September 9, 2008

I think I've found the ultimate in anti-Palin gas-baggery.

From Leon Wieseltier. Please read it and click through to read the whole thing if you suspect that my excerpt unfairly represents it. And then take my little quiz.
Whatever the Christian conservative way of life is, Palin is living it. And so her grotesque and fascinating candidacy broaches an interesting subject, which is the moral insufficiency of integrity. In its etymological origins, integrity refers to wholeness, to a coherent arrangement of the parts into a whole, to the consistency of the parts with each other, to the harmony of a thing or a being with itself. Integrity is a formal property, a consideration of structure. It is, in other words, contentless. It is indifferent to the substance of the elements whose internal relations are its concern, and neutral about questions of truth and falsity, good and evil. False ideas often add up; evil individuals often add up. A unified identity is not for that reason an admirable identity. It is all very nice to have the courage of one's convictions, but the convictions matter as much as the courage....

In the grammar of politics, the adverb is less significant than the direct object: not better politics, but better policies; not the form of politics, but the content. As for bipartisanship, it generally means your defection to my party. When a party stands for something, there is honor in belonging to it. And when the parties stand for antithetical conceptions of nation and government, bipartisanship is a dodger's daydream.

The quiz:

So what did you think of Wieseltier's little essay?
Brilliant. Proof, once again, that Althouse is an idiot.
Eh. Another essay. A little showoffy, but I can take it.
That is the ultimate in anti-Palin gas-baggery.
pollcode.com free polls

115 comments:

Meade said...

What? Oh, sorry, I was daydreaming about the Brooklyn Dodgers. Can you repeat the questions?

AllenS said...

Just looking at your poll questions, convinced me not to read the article.

Doctor Sententiarum said...

Wieseltier I know so I didn't read the entire essay: but he does have a point about integritas, after all; Stalin had his own idiosyncratic integrity. That W. is using his undoubted art to attack Gov P. is lamentable, however.

American Liberal Elite said...

With that gift of pompous prolixity (not to mention his name), Wieseltier should have been a lawyer. Wieseltier and Haifisch P.C.

Wurly said...
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Wurly said...
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Ron said...

After such bloviation for the first of the infamous troika, I'm ready to shower and shave as well...

VariableSpin said...

"For the only way to provide security and health care for all Americans is ruthlessly."

Absolutely chilling.

Total gas-baggery with bonus teeth-grinding rage. A window on the psychology of the angry "intellectual" left.

rcocean said...

Isn't this from the Onion? Or is "Wieseltier" another Glenn Greenwald nom de plume?

Spread Eagle said...

a fourth option: This guy needs to be looked at and medicated

Pogo said...

False ideas often add up; evil individuals often add up.

An exceltionally bloviatory way of repeating the old saw that liberals think conservatives are evil.


He serves well as an example of the conservative's belief that liberals are wrong or stupid, but not evil.

But this was particularly ugly.

martha said...

from Leon Wieseltier's essay:

Sarah Palin was chosen not for what she has done but for what she is--for her value as an ideological illustration.

hmmmmm.....wasn't Obama chosen not for what he has done but for what he is--his value as an ideological illustration of a Black man who can lead us to a post-racial, post-partisan United States....

Lawgiver said...

moral insufficiency of integrity

Elitist foppery.

Peter V. Bella said...

Sarah Palin was chosen not for what she has done…

No one can point to anything signifigant Hillary Clinton or Barak Obama have done. One was almost the candidate and the other is; they received tens of millions of votes. Neither has accomplished anything worthwhile; one was a political wife and a junior Senator. The other a community organizer promoted to Chicago political hack, and then a junior Senator. The only reason they even got so far is people were blinded by anger and would vote for anyone to replace the current administration.

The rest of this screed is a pure, unadulterated, pile of a combination of equine, bovine, and ovine excrement; mixed with the horrid stench of desperation.

He is nothing more than an effete, over educated, erudite KOS kid; all grown up with nothing to say.

kent said...

Ann: is this good enough to tie...?

Peter V. Bella said...

martha,

You left out the most important word. it is a word and a qualification that the Democratic Party deems more important than anything. It is bandied about in such a way that it will be the first or second word on everyone's lips.

HEALING

Simon Kenton said...

It goes beyond mere sesquipedalianism to the Lexiphanic.

When I walk by a university I get the same vibe as a recovering alcoholic passing a favorite bar. God I think you for your grace, in delivering me.

kynefski said...

Had the quiz offered the alternative of admiration of the essay without insulting Ann, I would have taken that.

I'm not sure it's so anti-Palin as trying to offer some insight into what her being in the campaign might be about.

wyatt gwyon said...

Oh, for god's sake, it's just another essay. It takes a position and articulates it: just because someone takes and sticks without deviance to a given position is no great moral achievement. The morality of such integrity has to be measured by its impact on real life. That's why integrity in and of itself is contentless.

And it surprises me not at all that a Jew or any non-fundmamentalist would find Sarah Palin's consistent espousal of a fundamentalist Christianity (abstinence only education, attendance at a church that preaches preparation for the apocalypse to be visited on the U.S. for its immorality, etc.) more than a little disturbing, despite her consistency.

John said...

Dude used the word "diabolize." I am in awe of such foppish writing.

But no, the ultimate in unhinged anti-Palinism is Juan Cole's piece this morning,

http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2008/09/09/palin_fundamentalist/

Since Palin once asked a librarian "what is the procedure for when someone complains stuff in the library is inappropriate?" Cole thinks she is indistinguishable from Hamas.

There goes his reputation as a Middle East expert, since he apparently thinks Hamas got famous writing letters complaining to the librarian.

Cole is either amazingly dumb, or has been driven bonkers by seeing his hopes for Obama slipping away.

John said...
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SteveR said...

What a load of crap. He could have come across as a pompous ass in less than half the words he used.

Randy said...

He certainly gives Bryan Appleyard's post about Palin being an epistemological error some competition.

SMGalbraith said...

Sarah Palin's consistent espousal of a fundamentalist Christianity (abstinence only education, attendance at a church that preaches preparation for the apocalypse to be visited on the U.S. for its immorality, etc.)

Consistent espousal?

Where in her, for example, convention acceptance speech did she "consistently espouse" these religious belief?

Or any other public speech? Or any other public act? Where is any evidence that she based public policy on her religious views?

She is not, as has been documented, for abstinence only education.

Where is it cited that her Church (whatever that means) believes America will end because of its immorality?

Where is the "et cetera"?

Sorry, someone gave you some bad chicken salad there.

Paul Zrimsek said...

This sort of thing could give pseudointellectual poseurs a bad name.

If Palin were really living what Wieseltier imagines "the Christian conservative way of life" to be, wouldn't she have disowned Bristol?

jdeeripper said...

So what did you think of Wieseltier's little essay?

Paragraphs too large and clunky for an internet post.

Leon has Jewish liberal anxieties about attract symbols of White small town Christian America.

Leon fears Sarah is not sufficiently pro-Israel, she might like Pat Buchanan, but he doesn't want to come out and say it when he can attack her in other ways.

Leon has the typical weak male's fear and fascination with female erotic power. He feels it, he hates it, he wants to resist, but he...damn she's.......

Leon has the typical urban, Jewish, literary liberal sense of moral and intellectual superiority over small town/rural, outdoorsy goyim.

Leon hates the fact that the people and ideas that he loathes now has an attractive spokeswoman.

Simon said...

You know, these last few weeks, I've felt more optimistic for the future of America than I have in months. By making the right call, McCain has transformed a "we may scrape through it" into a race that has the potential to be a rerun of 1980. And it occurs to me that if that happens, the left is going to bug. out.

Roger J. said...

Wow--I am impressed that the commentariat could understand it. Very impressive, because I sure couldnt.

Pogo said...

"For the only way to provide security and health care for all Americans is ruthlessly."

Wieseltier channels Plath:
"Every woman adores a Fascist,
The boot in the face, the brute
Brute heart of a brute like you."

rhhardin said...

She lacks the detachment from one's own purposes that phoniness and cynicism (and genuine thought) require.

Putting genuine thought in its own voice preserves its integrity.

VariableSpin said...

BS-free version:

Watching this white trash whore is blowing my mind! Why aren't the Christianist fundies living up to misanthropic caricature in my head? If they were consistent, they'd have demanded her slut daughter get an abortion like all those poor black girls.

Whatever. She's a book-burning, bible-thumping fascist who's proud of it.

Quit being such a nice guy, Barack! Rip her throat out! She deserves it!

Paul said...

"For the only way to provide security and health care for all Americans is ruthlessly."

I don't think he should be invoking ruthlessness in American politics.

chickenlittle said...

Love the guy's name! "Wieseltier".

To my ear it translates from German as "Weasel-animal."

Victoria- correct me if I'm wrong

Henry said...

This must be the third or fourth anti-Palin essay I've read that springs from the idea that the Republicans picked Palin as a distraction. The Republicans wanted to change the conversation writes Wieseltier.

Then, the essayist pens a thousand words examining the pattern of his (or her) own vomit.

Leon, if you really don't like the Republicans' new conversation, why are you rolling in it?

And how, for God's sake, can you end your three-paragraph, 1100-word essay with an adverb?

bearbee said...

Gods will?!

Was she playing to the audience, or is this her belief?

Iraq war, gas line God's will, Palin said

"Our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God," she said. "That's what we have to make sure that we're praying for, that there is a plan and that plan is God's plan."

VariableSpin said...

Bearbee -

That smear is like 8 smears old already.

chip38357 said...

Wow. He uses a lot of five-dollar words to express ten-cent ideas. This takes me back to my college days...."If you can't dazzle 'em with brilliance, baffle 'em with B.S.". Thanks for the walk down memory lane.

Martin Gale said...

It's clear how this pretentious crap came about: the killer play on words "Juno in Juneau" popped into Wieseltier's head and he just had to find a way to share it with his lefty friends. But it does open a window on the leftist mindset just as it erupts in frustration at the refusal of the proles to assume their assigned class role by supporting their designated savior. What's that Sullivan shtick? The view from your window.

chickenlittle said...

Leon Wieseltier, The New Republic Published: Wednesday, September 24, 2008

So what's up with the post-dated check? I smell a weasel

El Presidente said...

I'm no expert but this looks like satire to me.

kynefski said...

My taste for Weiseltier falls and rises. This essay is kind of gassy, but it makes a point.

From the outside, the enthusiasm with which the vast majority of Republicans have welcomed Christian fundamentalism to the front rank seems odd. The move will probably secure the election, which I guess accounts for the enthusiasm. Blessed party unity.

But this ain't like every presidential election since 1980, where you fire up the Christian right to get the votes, and then ignore them on policy. The vice president is generally seen as defining the future of the party, and you have now defined the party as...I guess you don't call it Christianist, but you'll need to decide at some point.

Maybe that's not a problem for y'all because you're really fundamentalists masquerading as libertarians.

But surely you can understand that it looks odd to the rest of us.

veni vidi vici said...

Chickenlittle is correct, "weasel-animal" is the guy's name.

Methinks the whole "Leon" / lion first name is someone's weak attempt at overcompensation, or a sign of his parents' clever sense of humor.

I'm surprised someone can type a piece like that while holding his drool-spoon in place.

Trooper York said...

It just goes to show you that Woody Allen is never good when he tries to do a serious movie. I mean I know he is obsessed with the shiksehs but enough already.

paul a'barge said...

TNR.

Not going there.

former law student said...

The essay -- which I found enjoyable and insubstantial*, like a chocolate ganache truffle -- left me with two questions:

Why did Ann tie approval of the essay to an insult to her? What is her stake in Palinity?

Further, when will our cruelly neutral hostess headline a post "I think I've found the ultimate in anti-Obama gas-baggery." Because, as martha points out, it's out there: Obama chosen not for what he has done but for what he is--his value as an ideological illustration of a Black man who can lead us to a post-racial, post-partisan United States....

Realize, too, that Obama was chosen by Democratic Party delegates from all over the country, while Mrs. Palin was chosen by John Sidney McCain.

*Conservatives are hypocrites, tee-hee!

Jeremy said...

I thought that the gravest sin a political conservative could make was hypocricy. Now it's lack of hypocricy. Sweet.

Henry said...

kynefski, the problem with your "Christianist" framing is twofold. First it ignores Palin's actual political history. Second, that framing isn't coming from the Republicans.

The Republicans had a folksy christian governor running in their primaries. But Huckabee, economic populist that he is, didn't make the ticket. Instead, the christian politician who made the ticket is the one with a reputation for reform, good governance, and cutting wasteful spending.

Take the Bridge to Nowhere story.

The reason Palin and McCain have pushed the Bridge-to-Nowhere story to the breaking point is because that is the actual theme of the actual Republican campaign.

The Democrats and their pocket pundits accuse Palin of lying about it because they desparately want the reform story to go away.

It is the left that can't give up on the culture war, not the right.

Richard Dolan said...

Wieseltier prefers to deal with abstractions and concepts rather than real people, and so he reduces the living-breathing Palin (and, along the way, Obama too) to a two dimensional caricature. There may be a thread that runs true through her political career, but it is nothing like Wieseltier's silly sketch. Like many on the left, he worships the idea of Humanity but can't stand most of its exemplars. One of the oddities of his piece is that Wieseltier thinks the political class is either too dim to understand how they disserve the common good (i.e., Palin and McCain), or if they get it, too lacking in the "ruthlessness" required to "provide security and health care for all Americans ...." (i.e., Obama). OK. That's a point of view.

In reading his piece, I get the feeling that what most drives him nuts is Palin's decision to have Trig rather than abort him -- he never mentions it, but I suspect that Trig is the embodiment of the "integrity" and "consistency" that really gets his goat. He fails to notice that, on the social issues that I think Wieseltier is most exercised about (e.g., abortion and gay marriage), Palin is more reminicient of Reagan, who always talked a good game but never did much of anything as President to advance the social conservative's agenda, than she is of the wierdo Wieseltier imagines her to be.

It's revealing that he offers the observation that "[w]hatever the Christian conservative way of life is, Palin is living it." That is the closest he gets to fingering Trig as the real problem, and he clearly means it as a put-down. To him, the "conservative Christian life" is some medieval left-over of repression, intolerance and bigotry that any thinking person can easily see as outdated and quite harmful nonsense. The reality, of course, is that Palin is quite different from his little send-up of the intergrated life of "false ideas" rooted in religion that mistake evil for goodness and cowardice for courage. While he goes on (and on) excoriating religion as "the teleological suspension of the ethical" that casuists (you know, those evil Jesuits) prattle on about, he ends up offering his own version of the same thing. What else to make of his ideas that "the politics of virtue is a vice," and "the only way to provide security and health care for all Americans is ruthlessly"? Getting a little teleological in suspending means for ends yourself there, Leon, n'est-ce pas?

It's a bit creepy for a doctrinaire lefty like Wieseltier to go on about the "teleological suspension of the ethical" after the depredation of the 20th century, given the monstrous brutality that was committed in the name of creating the socialist paradise on earth. Per usual, Wieseltier prefers to condemn the Inquisition without realizing that the Western religious tradition abandoned any such thing centuries ago, whereas the secular religions born in the 19th century and still very much with us are the font of that sort of thing today.

Ann offers this as the "ultimate" in anti-Palin gas-baggery. Wieseltier's caricature certainly puts the weirdness of the left's fixation with Palin on full display, and his style of writing approaches self-parody. But I'm not sure about "ultimate." After all, the NYRB has yet to weigh in -- I'm expecting a spectacular display of the same thing from them in the next issue. So it may be wise to keep the competition for the title of "ultimate" open for a little while longer.

Peter V. Bella said...

Gasbaggery, the New American Left.

Peter V. Bella said...

Richard Dolan said...
Wieseltier prefers to deal with abstractions and concepts rather than real people...

That is the problem with many intellectuals; they can only deal in abstractions. Reality is meaningless.

kynefski said...

In reading his piece, I get the feeling that what most drives him nuts is Palin's decision to have Trig rather than abort him -- he never mentions it, but

Please appreciate how you would respond to that logic coming from the other side.

Martin Gale said...

"For the only way to provide security and health care for all Americans is ruthlessly."

-Leon Wieseltier


Collectivizing the kulaks is not for the timid.

Trooper York said...

Knorr: A drink to the one I love. The Hindenburg!
(The Hindenburg, 1975)

Richard Dolan said...

kynefski: Looking for the subtext, and deconstructing the text to get at its core, is the "logic coming from the other side." In all events, what else do you imagine Weseltier is talking about, albeit in politically correct code, in dumping on "integrity," disparaging religion and dissing "the Christian conservative way of life" that "Palin is living" if not abortion and Palin's decision to forego one and give birth to a mentally defective child?

Is there some other aspect of her personal biography that this aspect of his screed is attempting to refer to? If there is, I don't see it. If you do, I'd be curious to know what it is.

Nora said...

Yep, Martin, that what I thought too: Hauling the opposition to the common good to the labor camps is not for faint hearted.

Chip Ahoy said...

Wieseltier doesn't understand Christians or Christianity one single bit, but he imagines that he understands them better than they understand themselves.

He's so wrong he stinks up the place with his wrongness and the pity for him is this is exactly what is going to lose his precious election for him and his wrong but still immensely arrogant party. Again. Tut. We'll be subject to this whining for another four years at least.

Personally, I find Christians, which I cannot claim for myself, to be far more understanding and generous towards others than these so-called elitist intellectuals who vainly drop names like Sturges and Apatow right off in a effort to impress or to confound.

BOO !

Not scared.

Chip Ahoy said...

exceltionally = exceptionally?

David said...

Prose like this is persuasive only to those who are already persuaded.

kynefski said...

It does not follow that concern for abortion rights translates into thinking that Governor Palin should have aborted her child.

Or does it? Seriously, do you think it does?

One other aspect of Palin's integrity that received substantial attention, and thus would have been known to Weiseltier, is her insistence that it would be good for biology teachers to lie to their students. "It's been a healthy foundation for me."

sydney said...

All of the writing on Palin over at The New Republic is just making me sad. This was the first political magazine I had ever read. I was introduced to it by my college boyfriend when I was 18 and I loved the evenhanded, intellectually stimulating articles they had. My college boyfriend has been my husband for 20 years now and we've been subscribers to The New Republic for all of them, but it has sadly declined over the past decade. I forgave them the Stephen Glass episode. The Scott Beauchamp affair was harder to overlook. They didn't really seem to be interested in getting to the truth of the matter as much as defending themselves. But the writing on Palin is just full blown emotional meltdown. Can this magazine be saved?

former law student said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
vbspurs said...

Just looking at your poll questions, convinced me not to read the article.

Yes, Professor. With regret, I agree with AllenS: the polls seem to be either redundant, or badly phrased.

I'll go read the article, but I don't find my synapses firing on all cylinders about them today.

former law student said...

I get the feeling that what most drives him nuts is Palin's decision to have Trig rather than abort him -- he never mentions it, but I suspect that Trig is the embodiment of the "integrity" and "consistency" that really gets his goat.

While I couldn't tell "what most drives [Wieseltier] nuts," he does allude to Trig in this sentence: Three of her five children exemplify articles of conservative faith: Track the warrior in the just cause of Iraq, Bristol as the one who chose life for her little bastard*, and Trig the imperfect one whose life Sarah spared. Willow and little Piper are not remarkably part of the conservative narrative.

*As far as I know, Levi and Bristol have not set a wedding date. In the decorous 50s, the expectant couple tried to wed at least before the pregnancy began to show.

But no one has remarked on the anti-Obama gasbaggery in the last paragraph. Short summary: Obama is a pussy.

Chip Ahoy said...

kynefski, no, concern for abortion rights does not translate into thinking that Palin should have aborted her child, but saying, "Palin should have aborted when she learned her child was Down syndrome, " does.

I'm glad the choice was Palin's to make. A Federal ban would be regrettable. As regrettable as Federal funding which automatically results in an unfortunate abortion industry where infanticide breezily substitutes for birth control. Best to leave it to the States. That way Americans retain the broadest and most satisfactory range of choice.

vbspurs said...

First lines tell me all I need to know about this article:

It took only a few days for the saga of Sarah Palin to go from Frank Capra to Preston Sturges to Judd Apatow, and then for the farce to stop being funny at all.

Mrs. Smith Goes to Washington
Hail the Conquering Heroine
Knocked Up

Nice. Except it's not.

kynefski said...

I cannot find the phrase "Palin should have aborted when she learned her child was Down syndrome," in my copy of Weiseltier's essay.

Maybe I didn't get the full copy.

former law student said...

Best to leave it to the States. That way Americans retain the broadest and most satisfactory range of choice.

Do you feel the same way about our right to own and use firearms? That state legislatures can determine the extent of our rights, if any?

vbspurs said...

Quoting from the article:

She lacks the detachment from one's own purposes that phoniness and cynicism (and genuine thought) require. She is too immediately what she is.

Ahhhhh. Now we get to the nub of the article (my word, we've never gotten to the nub so quickly!).

I once asked a French classmate of mine why she hated Americans so much.

"Because they're obvious"

I don't need to explain that sophistication requires subterfuge, drama, mystery, and more than a fair bit of lying.

If a person is an open book (think Jimmy Stewart), where's the fun in that, may I ask you?

Cheers,
Victoria

Theo Boehm said...

Thank you, Richard Dolan, for one of the best serious comments I have seen here in quite a while.

I, too, had similar reactions to Wieseltier's formulation of the the politics of virtue being a vice, and his idiotic criticism of religion, Christianity in this context, as "the telological suspension of the ethical."  What nonsense!  That is as complete a misapprehension of the ultimate sources of Christian ethics, at least, as I have ever read.

This piece takes on an air of surreality as it becomes plain that Wieseltier's basic argument is that Palin's ethics and integrity are not at all praisworthy or even to be respected, because they are the WRONG ethics informing her integrity.  And from where do Mr. Wieseltier's correct ethics derive and, specifically, what are they?  We are not given much of a hint, because, of course, all the good people (e.g., those who share Mr. Wieselier's views) for whom this essay was intended, just know what is good and ethical.  That seems to include the oddly teleological task of ruthlessly providing security and health care for all Americans.

All major religions call on their adherents to take care of their fellow men, and several extend that care to all sentient beings.  The difference between religious ethics, in general, and Mr. Wieseltier's unstated formulation, is that religion tends to respect the spirit and will of the individual in a larger, Cosmic context, while Wieseltier seems to want return us to the ethics of a compulsory, Pharonic state religion, ruthlessly enforced for our benefit.

I'll take my ethics with a dose of liberty, thank you, crudely as they may be expounded by the likes of Mrs. Palin, rather than have Mr. Wieseltier's norms so ruthlessly inform a conformity to the dictates of the state.

vbspurs said...

I've reached the end. Digested it. And I've come away feeling as if I don't want to hear what Gilles Deleuze has to say about the American election of 2008 -- I've already heard it.

From the roars of the Republicans, from their elites' attack upon elites, you would have thought that for the last eight years we have been governed by Adlai Stevenson.

The thing is, Mr. Wieseltier, like poor Adlai Stevenson who never recovered, is stuck in 1950 when country clubs were overrun exclusively by white, flabby Republican males, who had made their first million in stocks, their second in oil, their third in IBM.

Somewhere along the line, when Wieseltier was busy manning the barricades of intellectual derision, there occured a shift in Party demographics.

He still sees the Republican Party as pipe-smoking white males with overlarge pockets, instead of the reality facing him in the person of Sarah Palin.

She may be white, but that's the only reality he conjurs up in his bit of phantasmagoria.

I can't point to a better article to explain the differences between "elite Democrat" and "blue-collar Republican".

Not even Barack Obama has Wieseltier's remove of derision and condenscension.

I guess we should be grateful for that. I am. And that's sad.

Cheers,
Victoria

David said...

Hey, former law student.

Your response ducks the question.

The right to bear arms is an explicit guarantee of the constitution.

The "right" to abortion is one of those "penumbra" rights, judge created, a constitutional "right" that would have been laughed out of court at any previous time in our history.

One problem with Roe v. Wade is that it has created an absolutist approach to the "right," making reasonable restrictions on abortion that command widespread support impossible to adopt. The popular will is utterly ignored. It also makes the politics surrounding the issue harsh and uncompromising.

I am pro choice, but believe that we would be far better off (and that the right would be more secure in the long term) if the right to abortion had been secured through popular debate and legislation. Yes, there would have been differences from state to state (and perhaps even a few states that continued to make abortion completely illegal), but the issue would have been put to rest through a durable set of compromises, instead of the poisonous differences that Roe v. Wade have brought the nation.

Michael said...

A few things Palin has NOT mentioned in her stump speeches:

1. Of the 50 states, Alaska ranks No. 1 in taxes per resident.

2. No. 1 in spending per resident.

3. Its tax burden per resident is 21/2 times the national average

4. Its spending, more than double.

5. It has four different taxes on oil, which produce more than 89% of the state's unrestricted revenue.

6. On average, three-quarters of the value of a barrel of oil is taken by the state government before that oil is permitted to leave the state.

7. Alaska also ranks No. 1, year after year, in money it sucks in from Washington.

8. In 2005 (the most recent figures), according to the Tax Foundation, Alaska ranked 18th in federal taxes paid per resident ($5,434) but first in federal spending received per resident ($13,950).

9. Its ratio of federal spending received to federal taxes paid ranks third among the 50 states.

10. In the absolute amount it receives from Washington over and above the amount it sends to Washington, Alaska ranks No. 1.

vbspurs said...

Wow, Richard Dolan -- you are my hero today. What a piece of commentary and deconstruction!

(Wieseltier, heh, well I don't know many animal names in German, but that sounds about right, chickenlitte :)

kynefski said...

A few things Palin has NOT mentioned...

At the risk of being accused of not playing my part, let me remind you that none of those were her doing, and no governor is going to be able to change them within her term.

In contrast, a governor is able to root out corruption which, by all accounts, she's done.

Whether efficient disposal of your political enemies constitutes reform is, of course, another matter.

Michael said...

Questions to Sarah Palin from the Anchorage Daily News:

• Why have you reneged on your earlier pledge to cooperate with the Alaska Legislature's investigation into Troopergate?

• As governor of Alaska, you have not pushed for laws or regulations that put your personal views on abortion, same-sex marriage and creationism into public policy. As vice president, will you push to outlaw abortion, restrict same-sex marriage and require the teaching of creationism?

• If you were a fully qualified vice-presidential candidate from the get-go, why did you wait more than 10 days to face reporters?

• McCain spokesman Rick Davis told Fox News the media didn't show you enough "deference." How much deference do you expect to get from Vladimir Putin or Hugo Chavez?

• You have said victory is in sight in Iraq. In July 2007, when you visited Kuwait, you said, "I'm not going to judge the surge." In the March 2007 issue of Alaska Business Monthly, you were asked about the surge and quoted saying:

"I've been so focused on state government, I haven't really focused much on the war in Iraq. . . . While I support our president, Condoleezza Rice and the administration, I want to know that we have an exit plan in place."

Define "victory" in Iraq? What is the exit plan?

BOTTOM LINE: The nation deserves to hear Palin's unfiltered answers to serious questions.

Michael said...

kynefski said..."In contrast, a governor is able to root out corruption which, by all accounts, she's done."

Anchorage Daily News asks:

• Why have you reneged on your earlier pledge to cooperate with the Alaska Legislature's investigation into Troopergate?

kynefski said...

When a McCain campaign official said the election isn't about issues, but personalities, that was a dumb and exploitable thing to say, but like Obama's clinggate comments, it had a grain of truth.

The opposing personalities in Troopergate are sufficiently unpleasant that no one should want to keep it alive.

Roger J. said...

Armed with the latest talking points, Michael strides onto the stage! Umm--Michael: did you notice that McCain has a 15 point lead among independents? Given that Palin has energized the conservative base (an understatement) and McCain-Palin seem to be cornering independents, looks like McCain did pretty well in his selection.

And oh yeah: Last I looked McCain was the nominee: why are the dems running against the VP nominee? The american people almost always vote for the top of the ticket (although Palin may change that)

I'd ask you to talk about Obama's positions--say public financing of elections, or perhaps "the surge is a failure," or perhaps his efforts in cleaning up South Side Chicago politics, or taking over a billion dollars of earmarks back to Illinois including one for his wife's hospital, oh yeah--and that vote of his and biden's to fund the bridge to nowhere. While Palin was for it before she was against it (her bad), Obama Biden were for it (the whole time even at the expense of Katrina victims)--Damn, thats change you can believe in.

dick said...

Sydney,

Wrong question. SHOULD this magazine be saved.

former law student said...

The right to bear arms is an explicit guarantee of the constitution.

The Constitution was written to define and limit the power of the federal government, not the states. Since 1789, individual states and even cities have been free to define and limit the gun rights of their residents.

What you're suggesting is, "If you don't like your abortion rights, move to a more favorable state." I wanted to know if you were similarly content to live only in pro-gun states and towns.

The "right" to abortion is one of those "penumbra" rights, judge created, a constitutional "right" that would have been laughed out of court at any previous time in our history.

Actually, if you've read Roe v. Wade, it's not a penumbral right. The right can be found in the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. And it's not judge-created, it's judge-recognized. Or do you not believe in natural rights? Are you a statist, who believes that your rights are doled out by an all-powerful government?

Michael said...

kynefski said..."The opposing personalities in Troopergate are sufficiently unpleasant that no one should want to keep it alive."

So, without the investigation being completed, you already know "no one should want to keep it alive?"

Based on what?

tim maguire said...

One thing I learned from the excerpt is that Leon Wieseltier has no idea what integrity means.

Michael said...

roger,
The polling today means literally nothing. If Obama was ahead by 10 point, the Democrats would be raving, just as McCain's convention "bounce" affords him a lead right now. (Take a look at past polling and you'll see just how wrong it can be.)

We still have debates and plenty of time to hear what the candidates have to say; that is, if Palin is ever actually interviewed and asked specific questions.

*These are a few questions I would ask if given the opportunity:

1. Does she really think no one should be afforded the right to an abortion, even in the case of rape or incest?

2. Does she really believe our Iraqi invasion is, as she phrased it; a "messianic mission from God?"

3. Does she believe in creationism over evolution, and does she want creationism taught side by side with evolution?

As to your question: "Last I looked McCain was the nominee: why are the dems running against the VP nominee?"

Well, we've had 9 Vice Presidents that have stepped into the White House via sudden deat and assassinations so I think most Americans would like to know who the hell Palin is, what she stands for and her positions on little things like taxes, energy, abortion, religion, international affairs, etc.

Are you one of those who just doesn't care who is President...or merely another right wing ideologue who just wants a Republicans no matter who it is?

And finally, as to Obama: The man has been running for over two years and has faced the press hundreds of times, has been involved in televised debates, has been vetted in every way, shape or form, and if you don't know where he stands on specific issues, I suggest you pick up a newspaper, a book or maybe even peruse the internet to see what you can find.

kynefski said...

So, without the investigation being completed, you already know "no one should want to keep it alive?"

michael, I agree that the investigation should be completed, and have no doubt that it will be.

I was just pointing out that, politically, playing on a story that's looking like it's the governor being too vigorous in pursuit of an asshole...

Michael said...

"I was just pointing out that, politically, playing on a story that's looking like it's the governor being too vigorous in pursuit of an asshole..."

Sure, but that's from Palin's point of view...true?

Nixon thought he was being persecuted...was he?

Pogo said...

Leon Wieseltier has no idea what integrity means."

Why Tim, it means whatever he says it means.

He's jes' sayin' that Sarah Not-So-Plain and Tall is consistent in her evil ways, so she's got that goin' for her.
______________________________
As for "*These are a few questions I would ask if given the opportunity:"

Awww, stuff it. The Veep don't solve any of that nohow. Let's talk the main two questions:
1. How will McCain/Palin support the defense of the USA?
2. How will McCain/Palin address the economic problems that face the USA?
_________________________

And I believe Wieseltier's "For the only way to provide security and health care for all Americans is ruthlessly." probably sounds better in the original German.

vnjagvet said...

Weaseanimal is another in the line of faux erudite authors dazzlng the left; he sure has a large vocabulary which he, in general, uses correctly.

Richard Dolan has taken the time to translate so we don't have to.

Unfortunately, it is this kind of drivel that will drive independents and conservative Democrats right into the arms of McCainPalin.

Ohio, Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia and Indiana are hanging in the balance unless someone in the BHO camp gets the message moderated.

Michael's attempts to get his questions answered will be drowned out so long as this type of attack prevails in the discourse from the left.

VariableSpin said...

Michael,

A few points:

1.) She's being interviewed by ABC for a couple of days this week. See here for details.

2.) The creationism issue (as well as others) is addressed by FactCheck.org

3.) "Messianic mission from God"? Check your sources. She said "Pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right. Also, for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending [U.S. soldiers] out on a task that is from God,". Hopefully you can distinguish between praying that something is right and asserting that it is. See the video here.

And finally, regarding your question on abortion, it is a foregone conclusion that she will face that question and likely quite soon. Somehow, however, I don't think you'll be satisfied with the answer whatever it is.

Michael said...

VariableSpin:

1.PALIN: "Pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right. Also, for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending out on a task that is from God," she exhorted the congregants. "That's what we have to make sure that we're praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God's plan."

2. I know about Gibson's interview, but why isn't she appearing on the Sunday news show like every other candidate?

3. I'll admit she doesn't want to "require" the teaching of creationism in schools, but does feel it should be "discussed" side by side with evolution, which is fine ith me as long as it's not in science class.

But this quote should tell you she's certainly not on board with evolution either:

Anchorage Daily News during an interview while running for Governor:

Asked for her personal views on evolution, Palin said, "I believe we have a creator."

She would not say whether her belief also allowed her to accept the theory of evolution as fact.

"I'm not going to pretend I know how all this came to be," she said.

Michael said...

VariableSpin, do you someone how distinguish saying: "Pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right. Also, for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending out on a task that is from God"

From being a "messianic mission?"

What would YOU call a "task that is from God?"

Pogo said...

A "messianic mission" is not equal to a "task that is from God" because, quite simply, messianic is not the same as from God.

Michael said...

pogo, semantics aside, if you think a messianic mission isn't considered a "task from one God or another, or at the very least, a messenger of God," by those who are committed to that "task," you're dreaming.

The definition of messianic: of or relating to a messiah.

glenntkenny said...

As to your "quiz":

Now, I'm not going to say that you're an idiot, Althouse. But don't you think it is possible to simultaneously believe that you are an idiot, AND that Wieseltier is a gasbag? Or that maybe you're both idiots, only that Wieseltier attempts to camouflage his idiocy with an ostentatiously dense prose style?

I've said it before, and I fear I'll have to say it many times again: the liberal pile-on on Palin is a form of suicide for those opposing the McCain/Palin ticket. (Yeah, I'm one.) Instead of pointing at her and her knocked up kid and shrieking "Unclean! Hypocrite!" the response ought to have been, "Okay, whatever. Now, how is it that you intend to govern?" But no...

Peter V. Bella said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kynefski said...

The creationism issue (as well as others) is addressed by FactCheck.org

Of course she hasn't promoted the teaching of creationism - since teaching creationism as a matter of public policy is illegal - but her expressed support for teaching it alongside the science (I dunno, is she saying she wishes we could break the law?) encourages the kind of nonsense they just passed in Louisiana.

Which, as John Derbyshire has pointed out, is a recipe for local government bankruptcies.

http://tinyurl.com/3lfasv

(Sorry, I don't get HTML like youse guys.)

VariableSpin said...

Michael -

You used quotation marks (") indicating that she used those words. Clearly she didn't. Call it nitpicky but if a reporter interviewed me and attempted to paraphrase what I said using quotation marks, I'd be severely pissed off.

Moreover, she asked those in attendance to pray that they are doing God's work. She did not say that is what she believed. (Which seems to be the basis for your question). There is a difference. I very much hope that we are doing the right thing in the right way. That doesn't mean I know that we are.

also...

Whether or not she believes in evolution or creation personally is irrelevant as long as she's against mandating creationism in the curriculum.

The way creationism is being used here is very much like how right-wing social issues are used against liberals. It's a canard thrown out to scare up the base.

Peter V. Bella said...

Michael said...
Anchorage Daily News asks:

• Why have you reneged on your earlier pledge to cooperate with the Alaska Legislature's investigation into Troopergate?

If you actually fucking read the full accounts of the so called investigation you would have learned that it is being run by an incestuous group of people. They are all related to each other in one form or another and each has a personal interest or stake in it. That is usually called a conflict of interest; which is why Palin hired an attorney. If I was in her spot I would publically demand they recuse themselves.

vbspurs said...

Pogo wrote:

He's jes' sayin' that Sarah Not-So-Plain and Tall is consistent in her evil ways

LOL, awesome.

I'm guessing next one is:

Barack Obama and Joe Biden = Two Mules for Sister Sarah? ;)

blake said...

just because someone takes and sticks without deviance to a given position is no great moral achievement.

That's not integrity, that's stubbornness. There is a difference.

If a person is an open book (think Jimmy Stewart), where's the fun in that, may I ask you?

In Harvey, the fun is in watching others' reactions to a reality they can't comprehend.

Seems a propos.

The "right" to abortion is one of those "penumbra" rights, judge created, a constitutional "right" that would have been laughed out of court at any previous time in our history.

I don't think so. First of all, there is that ninth amendment "inkblot". Second of all, historically, there were no laws against abortion and there was a general (not universal) tolerance for it up until the "quickening" (what a "Highlander" movie has to do with it, I don't know).

Total abortion bans started around the turn of the (20th) century.

Guessing, I'd say the Founding Fathers did not consider it an issue proper for the Federal government to address. And certainly not to fund!

Everyone knocks the "penumbral" rights but we could use a few more of them.

kynefski said...

The way creationism is being used here is very much like how right-wing social issues are used against liberals. It's a canard thrown out to scare up the base.

variablespin,

Have you ever thought what it must have felt like to have been one of the science teachers in Dover, to have your neighbors tell you that you are immoral because you want to defend the integrity (that word again) of your discipline?

Look, I know this isn't an issue of human lives or human rights, but it does mess people up, and there is no need for it. We just need more rational conservatives to speak the truth and, presto, no more liberal canard.

Synova said...

michael: "A few things Palin has NOT mentioned in her stump speeches:"

Actually... she has. She's talked about working to get Alaska to be more of a contributor to the nation. Not so much on the dole. She actually used the word "dole" in relation to the state of Alaska in a CSpan interview. She's been entirely forward about Alaska's economy and its dependence on energy resources for revenue. She's mentioned that she made sure to get contracts with the oil companies that pay a fair share to the people who own that oil. So we all knew that she doesn't have a problem making oil companies pay significant taxes.

Why do you lie so much?

Pogo said...

Michael said:
"The definition of messianic: of or relating to a messiah.""
A rose is a rose. I think I agree.
I passed Tautology 101, and the upper level Tautology courses, including "I Yam What I Yam: Popeye's Existential Tautology" and "A-B-C, Easy as 1-2-3: Michael Jackson and Cryptomorphic Identities".

But not all tasks from God are 'messianic' I have a task every day to to be kind to others. Not messianic in the least. More suffering servant stuff that Palin is saying. Not even evangelizing, just serving, uncomplaining, eyes and heart wide open.

But that's a vocabulary beyond your ken, so you must need conflate unrelated things to fit your prejudice.

Trooper York said...

Good post there Glenn and you slipped in a Belushi call back. Sweet.

Much more subtle than the obvious "Ignorant slut" allusion.

But save up some invective to trash the next Robin Williams movie. Then you will really be doing a public service.

Michael said...

variable: To which quote are you referring?

"I've been so focused on state government, I haven't really focused much on the war in Iraq. . . . While I support our president, Condoleezza Rice and the administration, I want to know that we have an exit plan in place."

OR

"Pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right. Also, for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending out on a task that is from God," she exhorted the congregants. "That's what we have to make sure that we're praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God's plan."

(Both are direct quotes of Palin...just Google them)

*Peter V. Bella: I know who's running the investigation, but the point is this: Let them finsish up and let the chips fall where they may. I realize you don'y like hearing such thing, but that's why they have
investigations," to "investigate."

*Pogo: If you want to consider your "daily tasks" as messianic, so be it. I said that what Palin said was directly related to what she considers a missison from God.

Read the damn quote and tell me that isn't what she's saying.

Michael said...

Synova said..."She's (Pailin) talked about working to get Alaska to be more of a contributor to the nation. Not so much on the dole. She actually used the word "dole" in relation to the state of Alaska in a CSpan interview.

This is what you call being "Not so much on the dole?"

1. Alaska also ranks No. 1, year after year, in money it sucks in from Washington.

2. Its ratio of federal spending received to federal taxes paid ranks third among the 50 states.

3. In the absolute amount it receives from Washington over and above the amount it sends to Washington, Alaska ranks No. 1.

Pelalusa said...

Like everyone else who has a sense of fair play, I am absolutely fed up with the personal attacks against Sarah Palin and her family!

This morning I was inspired by this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7h-4eYveEVA

So I've launched a grassroots initiative to create an "I Am Sarah Palin!" video, comprised of a series of short video segments sent in from women & men and girls & boys from around the U.S. and around the world.

You can participate too: http://pelalusa.blogspot.com/2008/09/i-am-sarah-palin-video-initiative.html

Free Speech is a beautiful thing!

Michael said...

Pelalusa said..."Like everyone else who has a sense of fair play, I am absolutely fed up with the personal attacks against Sarah Palin and her family!"

YEAH!!!!

Especially considering how nobody attacked Obama or his wife or Hillary or her husband...EVER!!

Have you considered doing stand up comedy?

Think about it.

Pogo said...

" If you want to consider your "daily tasks" as messianic, so be it.
No. I said exactly the opposite of that. Not messianic at all. You're misreading, being deliberately obtuse, or intermittently dyslexic.


"Read the damn quote and tell me that isn't what she's saying.
It isn't. She is merely saying this:
'This is our task, we accept it humbly, because it is our duty. I hope we win, but Thy will be done.'

Re: your use of "messianic"
You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Michael said...

Pelalusa: By the way, but isn't one of the women in the video...Michelle Malkin?

What...Karl Rove was busy?

Michael said...

Pogo, Say it or translate it or understand it anyway you want, but she made the statement in a church and it was related to a mission from God.

PALIN: "Also, for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending out on a task that is from God," she exhorted the congregants.

What part of; "on a task that is from God"...does your little bitty bqain not understand?

Synova said...

Reading issues, Michael?

You pretend that Palin is somehow lying about the dependency Alaska has on federal money... which is a lie. She does interviews talking about what she's trying to do to direct Alaska at a more independent future, over and over again saying that they *want* to be contributing more to the nation. To turn the flow around. And you can't stand that she hasn't completely reformed the entire economy of Alaska and completed the job in two years? All while the federal government controls and forbids drilling for oil in Anwar.

What a slacker that woman is!

blake said...

And note one of the criticisms is that she's taking money for the state from companies that are exploiting the state's natural resources!

That confuses me: I thought that was a left-wing goal!

kynefski said...

Found this in a Wall Street Journal article.

How do you say, "I told Congress thanks but no thanks for that bridge to nowhere?"

"Despite the work of our congressional delegation, we are about $329 million short of full funding for the bridge project, and it's clear that Congress has little interest in spending any more money on a bridge between Ketchikan and Gravina Island. Much of the public's attitude toward Alaska bridges is based on inaccurate portrayals of the projects here. But we need to focus on what we can do, rather than fight over what has happened."

Mitch said...

If he had had a point, I suppose he could have found a way of making it. Lacking one, he wrote this essay.

Fen said...

VariableSpin: Michael - You used quotation marks (") indicating that she used those words. Clearly she didn't. Call it nitpicky -

Its not at all nitpicky. It shows that Micheal is just making shit up, and cannot be trusted on anything relating to Palin.

Thus:

Micheal: "I'm a registered sex offender. Little boys. Can't help myself"

Friggen loser. Go back to your Obama Op Research team.