Saturday, November 8, 2008

More about the Wackaloon

So I'm sitting here thinking "WTF?" a lot the past couple of days. Sarah Palin is being savaged by her own people for the fair and balanced ass-kicking Americans handed McCain a few days ago. Hey, McCain picked a woman who (it is alleged by Fox News) didn't know Africa was a continent and not a country, that she couldn't name any of the members of NAFTA (as Jon Stewart put it, "there's us, gay us (pointing overhead) and the burrito place (pointing down)), and thought the US was at war with Iran. But according to Fox News' Carl Cameron (who broke this), they couldn't report on this because "it was off the record until after the election." To quote:

CAMERON: There was great concern in the McCain campaign that Sarah Palin lacked a degree of knowledgeability necessary to be a running mate, a vice president, and a heartbeat away from the presidency.

We are told by folks that she didn’t know what countries were in NAFTA — the North American Free Trade Agreement. That’d be Canada, the U.S., and Mexico. We’re told that she didn’t understand that Africa was a continent, rather than a series — a country just in itself. A whole host of questions that caused serious problems about her knowledgeability.

It should be pointed out that yes, Cameron did use the word "knowledgeability"--which should give rise to some concern over his own "intelligenceability." But more importantly, here is a woman who was supposed to have been vetted by the McCain campaign, who was one bad heart day away from the presidency should the ticket win, and Cameron couldn't find a way to bring out how woefully unprepared the VP nominee was? WTF? that is not just a story, but is essential information that citizens need to make a decision. To my mind, that is a firing offence, the kind of thing where you wind up in journalism courses under "bad decisions you really should avoid making." Look at Woodward and Bernstein--where information was "off the record", they pursued other sources until they could put the info on the record. To hide that kind of thing from the public, that's not journalism, that's being nothing more than a tool of a propaganda machine.
The post-election attacks on Palin, while perhaps deserved (the Wackaloon is, after all, pretty scary as a politician and human being), have, from the Right at least, taken on the worst of the anti-female rhetoric typical of the attacks on Hillary Clinton from the same sources.
Now, today in the Telegraph comes this report:

The Republican vice presidential candidate attracted criticism for accusing Mr Obama of "palling around with terrorists", citing his association with the sixties radical William Ayers.

The attacks provoked a near lynch mob atmosphere at her rallies, with supporters yelling "terrorist" and "kill him" until the McCain campaign ordered her to tone down the rhetoric.

But it has now emerged that her demagogic tone may have unintentionally encouraged white supremacists to go even further.

The Secret Service warned the Obama family in mid October that they had seen a dramatic increase in the number of threats against the Democratic candidate, coinciding with Mrs Palin's attacks.

Now, I might argue a bit with the line "her demagogic tone may have unintentionally encouraged." I would suggest that there was nothing unintentional about it. This was the Wackaloon playing to the base. Hell, she may not have been playing--I suspect that the fear and anger she was playing to were in fact her own. McCain himself never seemed too comfortable playing the race card--perhaps because he actually knew Obama as a human being. But "[i]rate John McCain aides, who blame Mrs Palin for losing the election,
claim Mrs Palin took it upon herself to question Mr Obama's patriotism,
before the line of attack had been cleared by Mr McCain." (from the Telegraph article) Again, I hesitate to buy that argument, as that kind of attack has Lee Atwater and Karl Rove written all over it. I suspect that Palin was seen by the big fixers like Rove as the perfect weapon to get the campaign back in line with previous winning efforts (Willie Horton anyone?). My suspicion is that McCain was running the campaign more his way than the fixers liked, and that they grabbed at Palin as their chance to run a classical Republican hate campaign in tandem with McCain's. Worked too--Palin did fire up the base. At least until the "liberal media" began exposing her deep unreadiness for office.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Bernie - At last, at last, I have discovered your website. Just recently I received an emailed news item claiming that the she-thinks-Africa-is-a-country story was a hoax. Same difference; I now have an email from the Brasscheck people advertising another of their online videos, which talks about her "spiritual warfare" hobbyhorse and a connection between her fundamentalist subculture and the kind of Nigerians who persecute children as witches. How soon do we think we'll evolve into an intelligent species? -Garth