crazy nut world and frightened off Democrat-leaning independents, given the strengths of what her speech had been building toward.

But she is the best thing to have come along in my lifetime for the hard right wing evangelical populists.

And she is indeed a powerful, accomplished politician, exactly like Tom Delay was powerful and accomplished, and like Newt Gingrich was powerful and accomplished, and like Dick Armey was powerful and accomplished, and like Jesse Helms was powerful and accomplished.


No one said she wasn't skilled or personable (4.00 / 4)
I know I wasn't alone among observers who, the first time we heard Palin, knew she was a talented speaker, appealing person and skilled politician.  We merely focused on her pedigree, her qualifications and the decision-making process of McCain.

At this point, I am sick to death of Palin and hope that Obama mostly takes the approach of ignoring her altogether. McCain is the opponent and the enemy, not her.


Bullshit (4.00 / 6)
Strong politicians don't have to hide from the press. Absurd.

and what will you have to say (4.00 / 2)
when she does finally emerge from her cocoon in a couple of weeks (with suitably lowered expectations) and swats the softball questions of the mainstream media out of the park?

If we want her to face the media - we have to rip the halo off her lying little head ourselves.  Don't count on the media to do it.

sTiVo's rule: Just because YOU "wouldn't put it past 'em" doesn't prove that THEY did it.


[ Parent ]
"..lying little head..." (0.00 / 0)
Thank you for demonstrating Matt's point.

[ Parent ]
which word are you objecting to? (0.00 / 0)
and I'm agreeing with Matt.

sTiVo's rule: Just because YOU "wouldn't put it past 'em" doesn't prove that THEY did it.

[ Parent ]
Why is our side not pushing (0.00 / 0)
"so let me get this straight: McCain is saying she's ready to be president but not ready to be interviewed? How does that work, exactly?"

[ Parent ]
My parents, who are sort of right-leaning secular nativist independents, (4.00 / 2)
who voted for Perot twice, but expressed total revulsion at voting for either Gore or Kerry, were quite turned off by the tone of both Guliani and Palin.  I think people played up how extreme Palin was, and she certainly helped herself (especially with the post-speech metacommentary) but there are certainly swing voters that were turned off by her.

Aaarrgghhh! (4.00 / 3)
The more time we spend worrying about Palin, and endlessly debating "is she or isn't she?" themes, the less time we will have to actually do the work necessary to elect the Obama/Biden ticket.

Let's just assume she's formidable, bright, cutthroat, talented, etc., and move on to the business of getting Obama into the White House.

In the spirit of "physician heal thyself," I'm going to take the hour I normally spend on Sunday evenings looking at blogs, and instead use one of the great tools at mybarackobama.com (in this case, the one for contacting and assessing seldom-voting Dems in my neighborhood) to help Obama get elected.

Our team is better; but, the more time we spend spinning our wheels and gnashing our teeth about the dangerous, deadly Palin, the more we'll start to believe their hype that we can't win.


I actually wonder if the focus on Palin isn't a good (4.00 / 3)
thing for Obama/Biden.

If the election is a referendum on 'are you comfortable with a President Obama', the R's might scare enough people with race and 'otherness' so they win.

If the election is a referendum on 'are you comfortable with a President Palin', that's far tougher for them. And also means they're not just villifying Obama.  


[ Parent ]
Good point (0.00 / 0)
Are we ready for more of the same only much worse?

[ Parent ]
that's not how it will work - it will be a choice between (0.00 / 0)
an attractive folksy white woman and a charismatic handsome slightly overintellectual pragmatic Black man?

Sorry, I think centrist, young, charismatic Obama vs. doddering, fake, fringe McCain is more of a winner.

More pertinently, turning the referendum into whether Americans want Sarah Palin to be President will feed into exactly what Matt is talking about.  There's no reason to stoop to something like that - on principle or pragmatics.


[ Parent ]
Palin=the real empty pantsuit celebrity (0.00 / 0)
You know what she is? She's a real political celebrity. She has no record of any substance other than taking her small town deep into debt, no views on almost any issue other than bringing more pork to Alaska, nothing at all really except the ability to transmit a fraudulent hockey mom image of herself to audiences while delivering snarky negative attacks. Colbert is more qualified to be vice president than she is.

well it is (0.00 / 0)
But that's a trap, a repeat of the low expectations trap we fell into prior to her big speech.

[ Parent ]
This is fairly odd. (4.00 / 3)
We can as confidently say that Palin is extraordinarily bright and tough as we can say that she's weak-minded and empty-headed (though an excellent performer).

We've no idea. Maybe others are privy to more information that I , but her personal abilities at anything other than speech-reading are completely unknown to me. Her record seems weak--starting the sports stadium before securing the land--and her political ability appears unimpressive--telling obvious and easily-debunked lies about the Bridge to Nowhere.

We just don't know if she's tough. Nobody's denying she's appealing to some. People are denying she's qualified.

And if you're gonna talk about what some people or 'many progressives' say, give links. Otherwise you're arguing with yourself.


it all fits (0.00 / 0)
She's clearly bright and tough in a political sense (hence her speedy ascent to the top of the GOP) AND weak-minded and empty-headed (hence her stances on the issues). In other words, she is a W-style Republican.  

[ Parent ]
Matt is 100% right (4.00 / 3)
but too many on our side don't understand the difference between good and bad attacks, between our own reactions to political events and those of the general public.

Today's polls should be a wakeup call.

The problem is there have been too many attacks on Palin.  The family-based, sex-based, pregnancy-based ones have all been counterproductive and have allowed the substantive ones to be eclipsed.

Then there have been the stupid attacks like obsessing about the green screen and other inside jokes.  What a fricking waste of time.

There are still several promising lines of attack that haven't been touched yet, and hopefully the campaign will wake up and use them.  By now it's too late to inject these into free media - they will have to spend money on ads to do so.

These lines of attack involve non-sexy things like lying - about non-sexy stuff like pork barrel spending.  They all adhere to the strategy enunciated by Karl Rove - hit them where they're strong - except that in our case they happen to be true.  And their advantage compared to the sex-based crap is they can't turn it around against us.

But our side can't use these tactics if we don't know and understand the opposition's strength.  I thank Matt for this post, a much-needed dose of reality.

sTiVo's rule: Just because YOU "wouldn't put it past 'em" doesn't prove that THEY did it.


I agree that many on our side can't (4.00 / 8)
tell 'good' from 'bad' attacks. I disagree that 'good' (ie, effective) attacks are substantive and issue-based. They're not. They're substantive and personality-based. You attack the strength of the personality, not the issue. You turn a war hero into a war coward, etc.

John McCain is not a war hero. He's a war victim. Instead of saying how much we esteem his service, we should saw how very, very sorry we are for all that he suffered, and how terribly that must've damaged him. I really am sorry for both of those things, but they don't make him a hero. He's a victim. It's a terrible thing. We're very sorry. But being abused by torturers is not a qualification to be president.

Sarah Palin is not an honest reformer, she's a corrupt liar. The proof is low-hanging fruit--it's everywhere. Pork barrel or earmarks or troopers or whatever: the specifics aren't as important (though talk about a target rich environment) as the conclusions. She's a corrupt liar.

And anyone who's shocked that the Republicans got a convention bounce is dreaming. That's why they have conventions.

And again, what prominent lefties are pushing the sex-based attacks? There's a lot of finger-pointing here,  but not a lot of linking.


[ Parent ]
I didn't say that good attacks are issue-based. (4.00 / 2)
I did say, they aren't sex-based.  That's a minefield we shouldn't go near.

I also said that attacks on McCain/Palin as LIARS are good ones, and the one example I cited above is both an attack on character (lying is a character issue) and an attack on the very issues McCain/Palin have staked out as their own.  McCain and Palin contradict each other and step all over the hardest fought thematic territory of the campaign - reform.  

If an ad like that one is not on TV in the next couple of days, the Obama campaign is missing a huge, and hugely important opportunity.  Not often do you get a chance to attack an opponent at their point of strength - and most of the comments here indicate a general lack of understanding of this.

sTiVo's rule: Just because YOU "wouldn't put it past 'em" doesn't prove that THEY did it.


[ Parent ]
Oh. Yeah. I'm about (4.00 / 1)
as hot-heated and half-cocked as McCain, these days. Looks like we agree. I hate when that happens.

[ Parent ]
This Is Just Excellent, IMHO: (4.00 / 4)
John McCain is not a war hero. He's a war victim. Instead of saying how much we esteem his service, we should saw how very, very sorry we are for all that he suffered, and how terribly that must've damaged him. I really am sorry for both of those things, but they don't make him a hero. He's a victim. It's a terrible thing. We're very sorry. But being abused by torturers is not a qualification to be president.

What's more it can be used to segue into a substantive issue attack--and thereby carry more potency than issue attacks alone--to wit: We should do our best to make sure that no future John McCains suffer that sort of fate needlessly.  We really do need to see war as a last resort, because those of us making the decisions are not the ones paying the price. Unfortunately, this simple lesson is one that McCain himself does not seem to have learned.

"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 ]
he learned it but then (0.00 / 0)
he betrayed everything he learned. Once upon a time he voted against wars and invasions, now he stands for endless foreign occupation and bomb bomb Iran. Once upon a time he was against the torture they used on him in Vietnam, now he votes for the Bush position on torture.

[ Parent ]
Hey everyone read Joel (0.00 / 0)
He has it right.

[ Parent ]
Obama wasn't "pliant" (4.00 / 1)
Thank God Obama knows how to speak to different audiences and doesn't try to talk over their heads or around their phrases.  When Bill O'Reilly asks if there is a War on Terror what his audience takes that to mean is simply are there terrorists trying to kill us and what he is trying to do is trick Obama into progressive wordplay which differentiates between conventional War and police/intelligence action which will fly right past his audience and allow O'Reilly to call him naive and weak.  When Obama responded "Absolutely" he wasn't being pliant and polite, he was being combative and forceful.  And you know what, there are terrorists looking to kill us and that's all that was being asked.  You don't nuance Billo and the Fox audience, or at least you don't if you're looking to swing some of their disaffected audience our way.

Yes, you do (4.00 / 3)
You do not capitulate to O'Reilly. It gives him an opportunity to beat up on your allies on the left when they speak plain truth.

You invite the argument. You let him walk right into it, and you slap it down. You tell him he doesn't know what he's talking about. You get in his face. You make it clear that terrorists are criminals, not our enemies in a war. You refuse to back down, when he shouts you tell him to show some respect and shut up and you leave him no way to win the argument except by cutting your mic. You don't have to do nuance, but you don't accept his framing.

That's how you win the winnable bits of the audience. By not backing down, by displays of aggressive machismo and by rubbing O'Reilly's nose in the dirt.

You don't do it by mixing your message to appeal to a supposed "disaffected audience." Because it doesn't exist. It's the Republican base.

Forgotten Countries - a foreign policy-focused blog


[ Parent ]
You don't nuance O'Reilly and the Fox audience (0.00 / 0)
I actually agree with DD2 on this. GWOT may be incorrect in fact and strategy, but to deny it on Fox to a Fox audience walks you smack into a brick wall of ignorance.

There may be a way to "rebrand" the situation with terrorism, but I wouldn't start a new marketing campaign in an interview with Bill O'Reilly.

And, I wish more than anything to wipe is nose in the dirt. But, here he has the power of the editing floor.


[ Parent ]
Wow -- (4.00 / 1)
a genuine insight. But you're sure you don't want to join Open Left Self-Flagellation Fest? Surely you are outraged at how the martyred heroes of the Revolutionary Right are constantly under-appreciated while Obama's deep flaws just keep popping up like pimples on a teenage face? You think you're better than us?

[ Parent ]
Personalities versus Issues (4.00 / 1)
This election has become very simple.    If the election is decided by personalities - we loose.   If the election is decided by the issues - we win.  

Obama, Biden and everyone else has to talking issues, issues, and more issues.    


You have to do both (0.00 / 0)
Talk issues AND rip the halo off her head where you can do so profitably.

sTiVo's rule: Just because YOU "wouldn't put it past 'em" doesn't prove that THEY did it.

[ Parent ]
Not sure that's true... (0.00 / 0)
...Sarah Palin may be colorful, but Obama's still a rock star-like politician who's actually got the issues on his side. We can thank G.W. Bush for that. I've always been kinda optimistic about Obama's chances, and we already know that Dem voter registration is up. Now, I'm not downplaying the GOP grass-roots effort, but I don't see the newly engaged part of the electorate going for McCain strictly on the strength of Palin's charisma. Racial factors notwithstanding, at this political moment the McCain-Palin ticket's disqualifiers outweigh Obama-Biden's.

"This ain't for the underground. This here is for the sun." -Saul Williams

[ Parent ]
We shouldn't underestimate her, but (0.00 / 0)
we also shouldn't be afraid to take her on just because she's a woman.  She's got to be called out relentlessly on the lies and distortions, and the Republican operatives can't be allowed to keep her hidden or to stop the Troopergate investigation.


Huh. (0.00 / 0)
I felt like I was among insiders during Stephen Colbert's white house correspondent's dinner, insiders that insisted he wasn't funny because they were the butt of his jokes and they couldn't see it.  

The "insiders" in this case being "the American people". Huh.

Well I guess we've figured out now who Palin's act is pitched to.


Equality (0.00 / 0)
Bitch is an ugly word, but if we can call Bush a major dick, why can't we call Palin a bitch?

If we're going to scrub our language, we should do it equitably, and in doing so, we'll loose all our best words.


Leave the sex-based crap out it (4.00 / 1)
but rip the halo off her lying head.

Make EFFECTIVE attacks.

It can be done if you understand how other people think.

sTiVo's rule: Just because YOU "wouldn't put it past 'em" doesn't prove that THEY did it.


[ Parent ]
Different Situation (0.00 / 0)
I was asking more generally. If I were canvassing, I would never ever call anyone a bitch, dick, or any dirty word. It would be foolish. And the Obama campaign stresses the importance of no negativity while canvassing anyway. It's supposed to be all about positive statements.

So yeah, I'm not in a position to make attacks anyway, so I'm not worried about that part of it. I'm just asking more generally. If it's so awful to call someone a bitch, then it's equally awful to call someone a dick. And is that really a road we want to go down?


[ Parent ]
It's not equally awful, because our society doesn't stomp on men (4.00 / 4)


[ Parent ]
Doesn't it? (0.00 / 0)
Tell you what, come down South, take a job in a female oriented field like, say, community mental health, and see how quickly you get stomped on if you happen to be a well educated, actively progressive albeit overweight male.

Men get stomped on, too, especially if they try to compete in a heavily female occupation in a heavily GOP area and they're actively and outspokenly Democratic.

You can NEVER justify that sort of generalization. This is the same bs that told us all that if we didn't vote for Hillary we were sexists.

McCain chose this woman on the basis of her appeal to the nutwad right, THE most outspokenly misogynistic and anti-female part of our society. Her adherence to the fundie code is fair game, and that includes the Barbie look and act.

IF we let this go, we lose. Plain and simple. The nice guys have lost the past 2 elections because they refuse to use the ammunition provided by the GOP. To win, we must get across to undecided voters that this is a nasty, racist, lying, opportunistic predator who happens to be female.


[ Parent ]
This is not the same generalization (4.00 / 3)
And while I do think that 'dick' is a bad word to use, and gender based slurs are horrible thigns to use, it's not a neat, symmetric system.

I know all about men experiencing discrimination.  I am a relatively effeminate bisexual male.  I got called 'faggot' when I was a teenager.  I had people, male and female, look at me askance when I behaved in a certain way.  I've been afraid of getting assaulted in various circumstances.

but what I went through is much, much less than what almost any woman who I have known well enough to get proper intimacy has expressed to me.  It's not just workplace bullshit.  It's being reminded that you are a woman and that women should behave and appear a certain way for every second of every day.  It's rape jokes.  It's workplace discrimination, it's a pervasive feature of our society.

Don't use sexist slurs against Palin.  It is total, 100% bullshit, and it hurts dems when they talk to women.  Don't call Bush a dick.  Be more mature.  That applies to both cases.  Gendered attacks are bad.  But 'bitch' is much, much worse than 'dick'


[ Parent ]
And why does it stomp? (4.00 / 2)
Because society views that as a feminine field and for a man to work in such a field is therefore unmasculine. And an unmasculine man is viewed by society as eminently stompable.

That's a patriarchal society. That's a society where the stomping, even if done by women, comes out of a fundamentally male-dominant playbook.

Forgotten Countries - a foreign policy-focused blog


[ Parent ]
"IF we let this go, we lose. Plain and simple." (0.00 / 0)
I have the exact opposite view. Obama is gonna lose if we don't drop this and fast.  

[ Parent ]
Bullshit squared (4.00 / 2)
An accomplished lucky and dangerous politician to be sure, if that is your point, and not one it is wise to underestimate. But get the stars out of your eyes, Matt. Women tend to "get" her a lot quicker than men, not being mesmerized by the cute factor. Snap out of it, and start getting to work taking her down.

I believe you've got it... (0.00 / 1)
I couldn't for the life of me figure out why Matt would blather on so about this very ordinary wingnut pol. You hit upon the simple solution: he's got a hard on.

[ Parent ]
Re: Charming and Hilarious (4.00 / 2)
I saw an incredibly charming and hilarious performer, who expressed a secure sense of mockery towards Democratic leaders and a down home sense of self.

You really thought she was charming and hilarious? She was charming only if you weren't listening to what she was saying.  She was hilarious only if you agreed with what she was saying.  Excuse me for not finding her belittling of community organizing and progressive values as neither charming nor hilarious.


Good God, people (0.00 / 0)
Matt is talking about how she quite evidently appeared to large chunks of the voting public - not to himself.

sTiVo's rule: Just because YOU "wouldn't put it past 'em" doesn't prove that THEY did it.

The pronoun "I" (0.00 / 0)
I take the usage of the pronoun "I" to mean "I," as in "I saw an incredibly charming and hilarious performer.." where "I" is the writer, in this case Stoller.

Stoller was quite clearly referring to his own reaction. Please don't try to excuse him.
__________________________________________


[ Parent ]
I'm not excusing him (0.00 / 0)
I'm defending him.

His point is that we shouldn't confuse our own personal reactions with those of the public at large, who, if polls can be believed, have had pretty much the reactions Matt DESCRIBES.

I can't believe you can't see this.

sTiVo's rule: Just because YOU "wouldn't put it past 'em" doesn't prove that THEY did it.


[ Parent ]
why do you think Matt was talking about (0.00 / 0)
how other people view Palin?  When he says "When Palin came on, I saw an incredibly charming and hilarious performer," he's not saying "I saw what other people take to be an incredibly charming and hilarious performer."

[ Parent ]
Irony, my friend (0.00 / 0)
Irony

sTiVo's rule: Just because YOU "wouldn't put it past 'em" doesn't prove that THEY did it.

[ Parent ]
when I guess he's just a lot smarter than (0.00 / 0)
a lot of people in this threat.  So what exactly is his point here?  That she is a politician who we should "take seriously?"  Or was he being ironical about that too?

[ Parent ]
Irony? (0.00 / 0)
Funny how when one can no longer justify a statement, he suddenly decides it was "irony" or a "joke."

[ Parent ]
I apologize for the word "irony" here. (0.00 / 0)
I was being flip and "irony" isn't really what I meant to say.

Let me be more serious.

Matt was quite obviously removing HIMSELF and his own opinions of Palin from this evaluation of her.  This is actually a very useful exercise for anyone trying to achieve anything in politics.  He was judging Palin not as a human being and not judging her politics, but judging her effectiveness as a candidate.

There is truth to be gleaned from this.  If we can't do this, and continue to confuse the filters of our own political opinions with the opinions of the general public then we can't evaluate the situation and what needs to be done.

sTiVo's rule: Just because YOU "wouldn't put it past 'em" doesn't prove that THEY did it.


[ Parent ]
Good point. (4.00 / 2)
Subsequently I saw this sentiment ding a lot of great progressive female candidates who were not Hillary Clinton. 

Exactly.

Once sexism and misogyny are acceptable, they hurt all women (and all men.)   Which is why progressive feminists have found themselves in the bizarre position of defending Sarah Palin over the last few days.



John McCain thinks we haven't spent enough time in Iraq

An incredibly boneheaded post (4.00 / 8)
So, Palin's underhanded, nasty zingers show her to be a "charming and hilarious performer," "extraordinarily bright," "tough and accomplished" and her performance is similar to Colbert's White House Correspondent's Dinner performance.

You know, sometimes I'll read something so boneheaded in a blog I frequent and enjoy, from a writer that I usually respect, that it's enough to convince me that I shouldn't bother with any future posts from this particular writer. This is one of those posts.

Did Stoller actually pay attention at what Palin said, and who she made fun of? Colbert afflicted the powerful and stupid, his targets where politicians and our media and their cozy, incestuous relationship. Palin's speech was little more than a Republican culture attack on the "elitist" liberals -- and especially Obama -- who look down on the real Americans (who invariably live in small towns and not gay San Francisco), and have the audacity to try and help their neighborhoods as community organizers. Palin's humor is the sort you expect from a schoolyard bully, and the only people she tried to afflict are the powerless and well-meaning. Schoolyard bullies are not funny.

The truly ironic thing, as Stoller presumably knows, is that Palin's speech wasn't hers, but was actually written before she was picked, was modified somewhat -- since they expected a man to be picked as VP, the speech was reportedly too "masculine" -- and the only thing she did was to put on lipstick and to serve it. Since she agreed to deliver RNC's generic nastiness, that should tell us something about her integrity, but nothing else about her talent, intelligence, accomplishments or wit. She can read a teleprompter competently and confidently, and with glee. But that's it. How Stoller inferred so much from a single speech made up of manufactured insults is a mystery.  
__________________________________________


Agree wholeheartedly (4.00 / 1)
Talk about a tin ear. The Daily Kos gang get it and are in overdrive working her over. The woman is dangerous -- who would have thought McCain would put the hard right this close to ultimate power? But this is a moment that had to come, either that or put up with these wingers running society forever. Pick a fight, like Chris says. Well, this is the fight of our lives and the base is growing and all over it, whatever happens in November.

[ Parent ]
Pot party? (0.00 / 0)
I'm thinkin' our Partisan Overlords are out having a pot party somewhere while typing up a storm what with this post and Sirota's, below.

"Hey man, know what? Sarah Palin is just like Colbert!"

"Wow man, that's really deep. You should write that down."

[protracted silence]

"Hey man, I'm past all the partisan bullshit, man. Just realized there's a big problem about means and ends."

"Deep, man. You should write that down."

"Hey man, look at the rug -- it's just like this really big forest except there's no branches on the trees and it's blue. I'm really hungry."

Don't bogart the joint, guys.


[ Parent ]
Thanks for proving my point right to Paul that (4.00 / 1)
the left is becoming distracted and fixated on Palin. You Jeralyn and multiple others seem to have forgotten who is running for President and who isn't.

They are right to be fixated (4.00 / 1)
but don't understand the right way to attack her.

Palin cannot be ignored, but too many of the attack lines miss their mark.

sTiVo's rule: Just because YOU "wouldn't put it past 'em" doesn't prove that THEY did it.


[ Parent ]
and the best attack lines (0.00 / 0)
attack both of them.

Hate to keep blowing my own horn but people aren't being specific enough.  There are attacks and attacks.

sTiVo's rule: Just because YOU "wouldn't put it past 'em" doesn't prove that THEY did it.


[ Parent ]
The attacks aren't the problem (0.00 / 0)
the probem is do they lead to the thing upon which voters will decide this race. If voters decide races based on VP nominations, fine. But, is that the case? If not, then why has the prepoderance of discussion been about Palin. I think this is more reflective of things other than winning the race for presidency. That's my concern.

[ Parent ]
Has McCain actually suffered any kind of hit since Obama finished up at Mile High? (0.00 / 0)
If he has I can't remember it. And that was ten days ago. We are on the verge of losing this unless we shift gears and pronto.  

[ Parent ]
It's not about the the VP pick (0.00 / 0)
It's about the reformer narrative, which they now seem to own.

Obama was completely on the defensive today.  Did you see him on Stephanopoulos?  Now the definition of reformer is how often you took on your own party.  Total bullshit, but we haven't made a dent in the reformer theme that they erected and which should be easily demolished.

sTiVo's rule: Just because YOU "wouldn't put it past 'em" doesn't prove that THEY did it.


[ Parent ]
Judging from last week (0.00 / 0)
Sarah Palin is running for President and John McCain isn't. His own party has forgotten him and moved on.

Whether the Democrats should accept the switch-out, or pretend that John McCain is still the one running for President, is not clear to me.


[ Parent ]
It maybe unclear to you,b ut it's clear to the voters (0.00 / 0)


[ Parent ]
People don't vote for VP (4.00 / 1)
The ABC polling confirmed it. I think Palin is the very reason McCain has moved ahead but not because she is attracting voters to his ticket but because he is getting away with his maverick stick because nobody is calling him on it. Attention is elsewhere on somebody who is only going to make a difference at the margins. This is so sad because it was obvious straight away and people fell for it hook, line and sinker.

[ Parent ]
Good point (0.00 / 0)
As I said above, it's NOT about the VP pick.  It's about the reformer narrative McCain was allowed to cement with this pick because our side has been woefully inept about demolishing an easily demolishable narrative.

And as I've said many times above, there is a way to do it.

sTiVo's rule: Just because YOU "wouldn't put it past 'em" doesn't prove that THEY did it.


[ Parent ]
Not really (0.00 / 0)
Reagan came after Jimmy Carter.  

She certainly helps the ticket so far, but so far she has been 100% managed by speeches.  

She should give an incentive to work harder though.  And focus on McCain, not Palin.

The liberal wiki
Send an email to terra@liberalwiki.com


How can you know all of this based on one speech? (0.00 / 0)
I guess she had you at hello.

John McCain doesn't care about Vets.



Polls (0.00 / 0)
that's how.

Looks like "hiding from the press" hasn't hurt her a bit.

sTiVo's rule: Just because YOU "wouldn't put it past 'em" doesn't prove that THEY did it.


[ Parent ]
The polls show this? (0.00 / 0)
"she's also extraordinarily bright and grounded in a conservative view of the world.  She's tough and accomplished and that can't be denied"?

John McCain doesn't care about Vets.



[ Parent ]
I've been hoping against hope it wasn't so (0.00 / 0)
but the polls now appear to show us slightly behind.

McCain/Palin have been able to inject a totally bogus character narrative into the dialog and nothing the Obama camp has done thus far has been able to shake it.  Their response thus far has been confused and half-hearted.

I still maintain this narrative can be demolished, but time is running out.  If it is not demolished, but ignored, we're in trouble.

This is the most important narrative of the campaign.  That fact needs to be understood and that narrative needs to be demolished.

That's how I see it.

sTiVo's rule: Just because YOU "wouldn't put it past 'em" doesn't prove that THEY did it.


[ Parent ]
It needs attending to, (0.00 / 0)
but time is not running out. The drumbeat of reality about Palin and McCain will keep going and the soap opera won't work any longer. Stuff that's all image and emotion just doesn't have staying power when there's no there there. People respond to novelty, and then get sick of it. I predict a strong turning away from McCain-Palin over the next 3-4 weeks.

I think we overlearned the lessons of 2000 and 2004. Unlike our candidates then, Obama is not coasting and he is not confused. Some of his policy disappoints me, but so far he's been head and shoulders better at campaigning than Gore or Kerry were. The worst thing we can do is panic every time there's a bump in the polls. If McCain gets a bump that lasts through the debates, then I'll start to worry a lot. But I don't think Obama's gonna let that happen.


[ Parent ]
If he comes out with some negative ads (0.00 / 0)
that address the issues I am insisting need addressing, then I will be happy.  I've been guilty of underestimating the campaign before.

So far, I haven't seen any signs of an effective response to the Palin nomination.  That doesn't mean there isn't one coming, but I just don't know one way or the other.

It needs to come soon.  Palin will not fall of her own accord.  And if she's allowed to stand unbloodied, McCain wins.

sTiVo's rule: Just because YOU "wouldn't put it past 'em" doesn't prove that THEY did it.


[ Parent ]
There was very minor movement the day after her speech (0.00 / 0)
The bump is all coming from the two days following the McCain speech which supports the contention that this incessant focus is completely misdirected.

[ Parent ]
Again, I'm not talking about a Palin takedown (0.00 / 0)
I'm talking about a McCain/Palin takedown.

There's a difference.  We need to explode the bogus narrative they've been able to erect.

sTiVo's rule: Just because YOU "wouldn't put it past 'em" doesn't prove that THEY did it.


[ Parent ]
Win in 2008 (0.00 / 0)
Matt,

What is your opinion of the best way to win this race, big picture wise.

Also, how would you go about demoralizing the Wingers with 50 days to go?


Can't speak for Matt (0.00 / 0)
but I would follow the Rovian strategy of attacking them at their supposed strong point (which unlike Rove's is okay because the attacks are true).

I won't post a link to what I am talking about since I have already posted too many of them in this thread but you can find them.

sTiVo's rule: Just because YOU "wouldn't put it past 'em" doesn't prove that THEY did it.


[ Parent ]
Tired of the misuse of the word... (4.00 / 1)
There were some shitty things said on both sides of the aisle, but WAY too often have I seen you and many Clinton supporters throw around Misogynist way too casually on personal clinton attacks, in the same casual way that many Obama supporters threw around the term racist at any Obama criticism that was a personal attack.

Misogyny is an UGLY UGLY thing and there were definately some Obama supporters guilty of it as there were some Clinton supporters guilty of racism... an equally ugly thing.   But to say that someone saying Clinton was a bitch is misogynistic is utter bullshit.

Misogyny is defined as the hatred of women.  The use of the word bitch in a fit of emotion or anger does not mean one hates all women.... just as the use of a racial slur doesn't necessarily make one a racist.  They might hate THAT woman in particular or are mad in general.   Granted, this doesn't make it RIGHT or acceptable.  Its still wrong to do... but to keep overusing and overgeneralizing behavior as misogyny is wrong as well.  Not every comment means someone is sexist, misogynistic, racist, misandric (which is the equivalent of misogyny except with men instead of women.)   These people are insensitive... maybe even biased racially or genderwise... but Misogyny is a whole lot higher of a level to bring it too.  

After all, can you look in the mirror and claim that you ave never made a predjudiced, biased or insensitive comment in frustration or anger as what happens with human nature... because I have to call bullshit if you claim the answer is no.    


Human Nature (0.00 / 0)
Firstly, Sarah Palin is Pat Buchanan in a skirt!

Now that is out of the way I'd like to address "misogynistic assholes."  Chris, if I say I don't like your voice, hey it's guy-to-guy thing, no problem, or let's step outside.  If my wife doesn't like your voice you'd most probably agree with her cause she's cute.  Hillary's voice when she was on the campaign trail was strident to me, and to my wife, like chalk on the blackboard, or my mother, or my wife's grandmother.  What would you like us to say Hillary's strident challenged?

Our reactions to Hillary's voice was human nature, in our case we are anti-stridentiets.  I'm sure there are people that get off listening to chalk on the blackboard.  Eeeeeeee....

Me, my wife, and most of our friends, and relatives, and a lot of peoples reaction to Sarah Palin is visceral.  She pushes multiple buttons on multiple levels.  Look at peoples reaction to her, right, I mean left-here.  I wrote "Let her be" and I was called naive.  Call me a schmuck or a moron but naive is going too far!

Maybe we need to find a new vernacular to express our feelings towards Ms. Palin.  Not wanting to be know as a misogynistic could I compare her to other women. E.g. to me, Sarah Palin is a cross between Lucrezia Borgia and Tokyo Rose.  Or, how about, her voice reminds me of Mrs. Miller singing a melody of Rolling Stones songs.

All right, call me naive but I believe, this election will be close, and ugly, and Barack Obama will be our next President, and Sarah Palin we be known for who she really is.


Um... (0.00 / 0)
Matt wrote this, not Chris.

[ Parent ]
Have you ever called a man's voice "strident"? (4.00 / 1)

Or a referred to a man as "sassy" or "feisty"?

Think about it and what that means. 



John McCain thinks we haven't spent enough time in Iraq

[ Parent ]
Yes on both counts (0.00 / 0)
At the same time, I don't agree with what appears to be your implicit premise that the fact that speakers of the English language commonly use different adjectives to describe negative characteristics of men and women is inherently sexist or misogynist.

[ Parent ]
What about "uppity"? (4.00 / 1)

Is it okay when blacks are called "uppity"? 

When certain negative adjectives are only or overwhelmingly used to describe a minority, it isn't just coincidence.  Language has meaning.  



John McCain thinks we haven't spent enough time in Iraq

[ Parent ]
are you joking? (0.00 / 0)
"slut" "playa"
"ditz" "flighty"
"bitch" "aggressive"
"spinster" "single"

It's not the ONLY part of sexism or misogyny and speech policing is, often, really unuseful, but helpful pointers are good.  As a male person, I can say that having this reminded to me has  been useful in looking at my own thoughts and how I express them and what effect they might have.  It doesn't make me a feminist or perfect, but it helps.


[ Parent ]
What I don't like about this diary (4.00 / 1)
First of all, this diary seems to be geared at ripping open the wounds of the primaries-at a time when we need to be fighting the far right. There isn't any way  to systematically debunk this without going back and documenting the he said she said.

Yet the premise-that Obama's campaign was sexist in nature is based on a lot of unsourced generalizations about male and female Obama supporters.

Also, as has become fairly typical of many of Hillary's supporters, the word "sexism" gets thrown around with no realy effort to define it and to apply it systematically. And of course it ignores the McCarthyist and racist elements of Hillary's campaign. It also ignores the way in which the Hillary campaign used gender stereotyping to stigmatize Obama. One of Obama's problems right now is that Hillary legitimized long standing right wing memes about people who use their brain in politics and helped to paint them as "elitist", "effete" "not tough enough", "out of touch".

Sarah Palin has now benefited from the rise of victimization and identity politics. So what we have seen thus far in her campaign is a willingness to deploy political correcntess against Obama and the Democrats having no way to come back on it.

I think we should take Palin very seriously and recognize her for the danger she is.

Maybe we can start by stopping with the double standard that seems to now preclude female politicians from having to squarely face the issues.


And one other thing... (4.00 / 2)
Hating her speech and thinking she sucked is not misogyny.... its opinion.  I didn't like her delivery, nor her cadence and thought she was a mediocre speaker.  It has nothing to do with the fact that she's a woman, as I would say she sucked if she was a man.  So lets stop mking that insinuation as you come off extremely ignorant when you do so Matt... You liked it, fine that's your opinion.  I thought she was a mediocre speaker, again, My opinion.  

As for the taking care of the family, Some people thrust a gender specific role in there... and yes they should be taken to task.  My feeling is ONE of the parents should be home with the kids or at least be more actively involved, especially with a special needs new born.  From everything printed, between a Governor and now VP and a husband who is high up in the Oil industry albeit in a field position, who is at home with the kids.  

I have no problem with nannies, I have no issues with two parents working as many people can't afford to NOT have them working.   But if you are going to throw out your family values as one of your qualities and reasons you should be elected, then the parents roles and times at home become a factor.  It bugged me greatly to hear that she was back in the Governor office 3 days after the last childs birth... and by all accounts Dad was back at work too.   I question both their parenting skills... it has nothing to do with her gender and EVERYTHING to do with the stories I keep hearing... Back at work 3 days after having a special needs baby, daughter pregnant, other examples of poor judgement.  All of its relevant to a party who claims their opponents aren't good family people and responsible for the destruction of the family.


This is definitely a culture thing (4.00 / 1)
Her cadence and style plays to a certain kind of audience. Her entire speech, demeanor, delivery-everything grated on me. And it's not just that I disagree with her philosophy. I have heard people I disagree with strenuously give speeches and been able to concede they had a valid point or two (Palin made none) and that they had a persuasive delivery (I didn't think Palin didn't).

[ Parent ]
Agreed (0.00 / 0)
Romney for example. Now that is a slick dude. Slimy in fact but during the GOP debates I found myself agreeing with him too much for my liking.

[ Parent ]
Larvae (0.00 / 0)
If she is Nixon then she is Nixon in a cocoon and doesn't have the credibility of experience to make her own decisions.  

I you want health care, work hard. If you want universal health care, vote for liberals.

I love all the ridiculous rules (4.00 / 2)
We have bought into from the Clinton primary that now apply to Sarah.

If I say Rudy voice annoys me. Its clear I'm speaking merely of his voice.  If i say the same of Sarah Palins I'm a sexist.

If i think John Edwards is a jerk for not having his family life in order before he jumped back into politics, I'm speaking truth.  If i say the same of Sarah I'm a sexist.

I think the real sexism is how so many people have bought into the victim frame for female politicians.


This is part of the reasoning behind McCain's choice (4.00 / 1)
He  knew based on the primary he could count on a) a certain segment of the progressive community to eat its own for saying anything untoward about Palin and b) that there is a certain segment of women who will vote for Palin because she is a woman without caring whether she is anti-women in policy. Personality and character and identity politics drives a lot of politics, including much of what you see on the blogs. Think about it. during hte primry and even after you had a lot of people swearing either Obama or Clinton weree these super duper progressives and that the other person was supporting a centrist. Both sides were projecting because a lining of clinton and obama on the issues found litlte or not differences. Unfortunately, this is the American electorate. Lazy and somewhat stupid. People don't like to say that becuase its not nice, but its actually the truth. Last weeks convention by the GOp ws insulting to the American publics intelligence, but the american public ate it up because being the dumbes tin the room is considered a virtue.

[ Parent ]
I don't think it's either or (4.00 / 2)
She was absolutely great: poised, charismatic, and a great speaker.

But she was also a Heather. Particularly when she sneeringly went after the Community Organizer thing.

For me, at least--and for a lot of other people--being a great Heather really makes her repulsive, for a lot of visceral reasons.

My feeling has been that--for those that the Heather thing works, which includes most of the Republican base (and for Chris Matthews), it was brilliant. Historic.

But for those who have a real visceral reaction against the entire structure of power of Heathers, it was terrible. For those who recognize this kind of person, the sneers were every bit as bad as Giliani--perhaps worse, because he's a buffoon, and she's not.

I've seen a lot of people talk about the politics of resentment--and the Republicans are definitely trying to stoke it--but I think it backfires for a great deal of people only because she's such an archetypal example of the people many of resented as adolescents.


Gotta disagree with you here, Matt (4.00 / 3)
My view is closer to that of Judith Warner:

http://warner.blogs.nytimes.co...

I don't think the speech was particularly well delivered. But I also think that her nomination says something about the GOP. That they're not interested in ideas, or bettering the nation, or making sure they have the best people for the job. It's the same story we've seen for the last 8 years. They're interested in winning. They'll do what it takes. That they've been success at this game is an interesting lesson, but it's also not a lesson I'd be willing to apply to a political party or movement I'm a part of.

This is where I agree with you. Just as Bush was radically underestimated as a candidate, I think Palin will be too. And this would be a mistake. But what you say, Matt, seems to suggest that we should respect her ("She was great"). I don't think we should. I think we should take it as more of the same. Yes, she may be a good campaigner. And yes, we should think seriously about how to engage her. But no, I'm not willing to respect her.

I think it's an insult the American people and our political process more generally that someone like her is offered as a viable candidate for the presidential office. Again, I'm with Warner.  


Yeah. (0.00 / 0)
She did a creditable job of reading somebody else's speech. That makes her "great"??? I'm really sick of the reverse sexism among the self-hating left. If she were male the story would have been, What the hell is McCain thinking? But apparently she must be deified because she overcame her feminine handicaps and managed to read a speech and get a roomful of hardcore Republicans excited. Unlike McCain.

[ Parent ]
Just playing devil's advocate .. (0.00 / 0)
They're interested in winning. They'll do what it takes. That they've been success at this game is an interesting lesson, but it's also not a lesson I'd be willing to apply to a political party or movement I'm a part of.

what if they win again this year? .. their problem is .. they don't give a shit about actually governing .. when are people going to realize negative campaigning works .. and that you can't play nice with Republicans?


[ Parent ]
Here's the thing (4.00 / 1)
When Palin came on, I saw an incredibly charming and hilarious performer, who expressed a secure sense of mockery towards Democratic leaders and a down home sense of self.  She's obviously an alpha girl in the mean girl high school sense, but she's also extraordinarily bright and grounded in a conservative view of the world.  She's tough and accomplished and that can't be denied.  What her accomplishments are should be debated, since much of them involves high oil prices, corruption, and a white Christian dominionist view of the world (as Bruce Wilson makes clear).  But that she is a powerful political figure who has appeal can't be denied.

And yet that's what I saw among many progressives who told me how awful Palin is and how she isn't taking care of her family or any such crap.  I felt like I was among insiders during Stephen Colbert's white house correspondent's dinner, insiders that insisted he wasn't funny because they were the butt of his jokes and they couldn't see it.

I agree that she is being subjected to misogyny (as are probably most women in America, particularly the higher up you go). I also agree that she may be far more competent as a politician than most people give her credit for - she beat an incumbent and a former governor to win the governorship.  Certainly the speech was effective in some ways and she energized their base.  She also served on the Oil and Gas Commission (which I hope someone does some digging into) in addition to her small town mayorship.

What is more challenging (for me, anyway) is that she feeds into a lot of stereotypes about women and other disempowered groups (which makes sense - she's who the people who reinforce and create these stereotype nominated).  She's competent, but she IS a beneficiary of the "soft bigotry of low expectations" - that's the POINT evern.  She DOES have minimal qualifications and ability for the position she's been appointed to.  Her views actually ARE profoundly extreme and even frightening.  And she DOES seem to have strange personal choices even though it's really none of my business (so I make it none and remain silent on those issues where i think it's weird).

But i think there are ways around using a sexist frame to talk about her -- and first and foremost it's to do what we've been avoiding for so long - to have a real debate about feminism and what it means and discuss this candidacy in that context.  And if this candidacy can produce that, God Bless It.  Because if we (continue to) avoid it, we're going to f@#k up - not just on principle, but in practice in terms of how much Obama wins or loses the election by and in the long run for how the Democratic party and the progressive left in general relates to women.

Secondly, she's not running for President (except indirectly - which I think is the McCain strategy in part - if you want change and something different here it is.)  So let's make this campaign about the doddering old fool and his friends not about her.  It seems to be among the last few hail maries they have left, and if we let them use it to win, it would be saddening.


Jesus (4.00 / 1)
Would you please stop with the "Hillary was victimized" and "the Obama supporters are so mean and sexist" crap. Get. The. $%^#. Over. It.

Move on!


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