Thursday, September 11, 2008

Bigger than squirrels

Jonah Goldberg is much laughed at in the libosphere, mostly with good cause, because he is a spectacularly dishonest hack. Let's take a look at the latest pack of bullshit he's foisting on an unwary America.

I note when I read this stuff that the big difference between liberal and conservative commentators is that the libs do not need to lie. They don't really need to do a con job, or twist the facts. The facts favour them.

Anyway, to Jonah:

Barack Obama, a famous fan of pickup basketball, must recognize his plight: It's two on one now. John McCain drafted Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the star point guard from the Wasilla Warriors, to double-team Obama.

(McCain's team doesn't care if no one guards Joe Biden, who seems to spend most of his time yelling to the media, "I'm open! I'm open!" But when he gets the ball, all he does is talk about what a great player he is and dribble in place.)

Lie number 1. Biden has been rather lowkey, but I think the Dems were taken by surprise by Palin. She's such an extreme choice, so obviously a terrible pick, that it's tough to know what to say. Biden has focused on McCain, but the media don't want to hear about McCain. They are also aware that any attack on Palin's record, knowledge or suitability for the role will have the Republicans clutch their ankles, dive to the floor and yell for the red card, claiming a foul and invoking the s-word. It was foolish of the Obama campaign to indulge in sexism in their fight against Clinton, and now they're reaping that particular whirlwind. Of course, the idea of Republicans slamming anyone for being sexist is hilarious, but these people have moved far beyond parody.

The media are, as usual, playing in the Republican frame. It's all about Sarah. The Republicans want to make it Palin vs Obama, giving McCain a free ride. He is deeply flawed, and I think would struggle, even in racist America, to beat Obama. But the focus is not on John McCain.

So after the halftime show of the political conventions, to strain the sports metaphor a bit further, it looks as if the change-up in strategy has Team Obama rattled and in danger of choking.

This is true. Obama has become reactive and his campaign is plainly floundering now.

Polls - the closest thing we have to a scoreboard - show that McCain, at least temporarily, has taken the lead. On Tuesday, the Real Clear Politics average of national polls showed McCain ahead by a razor-thin (and statistically meaningless) 2.9 percentage points. The USA Today-Gallup poll had McCain leading by a whopping 10 points among likely voters (and four points among registered voters), though that's almost surely an overstatement.

But when I look around the blogosphere, do I see all those people who said Palin would be terrible for the Republicans eating crow? No, I don't. They don't get it. They are not living in a lovely liberal country. They are living in Appalachia.

The McCain-Palin convention bounce also all but closed the ticket's gender gap. According to Rasmussen Reports, Obama had a 14-point lead among women; now it's three. According to the latest ABC/Washington Post poll, McCain now has a 12-point lead among white women.

Which is incredible, as Cintra Wilson notes. Picking Palin was a slap in the face for women. But they must like it, because they seem to be queueing up to show her love and be slapped again.

Still, there's a lot of pressure on Sarah Barracuda. Called up from the political minors, she could yet wilt under the hot lights. But that's looking less and less likely.

One notes that Ms Palin has yet to be questioned by the press. Can they manage her all the way to November? Will the press catch her offguard?

The other day, she showed her ignorance of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, which was quite breathtaking. It should disqualify her immediately from consideration for a role that could see her become president in the next few years. So one can hope that given the opportunity, she'll fuck up plenty more times, enough that it can't be ignored.

The outrageous attacks on Palin out of the block (She banned books! She opposed family planning education! She's a creationist!) have missed the mark.

Well, not so outrageous. All are true. She asked the Wasilla head librarian whether she could remove books, and when she expressed dissent, tried to sack her. She opposed, and openly opposes, family planning education. She's an avowed creationist.

I mean, wtf. It's "outrageous" to tell the truth, but it's okay to lie? This is the topsy-turvy world Republicans live in.

At this point, I want to note something. Goldberg, and commentators like him, are not the smartest boys in class, but they are not complete idiots. They know that Palin is poison. They are probably caught in a dichotomy: horrified by her but delighted that they could win again because of her.

And the eagerness of the mainstream media to go after her family life has backfired as well.

It has backfired on the media? No, but the myth of the media's being liberal must be maintained. This is aided by McCain--a man who has assiduously courted the media, and had almost entirely positive, often slavering, treatment--pretending that he is battling a corrupt establishment media. Which is hilarious, because the media is corrupt and does represent the establishment, but strongly favours the right.

For instance, Hanna Rosin wrote sneeringly in Slate magazine of Palin's "wreck of a home life." Would Slate say that Obama, conceived out of wedlock to a teen mom, comes from a "wreck" of a family? I somehow doubt it.

This sort of thing is terrible, and the liberal sections of the media have done Obama no favours by wildly speculating about Palin's family. Even if the speculations are true, they are not damaging to her as much as the speculation damages Obama. The people who like Palin simply do not care that she may have lied about her pregnancy. They will even be able to see some dignity in it. And they do not mind bullying a boy into a shotgun wedding. Many people still think that's the right outcome when you bang a girl up.

Palin's more sober critics, mostly on the right, worried that picking her would undermine McCain's claim to "experience."

Which it should have done.

Almost the exact opposite has happened.

Which was predictable. Making this a contest of who has the right experience, when she so plainly is not fit for the job, just makes Obama look "not ready".

He is supremely ready, of course. Of the four people on offer, he is by far the best suited to be president, and the best equipped. BY FAR. In a sane world, judged by sane reasonable people, this wouldn't even be in question.

Thanks to the double-team strategy, Obama has found himself in the awkward position of sounding as if he's running against the GOP's vice presidential nominee.

Which is a large part of the Republican strategy, of course.

When Obama compared his own experience to Palin's tenure as mayor of Wasilla (leaving out her current job as governor), he ran right into the pick the McCain campaign had set, leaving McCain a clearer path to victory.

Very true. Goldberg means 'trap', not 'pick', of course. It's interesting that Goldberg lets slip a truth here: that McCain needed a 'trap' for Obama to have any chance of winning.

It should go without saying that having been mayor of a village is not in itself a great preparation for being leader of the free world (but we are talking about a world in which getting shot down in a plane counts as foreign policy experience). Obama could and should have stuck to saying "she's a gimmick pick and we have nothing to say about her. Now, about McCain..."

The more Obama has to explain why being a community organizer - or a state legislator, or a one-term senator with few accomplishments under his belt - is better preparation for the presidency than being a mayor or governor, the more he volunteers his own shortcomings when compared with McCain.

Well no. The more he ends up fighting it out on Republican ground. What is this bullshit about "experience"? Lots of very good American presidents have lacked executive experience and no one cared. Why do we care this time? Because practically the only merit that John McCain has is that he's been around for a long time.

Besides, on paper, Obama doesn't stand up very well against Palin. All of the mythic themes of Obama's political narrative - the ethics reformer, the bipartisan, the new kind of politician - look like press-release material next to Palin's accomplishments.

This is a riduculous and transparent lie. As mayor of the village of Wasilla (no bigger than my home town--and let me tell you, if you suggested to me that being mayor of Hayle was decent preparation for running a country, I'd laugh in your stupid face) she ran up a huge debt. As governor of Alaska, she has done little enough.

Obama voted the Democratic Party line more often (97 percent) than McCain voted in accord with President Bush (90 percent).

Jonah neglects to mention that mostly Bush has set the legislative agenda, and has had a craven Republican congress behind him, so the Dems have largely been voting *against* reactionary laws.

In Washington, Obama's supposedly "sweeping" ethics reform - which forces congressmen to eat lobbyist-provided meals standing up instead of sitting down - and his feckless reforms in Illinois make him look the Bambi to Palin's Godzilla.

Jonah probably didn't understand the ethics reform, and we all know that the spiteful girls hate other girls who are good at maths.

Obama's idea of ethics reform is to mandate clean sheets in the brothel. Palin's is to tear it down.

First, Jonah forgets which party made the place a brothel. Then, he repeats the lie that Palin is in any way, or would be in any way, a reformer. As if! The "reforms" President Palin would introduce would be to push Bush's extremist agenda even harder. The corporations are salivating at the idea of a Palin presidency.

The most unsportsmanlike conduct in the days to come will be the search for Palin gaffes, of which there undoubtedly will be many. The media will call fouls on her that they never call on the other candidates. Over the last week, Obama misspoke and referred to his "Muslim faith" on ABC's "This Week" and told a rally how excited he was to be in "New Pennsylvania." Perhaps that's one of the 57 states he once claimed to campaign in?

Wow. Obama makes a slip of the tongue, and it's huge news. Palin makes a serious mistake about mortgages and it's ignored.

This is the thing. A "gaffe" like saying that America has 57 states doesn't reveal anything about Obama. Stressed and tired presidential candidates can be expected to make silly errors like that. I'd even forgive McCain the whole Pakistan/Iraq border thing. But not knowing what Fannie Mae is or does is different.

And let's not forget Biden, whose gaffes are the unavoidable byproduct of his limitless gasbaggery. Biden could shout on "Meet the Press," "Get these squirrels off of me!" and the collective response would be, "There goes Joe again." But if Palin flubs the name of the deputy agriculture minister of Kyrgyzstan, the media will blow their whistles saying she's unprepared for the job.

No, Jonah, she did not know what Fannie Mae is. That's not to forget a tiny, unimportant fact. That's not to know what the organisation your government has just taken over, which has a huge trillion-plus dollar portfolio of home loans, is and does. That's a bit bigger than squirrels, bro.

One notes also that Biden will at least appear on MTP. No chance of Palin facing anything resembling hard questioning (not that she would get that on MTP, but even the softballs indulged in there will be potential handgrenades for her).

Fair or not, that's how it works in the pros. But so far, it still looks as if the MVP title is hers to lose.

Keep saying so, Jonah, and you might start believing it before November.


At 7:28 pm, Blogger iamonevotedotcom said...

In a sane world, judged by sane reasonable people, this wouldn't even be in question.



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