September 11, 2008

Slate article about John and Sarah that makes me think of Charles and Diana.

The Slate article, by Bill Gifford, is called "McCain's Visit to Palin Country: I Went to a Sarah Palin Rally, But All I Got Was a Lousy Handshake from John McCain":
The fire marshals have said no more people can be allowed into the gym....

Inside, the rally has already started.... [T]he screen flashes on, and there they are: Palin in her blood-red power suit, McCain standing next to her. She goes first, launching into a remixed version of her convention speech; in her squeaky, cheerleader-mom voice, its harsh sentiments come off as almost saucy. The crowd hoots and claps at the screen....

We can't really hear too well, the sound's been turned down so low, but still people clap and cheer. We're happy at last because we've realized we're going to get something far more precious: Palin and McCain will be coming out this side door, and we'll have our own private audience! ....

We wait some more. Finally McCain comes striding around from the back of the building, with a huge grin. But no Palin. The crowd cheers anyway....
McCain and Palin are doing rallies as a team, and it is too obvious that the crowd is genuinely thrilled about her. She is the one they've been waiting for (to vary a phrase).

There's a scene in Tina Brown's "Diana Chronicles." (You can read the passage if you go to that link and use the "search inside" function with "spina bifida" -- trust me -- and read forward.)

It's shortly after the wedding, and Charles and Diana are making an appearance in Wales. Charles, who's been the Prince of Wales all his life and expects the usual adoration, goes down one side of a crowded street and greets people in his usual style and Diana, the new Princess, proceeds down the other side glowing and touching and crouching in her distinctive new way. Occasionally, the couple switch sides, which means that the people waiting their turn are never sure if they are going to get personal contact with Charles or Diana. And every time the switch is made, the side of the street that is about to get Charles sighs with audible disappointment.

As Tina Brown tells it, Diana's superior popularity gets to Charles. It's not the only thing that wrecks the marriage, which was never on solid ground, but it's one of the many things.

What is it like for a man to suddenly find himself conspicuously upstaged and outloved by a woman that he picked out of near-obscurity to stand by him? Can he see it as his own great good fortune and benefit from the positive value, or does it eat at him, sour him, and ruin everything?

Charles, we know, blew it. He retreated into the arms of his comfortable old friend, Camilla Parker-Bowles, the woman he'd wanted all along, whom the family would not allow him to marry.

We don't know how John McCain will handle the country's dazzling, out-of-proportion love for Sarah Palin... other than that we can be quite sure that he won't retreat into the comfortable arms of Joe Lieberman.

57 comments:

zeek said...

Isn't this fear of overshadowing the real reason Obama didn't pick Clinton as his running mate?

rhhardin said...

To me, it's a story of women identifying.

John and Ken (KFI) deal with women callers long ago on what the hell is going on with Princess Di

real audio 1
real audio 2

The latter includes essentially a reading of this NYT piece by Jane Gross.

LarsPorsena said...

Reminds me of the Jackie Kennedy frenzy of the 60's. During a state visit to Paris the French went wild over Jackie with JFK getting lost in the shuffle and being consistently upstaged.
JFK later opened a press conference with the line "I'm the man who is escorting Mrs Kennedy."

McCain should milk this for humor in some self-deprecating way.

bill said...

For an interesting twist on Charles and Diana, read Mark Helprin's Freddy and Fredericka. THe Googlebook description:

"Freddy is the Prince of Wales, Fredericka his troublesome wife. An overeducated, bumbling anachronism, Freddy commits one glorious gaffe after another, for which he is massacred daily in the British press. Golden-haired Fredericka is frivolous, empty-headed, and fond of wearing spectacular clothing with revealing necklines. Because of the epic public relations disasters caused by these wayward heirs to the throne, they are sent, in a little-known ancient tradition, on a quest to colonise a strange and barbarous land: America. In a tour (de force) of the United States, they are parachuted into the gleaming hell of industrial New Jersey and make their way across the country - riding freight trains, washing dishes, stealing art, gliding down the Mississippi, impersonating dentists, fighting forest fires, and becoming ineluctably enmeshed in the madness of a presidential campaign.


"...Do not upstage the queen of England. And," he said, raising his finger, "with a bosom, no less."

"What?"

"Your bosom."

"Why do you say that, Freddy? Why do you talk that way?"

"Because," said Freddy, with the urgency of a hunstman who has got his fox in a barrel, "it is a fact in brilliance that you upstage the queen, the duke, me, my brother, my sister, the monarchy itself, indeed, the whole bloody country, with--what?--a bosom?"

"A bosom?"

"Yes, a bosom?"

"But Freddy, why do you say that? You know I've got two."

This shut Feddy up like a stun grenade. "Two what?" he finally said.

"Two bosoms."

"No you don't, you've got one bosom. One, only one."

"No I don't, I've got two," she said proudly, holding a hand up to cup one breast, and then another. "One here, and one here. Sit down, Freddy. Sit down there."

Freddy complied.

Brent said...

We don't know how John McCain will handle the country's dazzling, out-of-proportion love for Sarah Palin...

By toasting her addition to the ticket from the Oval Office next January 20.

Trevor Jackson said...

"His hand is wrinkled but not rough, surprisingly soft, in fact, obviously well-manicured, and fragrant with lanolin."

That's probably hand sanitizer.

SteveR said...

Camilla Parker Bowles.

Wurly said...
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Roger J. said...

I think John McCain is comfortable enough to let Sarah Palin take the limelight, If he isnt, he really is a fool. So far the team strategy has worked very well for them. Do not change a winning combination.

On another note, after reading the reaction to pigs and lipstick, sure glad I was out of town and away from the blogosphere! My only thought was that I would love to see if women perceived the comment differently from men. If so, Obama didn't help himself. 53 days to go till the general--I keep thinking it can't get worse, but I am not optimistic.

George said...

"We're going to finally start getting things done for the people who are counting on us, and I won't care who gets the credit.

I've been an imperfect servant of my country for many years. But I have been her servant first, last and always....

I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else's. I loved it not just for the many comforts of life here. I loved it for its decency; for its faith in the wisdom, justice and goodness of its people. I loved it because it was not just a place, but an idea, a cause worth fighting for. I was never the same again. I wasn't my own man anymore. I was my country's.

I'm not running for president because I think I'm blessed with such personal greatness that history has anointed me to save our country in its hour of need. My country saved me. My country saved me, and I cannot forget it. And I will fight for her for as long as I draw breath, so help me God."

The contrasts between McCain and Obama could not be clearer.

Bob said...

Could you imagine the screams from Hillary and the Left if, in 2011, John McCain retired/resigned as President and turned the job over to Sarah? She'd have an entire year to act as the real President, and would go into the 2012 campaign as the incumbent, always an advantage.

The Absolute Advantage said...

Come on now CNN... not that this story is really news anyway, but are you that afraid of portraying the Obama campaign in a negative light that you have to take the link to Biden's gaffe down?

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2008/09/10/biden-hillary-might-have-been-better-vp-pick/

http://elections.foxnews.com/2008/09/10/biden-hillary-clinton-might-have-been-a-better-pick-for-vp/

Peter V. Bella said...

In the mean time Obama is campaigning alone against Palin. People are starting to play that educational kid's game with the new name; "Where in the World is Joe Biden?"

Trevor Jackson said...

"The contrasts between McCain and Obama could not be clearer."

George, I completely agree.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

We don't know how John McCain will handle the country's dazzling, out-of-proportion love for Sarah Palin... other than that we can be quite sure that he won't retreat into the comfortable arms of Joe Lieberman.

OMG!! Ann, you owe me a new keyboard, I spewed coffee all over from laughing so hard. Thanks for a mental image that made me laugh early in the morning.

Meade said...

You can put lipstick on Joe Lieberman but even that won't make RHHarding want to ask him to the prom.

AllenS said...

"Where in the World is Joe Biden?"

He's trying to get people in wheelchairs to stand up. It's a hard job, but somebodys gotta do it.

Peter V. Bella said...

Mccain knew going in what would happen and it was probably planned. He also seems to be someon who cand leive with his decisions. He needed some one to charge his campaign up and excite people. He needed someone who real, hard working people can identify with. He also needed someone who would be the new face of the Republican Party. Mccain made a choice and it was a good one.

Contrast Obama who picked boring. Mccain picked the HDTV, the future. Obama picked B&W TV, antiquity. Obama picked a Washington insider, who is entrenched in the system. He picked someone who cannot even give a decent speech with out rambling on and on and on.

I find it amusing that Palin is so popular that the Democratic presidential candidate finds himself campaigning her instead of McCain; all alone.


I wonder who Obama is really going to debate, if there is one?

CarmelaMotto said...

I hate to be a nerd, but it wasn't that the family wouldn't allow Charles to marry Camilla. He dithered as is his way, with Lord Mountbatten encouraging him to sow his wild oats and wait. He went off to serve in the navy and rather than waiting around for what may never happen for years, she married Andrew Parker-Bowles.

I was a total Diana/euro-royalfile when I was a girl.

Zach said...

It strikes me that how the candidates relate to women as rivals and potential allies is actually a pretty legitimate issue. Obama, for one, hasn't been at his best running against a woman -- the unnecessary jokes, the "former mayor" (instead of "sitting governor") stuff, the two-week fight with the opposition's #2 candidate. Then you have the bitterness with Hillary. There's an element of picking fights to the whole business.

It will be interesting to see how McCain reacts. This kind of stuff -- winning friends or making enemies, forming a team or choosing up sides -- is a form of political skill that's important for governance but doesn't affect campaigns directly.

Peter V. Bella said...

McCain picked the pit bull with lipstick.

Obama picked the pig in the poke.

William said...

This, the press said, was McCain's first Presidential decision and shows beyond doubt how rash and intemperate he is. The decision turned out to be uncommonly canny. This does not show how shrewd or wise his judgement is. It only shows what a pale figure he is to be outshone by this neophyte....It is important to remember that Republicans can only make bad decisions that reflect their bad characters. Only the negative is true. If a President, like Bush, has not served in combat this is a relection of his character. If a candidate, like McCain, is a proven hero then that is irrelevant to the office of President, and, if he should mention it, a symptom of braggadacio and issue dodging.....They say Ginger gave Fred sex appeal and Fred gave Ginger class. McCain gives Palin sagacity, and she gives him energy. Cute couple.

CarmelaMotto said...

And McCain seems thrilled with the results.

Also, I don't think Charles was jealous immediately (Wales being their first tour in Oct 81), but I think after a year he really thought things would go back to normal and she would fade into the baground.

Therefore, if McCain is elected President and everyone STILL only talks about Palin or wants her opinion over his, THEN we may see some damaged male ego which is what happened to Charles.

If McCain becomes POTUS, Sarah will most likely fade.

Ann Althouse said...

LarsPorsena said..."Reminds me of the Jackie Kennedy frenzy of the 60's. During a state visit to Paris the French went wild over Jackie with JFK getting lost in the shuffle and being consistently upstaged. JFK later opened a press conference with the line "I'm the man who is escorting Mrs Kennedy." McCain should milk this for humor in some self-deprecating way."

Yes, exactly. Tina Brown makes that connection too and faults Charles for not dealing with it the way JFK did.

rhhardin said...

Meade: rhhardin. No g. What's the point of posting under your own name if people don't spell it right.

The remaining rooster, though not tame, apparently is lonely and wanders nearby when I'm out scything the lawn, to be with another rooster I guess.

It's scythomania.

Der Hahn said...

Therefore, if McCain is elected President and everyone STILL only talks about Palin or wants her opinion over his, THEN we may see some damaged male ego which is what happened to Charles.

I doubt that would happen. McCain would be 'the decider' and the natural focus of attention.

In relation to Charles and Di, I wonder if their relationship would have been better if the Queen passed the throne to Charles, say, shortly after the birth of his son.

In the campaign, what gets rewarded with attention is star power. Palin, like Di, has got it. McCain, unlike Charles, is going to gain *real* power if he's elected.

Peter V. Bella said...

The remaining rooster, though not tame, apparently is lonely and wanders nearby when I'm out scything the lawn, to be with another rooster I guess.

Gay roosters? Who’a thunk.

PatCA said...

I have thought of the Charles/Diana comparison too. I think McCain has more maturity than Charles, though! And Palin seems to get it and always acts like the faithful opening act.

bob said...
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bob said...

What strikes me - amusingly - is the surprise? of the Feminists, the "feminists", the feminists, and Ann's oft-noted academic male pseudo-fellow-travelers at McCain's comfort (subsumed ego?) with a competent female partner.

In the red states, and even in Paglia's heartland, every one of us knows 100 'Sarah Palin': respectfully, competently balancing 'life', and living it fully: wryly and optimistically.

bearbee said...

if McCain is elected President and everyone STILL only talks about Palin or wants her opinion over his...

The country faces too many problems to have people continue to focus on Palin. It has to get back to issues and drop the politicians-as-celebrities addiction.

ET and all those other crap celebrity shows should deep-sixed.

Meade said...

"Meade: rhhardin. No g. What's the point of posting under your own name if people don't spell it right"

So you mean, given the right shade of lipstick (say, carmine), you would actually take Joe Lieberman to the prom?

I hope you know that's going completely freak out Trooper York.

Methadras said...

I think at this moment in time leading into the home stretch, the last thing is going to worry about is being shown up by his VP pick. He's probably still as cheery-eyes and dopey and reeling from the general adoration that the public is heaping on her and having it splash onto him.

jdeeripper said...

We don't know how John McCain will handle the country's dazzling, out-of-proportion love for Sarah Palin... other than that we can be quite sure that he won't retreat into the comfortable arms of Joe Lieberman.

Yeah, forget Lieberman. But keep your eye on Lindsey Graham.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Didn't St. Ronaldus Magnus have a sign on his desk that read something like there's no limit to what you can accomplish if you don't care who gets the credit?

Trooper York said...

"The remaining rooster, though not tame, apparently is lonely and wanders nearby when I'm out scything the lawn, to be with another rooster I guess.

It's scythomania."

RH you freak me out dude.

vbspurs said...

To me, it's a story of women identifying.

Possibly, except to mention that:

1- A lot of men are attracted to Palin too, and I think, will continue to be attracted to her longer than they were with Diana

a. These are straight men, not gay men like in Diana's case

b. It may be a sexual thing, but I think men dig strong women too

2- I personally loathed Diana. I'm sorry she died the way she did, but she was everything Sarah Palin is not -- flashy, emotionally needy, unwilling to sacrifice

3- Royalty is about birth and privilege. Politics is about grits and guts. The former is decorous, the latter nasty.

By definition, we're speaking of two very different types of women that spring from two very different kinds of ambitions. I'm not referring to Princess Diana and Sarah Palin here, but about any woman who seeks political office.

IF, however, you wish to make a correlation between a royal woman and a commoner, look no farther than Princess Anne.

She is almost like Sarah Palin -- tough, no nonsense, the apple of her curmudgeonly father's eye, dutiful, patriotic, and utterly, utterly unlovable.

I'm guessing this is one of the reasons many women like Sarah Palin. She's lovable. She's beautiful. And she's powerful.

I look at Palin and see a woman of action and accomplishments, not of hopes, dreams and fairy tales.

And I dig _that_.

Cheers,
Victoria

rhhardin said...

Roosters hang out together. When there were seven of them, they'd set off together in the morning with a single mind for this or that feeding ground.

This in spite of bloody fights between them. Regular birds split and find separate territories. Roosters stay and fight.

They also have room for only a single idea at once.

Hens may be more complex. I can't say. The unknown egg farmer kept the hens.

vbspurs said...

Therefore, if McCain is elected President and everyone STILL only talks about Palin or wants her opinion over his, THEN we may see some damaged male ego which is what happened to Charles.

You know, I liked both your commentaries, Carmela, but in McCain's case his ego was broken, not once but repeatedly.

Speaking of needy, Charles is the ultimate in needy, in that lame, effeminate, it's-all-about-me Boomer male way. Diana provoked a kind of existential crisis in him, as he became middle-aged with a vomiting virago who the crowds never saw that way, by his side.

I may be way wrong, but I just don't see McCain this way at all. His mother, wife, and kids admire him, and have for a long time. He's a centered man.

He seems almost abjectly grateful for what Palin has done to his campaign. It's made him more determined. You can see shades of this here.

Cheers,
Victoria

rhhardin said...

vb, the similarity is between women's attachment to Diana and Palin than between the two themselves.

I'm taking John and Ken's callers' accounts of how important Diana was, against John's very reasonable arguments about her triviality; and the NYT article's account.

Now there are newspaper accounts of Palin's representing real women in America, which is likely to be an internal identification and not a reporter's dream.

I favor Palin - hoping she can puncture gasbag reporters. Her voice is a little irritating, but perhaps it can be endured. It will be bad if it takes up the party line, I have to say.

Kirk Parker said...

Ruth Anne Adams,

Yep, the "I won't care who gets the credit" line most definitely echos Reagan.

bill,

Re: "Freddy and Fredericka"--are you sure that's by Helperin? It sounds positively Wodehousian to me!

rightwingprof said...

The reporter either didn't stay and pay attention, or just didn't want to mention it. I went to the rally in Washington, PA the day after the announcement. First, they have a powerful chemistry. She enthusiastically admires him, and he beams like a proud father. And she's rubbing off on him. He's getting back all of that feisty energy he had seemed to lose. Second, she is a powerful support for McCain, and although at the beginning, people may have been primarily interested in her, by the end, they are enthused about Johnny Mac as well. They work very well together. I was glad to hear that they're going to continue joint rallies.

vbspurs said...

I favor Palin - hoping she can puncture gasbag reporters. Her voice is a little irritating, but perhaps it can be endured.

I've noticed that if you DON'T put a speech in front of her, she becomes girlish and absolutely delightful to hear. Her stump speech in Colorado Springs, which I have featured on my blog, grated on me. It was a digested, rote piece.

I was watching her arrive in Fairbanks last night, and the lady gave a similar speech -- but with a panache that startled even me.

What happened? Alaska. Home. Family.

It will be bad if it takes up the party line, I have to say.

I agree. But she's on topic, and on message because truly, McCain and Palin are kindered spirits.

He becomes a little more conservative with her, and she a little more liberal politically. It's a feeling I get, when watching them.

Cheers,
Victoria

peter hoh said...

of course they are going to keep holding joint rallies. Were they to do otherwise, I suspect that crowds would be bigger at Palin's events than McCain's.

She's the draw. He gets the votes.

The only question is, with Palin as an option, why was McCain still considering Lieberman in August?

AllenS said...

Yesterday, I bought and drove home a Farmall Super M tractor. This puts my total tractor ownership at 4. A man can't have too many tractors.

Trooper York said...

Journalist #1: Do you have any other pig parts?
Penelope: No!
Journalist #2: With such a large nose, do you smell better than the rest of us?
Penelope: [laughs] You tell me.
Journalist #1: Well why do insist on wearing lipstick? It doesn’t make you look any better.
Penelope: I might want to run for office someday.
(Penelope, 2008)

vbspurs said...

The only question is, with Palin as an option, why was McCain still considering Lieberman in August?

I can't prove this, but it must've seemed more "maverick-y" to him than choosing a woman, since a woman had figured prominently in 2008.

Just imagine, the guy who was Gore's VP in 2000, now the Republican nominee for VP a scant 8 years later!

That's a big mud-in-your-eye moment, if only to him and some less comically-gifted Democrats.

And of course, he trusts dear Joe. He liked Palin when he met her, but he didn't know her like he knew his Senate pal.

Commentators called choosing Palin a Hail Mary pass. To me, this shows a liberal bias. Only they would think of choosing a woman.

But I think he chose her out of strength, courage, and being able to judge a person's character in split seconds.

In retrospect, I wouldn't have voted for a McCain/Lieberman ticket. Nope. Don't know what I would've done, or others in my position. But that lever wouldn't have been pulled by me.

Come this November 4, God willing, I will personally chauffeur every last one of my mother's elderly Jewish friends to the polls. They're all for McCain and they love Palin already.

Oliver said...

Sarah Palin, shes does act like this:

http://www.mydamnchannel.com/Daily_Grace/Week_22/MondaySeptember8th_902.aspx

bill said...

Kirk Parker said...
bill,

Re: "Freddy and Fredericka"--are you sure that's by Helperin? It sounds positively Wodehousian to me!


I typed Helprin, not Helperin. Mark Helprin. Perhaps you are thinking of someone else? There is a Mark Halperin.

MadisonMan said...

I've sometimes wondered: Why call it a Hail Mary? Well, I know where the Hail Mary (full of grace, etc. etc.) comes from, but was the person who first coined the phrase a little sexist? I mean, he used the term to describe a play in macho football, and I think describing it using a woman in that context is a little odd. As in -- they couldn't get the job done the old fashioned way with brute force and muscle. What girly-girls!

Why not St. Peter? He's the one who opens up the Pearly Gates for you.

I guess a Hail Peter pass, though, might be construed as some oblique reference to looking at another guy's dick. Can't have that in the football locker room!

MadisonMan said...

Well, I should have checked wikipedia, holder of all knowledge! wiki says Roger Staubach (not a member of the WORLD CHAMPION NEW YORK GIANTS) coined the term. Threw a long pass, said a prayer.

Never Mind.

bearbee said...

According to Palin's dad she showed grit at early age

vbspurs said...

Why not St. Peter? He's the one who opens up the Pearly Gates for you.

Apart from not wanting a bird's eye view of the saintly schlong, I'm guessing it's to do with the secret of Mariolatry.

IOW, when all hope is lost, you turn to mama, not to dad.

Cheers,
Victoria

blake said...

McCain seems to be playing this right. He needs to get people to listen to him, and it was really easy to write him off before he picked Palin. She does an excellent job of building him up. Then he gets to be humble.

Most of the analyses I read beforehand suggested he should have played it safe, and that it was Obama who needed the bold choice, because BHO wasn't leading like he should've been.

Instead, Barry picks the safe, boring choice, and McCain throws the Hail Mary!

It'll be fun, after the election, to read about the decision-making process.

Kirk Parker said...

bill,

Sorry for the confusion as a result of my typo.

I just meant to compare--favorably--Helprin's work that you quoted to P.G. Wodehouse (the master of this sort of hilarious confusion.)

bill said...

Kirk, I thought that's what you meant, but I have seen confusion over the name before. Would Wodehouse write this (from the same novel):

"Excuse me," Freddy told them, "I wonder if you've seen my dog Pha-Kew."

"No, I haven't seen your dog, and fuck you," was the answer.

"No, no, no," Freddy said. "You don't understand -- Pha-Kew?"

"But yes, yes, yes, we do understand. Fuck you!"

"The name of my dog," Freddy said, laughing, and then pausing, "is...Pha-Kew."

"If you don't want to tell us the name of your dog," the other man said, "then fuck you, too."

"But I do want to tell you the name of my dog. I've been telling you the name of my dog."

"Oh really? What is it?"

"Pha-Kew."

"Fuck you too, and can go to hell, you royal bastard!"

Kirk Parker said...

Bill,

Wodehouse certainly wouldn't have written that using those terms (the very thought!) but that kind of thing was very much his stock in trade.