Although I’ve been following the Palin fiasco each day, I hadn’t planned on blogging about it. Mostly it’s been for my own personal daily dose of humor. I thought about it a bit when Rania began blogging about her last month. But now the anticipation of the vice presidential debate has pushed me over the edge. That and Tina Fey’s HI-larious spoof of Palin on Saturday Night Live. (If you have not watched this video, click on this link. It is unreal.)
I’ve been dying to see the debate tonight between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin. Mostly for its entertainment value. I’ve been subjected to these little “first person” opinion pieces on Al Jazeera where they let one American narrate why they support a particular candidate. This one features a woman who says she was a democrat, but now because Hillary Clinton is not a nominee she’s voting for McCain. Why? Because Palin is a woman. Since when does having a vagina make one more qualified to lead a country? (Let us not forget the dangerous policies of Margaret Thatcher, Golda Meir, Benazir Bhutto to name a few women who made the world a worse place.) Feminism does not mean supporting a woman because she’s a woman. Feminism is an ideology that Americans like to water down to the lowest common denominator. Palin is no more a feminist than Clinton is; both have retrograde politics that actually serve to harm women. If you want to see a real feminist politician Cynthia McKinney and her vice presidential running mate Rosa Clemente are your candidates. Anyway here is American moron #1:
The McCain campaign, tacitly acknowledging how out of her depth she’ll be no matter how many all-nighters she pulls, demanded – and, shockingly, got – special modifications to the VP debate format so that there would be no follow-up questions. After all, it wouldn’t be right to expect Palin to compete on normal terms with Joe Biden, who has the totally unfair advantage of being deeply versed in domestic and foreign policy and knowing how the world’s business is done. Lower standards for potential leaders of the world’s most powerful country, in the name of diversity. That’s what Republicans stand for now.
Is it not too much to expect that a person a heart beat away from the presidency speak the language of her country proficiently? On Palin’s linguistic deficiencies:
I began to notice the problem during Palin’s interview with Charlie Gibson – not coincidentally, her first major unscripted foray into the public speaking realm. When Gibson asked her whether she agreed with the Bush doctrine – and then had to explain to her what it was – she replied: “If there is legitimate and enough intelligence that tells us that a strike is imminent against American people, we have every right to defend our country.” Even to the untrained ear that sentence sounds awkward. “Legitimate and enough”? It can’t possibly be elitist to suggest that “legitimate and sufficient” would have come off as more literate.
That particular question in the Gibson interview was also horrifying to watch with respect to her inability to answer a simple question about U.S. policy. You can watch the interview and Palin’s incoherent bumbling about on Huffington Post. But the question of Pakistan struck me in ways that seem to differ from others. On the Huffington Post, for instance, and in other places people focus on her straying from McCain’s position on invading Pakistan. (I think this is why McCain had to chaperon Palin on a second Katie Couric interview later.) But what struck me was that Gibson had to ask her two or three times what Palin thought about invading Pakistan. Her answer was so completely incoherent that even Gibson finally said, “let me finish. I got lost in a blizzard of words there,” and then he asked her to give a simple yes or now answer. She didn’t. Or couldn’t. I’m thinking that she believes if she throws enough words around together in a big whirlwind she will be able to bullshit her way through an answer. And in spite of this: mish ma’oul! another American moron on Al Jazeera actually said “she’s articulate.” I kid you not.
For those of you who have not seen the interview with Katie Couric, here are a few highlights, accompanied by commentary from the Young Turks, which is also worth a chuckle. There are three videos. The first shows us that Palin doesn’t read any newspapers–and not only that: she cannot name any!:
The second one appears to show that Palin endorses Hamas victory when they were democratically elected in Palestine–not something I have trouble with, to be sure, but certainly something that puts her at odds with McCain not to mention most elected American officials:
The third one shows that she has no knowledge of any Supreme Court cases aside from Row v. Wade:
Perhaps average Americans can’t name Supreme Court cases either, but the point Palin is running for Vice President. Here is a starter kit for those “average” moronic Americans who want someone to lead them who is “just like them”:
For my British readers, let me explain something. Een mai cahntree, the supreme court has a particular aura and lore. One learns about the court as a schoolchild. A special tone of reverence often creeps into teacher’s voice. If nothing else one is taught pretty early and pretty thoroughly the following: Marbury v Madison (1803) set the precedent of judicial review; the Dred Scott decision (1857) upheld slavery; Plessy v Ferguson (1896) upheld segregation; and Brown v Board of Education (1954) ended it.
For the mildly curious American of Palin’s (and my) generation, round two of supreme court schooling might include United States v Nixon, in which the court unanimously ordered Richard Nixon to turn over the Watergate tapes, which forced Nixon’s resignation; Baker v Carr, which established the principle of one person, one vote; University of California v Bakke, in which the court initially upheld affirmative action; and of course Roe v Wade.
I am not saying that every American knows or should know these eight decisions. Lord knows most Americans probably don’t know how many justices sit on the court (now that I think of it, probably a good question for Palin). But it seems to me not too much to ask that someone who might be the vice-president or even president of the United States should know them, and many more important court decisions.
As a result of this supreme incompetence, even conservative columnists are now asking for Palin to bow out. Kathleen Parker writes:
Palin’s recent interviews with Charles Gibson, Sean Hannity and now Katie Couric have all revealed an attractive, earnest, confident candidate. Who Is Clearly Out Of Her League.
No one hates saying that more than I do. Like so many women, I’ve been pulling for Palin, wishing her the best, hoping she will perform brilliantly. I’ve also noticed that I watch her interviews with the held breath of an anxious parent, my finger poised over the mute button in case it gets too painful. Unfortunately, it often does. My cringe reflex is exhausted.
Palin filibusters. She repeats words, filling space with deadwood. Cut the verbiage and there’s not much content there. Here’s but one example of many from her interview with Hannity:
“Well, there is a danger in allowing some obsessive partisanship to get into the issue that we’re talking about today. And that’s something that John McCain, too, his track record, proving that he can work both sides of the aisle, he can surpass the partisanship that must be surpassed to deal with an issue like this.”
When Couric pointed to polls showing that the financial crisis had boosted Obama’s numbers, Palin blustered wordily: “I’m not looking at poll numbers. What I think Americans at the end of the day are going to be able to go back and look at track records and see who’s more apt to be talking about solutions and wishing for and hoping for solutions for some opportunity to change, and who’s actually done it?”
If BS were currency, Palin could bail out Wall Street herself.
Mrs. Palin’s fans say they like her specifically because she’s an outsider, not part of the Washington club. When she flubs during interviews, they identify with that, too. “You see the lack of polish, we applaud it,” one reader wrote.
Of course, there’s a difference between a lack of polish and a lack of coherence. Some of Mrs. Palin’s interview responses can’t even be critiqued on their merits because they’re so nonsensical. But even that is someone else’s fault, say Mrs. Palin’s supporters. The media make her uncomfortable.
Or it’s the fault of those slick politicos who are overmanaging her.
“Let Sarah be Sarah” has become the latest rallying cry among my colleagues on the right. She’ll be fine if we just leave her alone, they say. Between prayers, I might add.
This issue of who is a Washington insider or who is a political elite among the media and voters interviewed on television is disturbing. These are the American morons I keep finding on Al Jazeera. They say things like “I like her, she is a mom just like me.” No, she’s a moron just like you. Since when do we want someone who is “just like us” to be the head of state. She’s not running for prom queen. She’s running for the second most important office in the nation. Why is it that these moronic Americans think that to be coherent, intelligent, well-read is a deficiency when running for the White House? We’ve had eight years of that, do we really want 4 more?
What’s the proper term to use to categorize a person who is … blindly patriotic, jingoist, an evangelical Christian creationist, gun and hunting enthusiast, National Rifle Association supporter; denies the science behind global warming, with a philosophy of “dig, dig, dig”, and in foreign policy: “bomb”, “bomb”, “bomb”; untraveled, uneducated, ignorant, a devoted book-banner, racist, opposed to equal rights for gays, fanatically anti-abortion, anti-feminist, and has a 17-year-old daughter pregnant and unmarried?
The proper American term is “white trash”. Or, as the honorable governor of Alaska apparently prefers, “redneck” — “Rouge cou” is what she called a business she registered.
And what do you call the person if on top of all that she declares in the year 2008 that Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9-11 and that “a surge in Afghanistan also will lead us to victory there as it has proven to have done in Iraq”? The proper term is “scary” or perhaps “scary moron”.
And what do you think of this person when you learn that she believes that the war in Iraq is a “task that is from God”? I think this is actually a form of insanity. There are people in institutions all over the world charged with killing others, who insist that they were acting under God’s command.
And if the above is not enough to make you fall in love with the woman, consider that she believes that humans coexisted with dinosaurs 6,000 years ago; and have a look at a video of the vice-president/president-to-be undergoing an exorcism performed by a minister to free her body from “witches”.6 When we consider the flak that Barack Obama received because his minister is not in love with US foreign policy, imagine what Palin will get for having a minister who performs witch exorcism. Nothing.
Palin complained in her incoherent interview with Couric that she has never met a head of state, but she somehow thought this was a feather in her cap because she is a Washington outsider. This is also called a lack of experience–something people were saying about Obama until Palin came along. But with the United Nations General Assembly meeting last week she had the opportunity to meet foreign heads of state. After her meeting with Hamid Karzai, he told Al Jazeera that she was “capable.” Hmm…what does that tell us about Karzai?:
The Alaskan governor held brief meetings with Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, and Alvaro Uribe, Colombia’s president, in New York on Tuesday.
“I found her a capable woman. She had the right questions on Afghanistan. She was concerned and she said how she can help,” Karzai said after the meeting at a Manhattan hotel.
Karzai and Palin discussed security problems in Afghanistan, including cross-border attacks from fighters in Pakistan and the need for more US troops in Afghanistan.
Zadari’s greeting to the Alaskan governor at their meeting at the UN headquarters in New York – described as “overly-friendly” by the Christian Science Monitor - has earned him a fatwa from some of Pakistan’s radical Muslims.
Benazir Bhutto’s widower tells Alaska’s first woman that she is “even more gorgeous in life” and says he can see why “America is crazy about you”. But what really got radical clerics backs up was his comment that he might hug the Moose-hunting governor if his aide insists hard enough.
For Palin, the incident appears to have confirmed jokes that her meet-and-greet sessions with world leaders at the UN were “speed dating” diplomacy.
But Zadari faces much harsher condemnation for his conduct. His remarks managed to unite both hardline Islamic leaders and Pakistani feminists in condemnation.
One radical Muslim prayer leader said the president shamed the nation with his “indecent gestures, filthy remarks, and repeated praise of a non-Muslim lady wearing a short skirt.” Meanwhile, Tahira Abdullah, a member of Pakistan’s Women’s Action Forum, criticised the president for failing to show decorum and behave like a “mourning widower”.
President Shimon Peres met Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin Thursday and the two exchanged some warm words. Peres was on hand to deliver a speech at an international conference organized by former United States President Bill Clinton.
Upon meeting the Israeli president Palin told him she has wanted to meet him and get to know him for years. She added that the only flag in her office, aside from the American flag, is the Israeli flag, stressing that she wants Israelis to know that she’s been a longtime friend of the Jewish state, and will remain such.
The outrage meter is not high here. It’s obligatory. I’m sure she believes it. I’m sure she’s as Zionist as the rest of them. But then again, aside from Nader and McKinney, what candidate isn’t? But like all right-wing evangelical Christians in the U.S., that enduring support for the Zionist state is usually coupled with anti-Semitism. Apparently, her church in Alaska is host to various anti-Semitic speakers:
Imagine, for a moment, that Obama had a similar record. Imagine that he joined a preacher onstage right after that preacher had spoken about “Israelite” control of the financial sector. Imagine that he had won his first local election against a man with a Jewish-sounding last name amid suggestions that his opponent wasn’t really a Christian. Imagine that he had sat in church this summer and listened without protest to a sermon blaming Israel’s agonies on the country’s adherence to Judaism. All this would likely have resulted in something near hysteria among both the professional media and the demagogues of talk radio.
Yet on Palin, the self-appointed defenders of American Jewry have been fairly quiet. That’s because, when it comes to the chosen people, those on the left are held to very different standards than those on the right. Palin, like many right-wing evangelicals, is wildly hawkish on Israel, and in American politics, that’s seen as synonymous with friendliness toward the Jewish people. Yet as Pat Robertson and many others have proven, promoting antisemitic conspiracy theories is not incompatible with fanatical Zionism. Palin would, in all likelihood, be an ally of that messianic fringe of the Jewish community determined to thwart any possibility of peace with the Middle East. That doesn’t mean her candidacy shouldn’t give other American Jews real reason to worry.
Of course, everyone who is supporting Palin is waving their feminist flags (though if I could control the feminist club they would never be allowed in in the first place). Gloria Steinem puts it this way:
Here’s the good news: Women have become so politically powerful that even the anti-feminist right wing — the folks with a headlock on the Republican Party — are trying to appease the gender gap with a first-ever female vice president. We owe this to women — and to many men too — who have picketed, gone on hunger strikes or confronted violence at the polls so women can vote. We owe it to Shirley Chisholm, who first took the “white-male-only” sign off the White House, and to Hillary Rodham Clinton, who hung in there through ridicule and misogyny to win 18 million votes.
But here is even better news: It won’t work. This isn’t the first time a boss has picked an unqualified woman just because she agrees with him and opposes everything most other women want and need. Feminism has never been about getting a job for one woman. It’s about making life more fair for women everywhere. It’s not about a piece of the existing pie; there are too many of us for that. It’s about baking a new pie.
White privilege is being able to sing a song about bombing Iran and still be viewed as a sober and rational statesman, with the maturity to be president, while being black and suggesting that the U.S. should speak with other nations, even when we have disagreements with them, makes you dangerously naive and immature.
White privilege is being able to say that you hate “gooks” and “will always hate them,” and yet, you aren’t a racist because, ya know, you were a POW, so you’re entitled to your hatred, while being black and noting that black anger about racism is understandable, given the history of your country, makes you a dangerous bigot.
White privilege is being able to claim your experience as a POW has anything at all to do with your fitness for president, while being black and experiencing racism and an absent father is apparently among the “lesser adversities” faced by other politicians, as Sarah Palin explained in her convention speech.
And finally, white privilege is the only thing that could possibly allow someone to become president when he has voted with George W. Bush 90 percent of the time, even as unemployment is skyrocketing, people are losing their homes, inflation is rising, and the U.S. is increasingly isolated from world opinion, just because white voters aren’t sure about that whole “change” thing. Ya know, it’s just too vague and ill-defined, unlike, say, four more years of the same, which is very concrete and certain…
White privilege is, in short, the problem.
Bill Maher called Palin a bimbo on his show “Real Time” last week. It’s an interesting discussion of Palin with Ralph Nader as one of the guests. Nader takes offense at Maher’s characterization of Palin as a “bimbo.” Nader says it’s sexist; Maher says it’s not and names off men he’d call a bimbo too. Just a point of correction, here, though: a bibmo is a specifically gendered word: “an attractive but empty-headed young woman, esp. one perceived as a willing sex object.” That’s the Oxford English Dictionary’s definition. Empty-headed, yes. Sex object, god, I hope not.