Monday, October 6, 2008
Sarah, Sarah, Why You Buggin' 3? Maybe 4? I Can't Remember.
From the Times Online:
Shallow, fake... Sarah Palin is beyond parody
The kid-glove treatment of the Republican vice-presidential candidate is an insult to women
By Martin Samuel
There is a time when it is necessary to take the gloves off and that time is right now, said Sarah Palin in Colorado. Interesting that she did not want the gloves off before her vice-presidential debate with Joe Biden. Oh, gloves on then. Headgear, too. Maybe some of those big shoulder pads that quarter-backs wear; and throw cushions for a softer landing. In fact, Palin and her minders could not have demanded a safer arena for debate when the opposition was within striking distance. Biden appeared with his hands tied, his intellect muted, his manner subdued, lest he should seem smarter, better informed or more competent than his opponent, a move which was inexplicably deemed undesirable. This shows how far we have come. Intelligence is now viewed as a threat. Isn't that how Pol Pot operated?
Meanwhile, the Republican lobby put pressure on the debate moderator not to go heavy on foreign policy, perhaps fearing that Palin would repeat her view that experience in this area was linked to proximity to a coastline, and expectations were lowered so that just avoiding intellectual humiliation would be seen as victory. And it worked. She got the name of the Nato commander in Afghanistan wrong and Biden smiled politely. She pronounced nuclear the same way that Homer Simpson does and he had to find it charming. She failed to answer direct questions, while advancing a carefully moulded image as a straight-talking maverick, and it went unquestioned. Now, from a safe distance, Palin wants the gloves off. Of course she does, with no chance of instant scrutiny.
Palin is the queen of misinformation, delivered with faux folksiness as authentic as a three- dollar bill. She is not the pitbull in lipstick of popular myth; she is Deputy Dawg with a forked tongue, engaged in a war against intelligence. Those falling for this act are her collateral damage. Barack Obama did not pal around with terrorists. He did not vote to increase the tax burden on families making $42,000 a year, or vote 94 times to increase taxes. Palin's statements on these subjects are not a reality bulletin from Main Street, Wasilla. Palin's statements are lies. Madeline Albright did not speak of a place in Hell reserved for women who do not support other women. Palin misquoted her. Albright said help, not support. And there is no such place as Hell.
Even so, for those American women who worry that they risk damnation if they don't vote the Republican ticket, it should be explained that eternity with a pitchfork impaled in your rear is still preferable to a vote for a politician who aided her political career by using her Down's syndrome child to cover her daughter's pregnancy bump. And it is at this point that we need to talk to the Democrat women considering joining Palin's ranks and ask: what the hell is wrong with you? People were imprisoned and trampled to death by horses for this? They marched, they demonstrated, and for what? A vote cast on the basis of a Y chromosome?
You go, girl. Go? Go where? Go to college? Go back to that Republican cramming camp to be told what newspapers to say you read and be fed another set of fake statistics where real knowledge and opinions should be? It is easy to parody Sarah Palin, wrote one commentator last week. No, it isn't. It is near impossible because so much of what she says reads like a satirical script anyway. Tina Fey, the finest Palin imitator, was reduced on Saturday Night Live to using Palin's exact words in response to a question about the bailout package last week, because they were beyond imitation.
“That's what I say that I like every American I am speaking with we're ill about this position that we have been put in where it is the taxpayers looking to bailout, but ultimately what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the healthcare reform that is needed to help shore up our economy, um, helping the, oh, it's got to be all about job creation, too, shoring up our economy and, and putting it back on the right track; so healthcare reform, and reducing taxes and reigning in spending has got to accompany tax reductions and tax relief for Americans and trade we have we got to see trade as opportunity not as, a, a, competitive, um, scary thing, but one in five jobs being created in the trade sector today we, we've got to look at that as more opportunity, all of those things under the umbrella of job creation, this bailout is a part of that.”
Genuine answer from potentially the second most powerful politician in the free world. How can anybody parody that?
Tina Fey is at least attempting to do the job of nailing Palin's shallowness, her falseness, her studied populism and the way the standards and expectations of public debate have been lowered to accommodate her. Yet if there truly were this liberal media elite to which Palin makes constant reference, it would have bounced her out of the building by now. Anyone who thinks Palin's performances since her catastrophic CBS interview have been adequate must also believe the American public are stupid. By any normal yardstick of political discourse - substance, accuracy, coherence - she is a bust.
Against Biden she was judged a success, not on what she said, but on the connection she is believed to have made with a fictional Joe Six-Pack: so those giving the thumbs-up must also believe Americans to be simple suckers for a wink, a dropped “g” on a verb, and the use of the odd folksy phrase. You betcha. Doggone it. She's a bump on a log. Darn right.