November 14, 2009

"Palin depicts the McCain campaign as overscripted, defeatist, disorganized and dunder-headed..."

"... slow to shift focus from the Iraq war to the cratering economy, insufficiently tough on Mr. Obama and contradictory in its media strategy."

Michiko Kakutani reviews Sarah Palin's memoir:
All in all, Ms. Palin emerges from “Going Rogue” as an eager player in the blame game, thoroughly ungrateful toward the McCain campaign for putting her on the national stage. As for the McCain campaign, it often feels like a desperate and cynical operation, willing to make a risky Hail Mary pass in order to try to score a tactical win, instead of making a considered judgment as to who might be genuinely qualified to sit a heartbeat away from the Oval Office.


Dark Eden said...

Let me paraphrase every MSM review:

“I hated Palin before the book, and I still hate her. I read the book for things to use against her and here’s what I found.”

blake said...

How dare you not worship McCain for bringing you to our ever-loving attention!

wv: sychi

(More than one sycho.)

SteveR said...

I am not real interested in her story on the McCain campaign, Its pretty clear what happened. Picking Palin was a shot in the dark that missed. There was no one else that could have made it any closer.

It was really about how the Republican party self destructed and let the media run with the story they longed to tell.

PatCA said...

"and just how thoroughly colorful personal narratives overshadow policy arguments and actual knowledge.”

Oh, the NYT meant Palin? :)

miller said...

I don't think there will be a single surprising interview/review.

Those who dislike Palin will find nothing to change their minds; those who like Palin will find nothing to change their assessment.

Really, why would anyone even read a review? It will simply be the same words, repeated over and over, but just rearranged according to style and temperament.

lucid said...

I am not crazy about Palin, but I am so tired of the same old crap from the NY-Behind-the-Times. Can't they they think of an original take on anything?

BTW, if I have to watch their utterly obnoxious ("I'm fluent in three sections"), hyper-metrosexual tv ad for much longer, i am going to scream. The only funny thing about it is that they are constantly running it on Fox.

wv: unestin--crunchy term for getting a divorce.

Chip Ahoy said...

This is so interesting! No really, I mean it. Why it makes me want to put that book on my Amazon wish list, it sure does. Or perhaps I could preorder it. Here, let me check this on my interest meter and make sure.

peter hoh said...

I really want to know what Dakota Fanning thinks of Kakutani's review of Palin's book.

tom faranda said...

Ann, Spare us. You're quoting from the NY Times review? To suggest that this is a legit review is beneath you.

Meanwhile, it's already a monster bestseller.

Synova said...

This is what is bugging me about EVERYONE lately.

No one remembers what the McCain campaign was like. So Palin describing what we all saw and understood to be true AT THE TIME is playing the blame game? So anyone who didn't vote for McCain needs to wallow in remorse?

Palin was a "minority" pick to color up the ticket. (I'm convinced that Jindal was the other possibility but a hurricane his New Orleans that week.) We know that. McCain was so afraid of getting called a racist that he refused to even run against Obama. And as various people have pointed out, McCain was a crappy candidate besides. He didn't get anyone excited about anything and didn't have a coherent conservative or even moderate message to present.

McCain was doing just what everyone decided was the "cure" afterward for the Republicans loosing... he presented bland centrist pablum. It didn't work then, why should it work now?

People who weren't going to vote a Republican ticket anyway hated Palin for appealing to the conservative base and for actually running against her opponent, or for wearing tacky earrings. It was hard to tell.

So we're told to shun her or anyone like her. Go for moderate, centrist, mealy mouthed civilized persons that no one could possibly object to.

And you know... I wonder just how *grateful* Palin should be toward McCain. Yes, it was her choice. She could have said no.

Something I did miss was McCain ripping some newsie or the opposition a new one for their treatment of Palin OR her children.

Show some fire in her defense.

Did I just miss that?

Yes... terrible of Sarah to be so ungrateful!

David said...

Running against McCain was another piece of Obama luck. A terrible candidate, McCain.

Mark said...

If McCain had stood up for Palin at any point, this might bother me.

He never has, and it doesn't.

miller said...

Synova, you hit the nail with that one: McCain's failure to defend his running mate was, to me, a sign that he would not do the hard thing when confronted by difficulties. He could not speak up for Palin in a campaign: how would he handle it when the press began to go after him as President?

I think he would have been a weak President -- but at least he would not have bowed to the emperor of Japan, and he would not be pushing a plan to take over the American economy.

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Stodder said...

Why is "the blame game" always considered a bad thing?

If an event occurs, and one of two people were responsible for it, and they blame each other, one of them is right and the other is lying. If the one who is right didn't speak up, the accepted story would be the liar's. But it always seems to happen that when the falsely accused person affixes the blame where it belongs, they're accused of "playing the blame game."

Did McCain's people screw up the campaign? Yes. Many have said this. The NY Times has said this. But if Palin says's "the blame game."

I dunno. It's a tic of political writers, one of many journalistic conventions I'm thoroughly sick of.

John Lynch said...

McCain lost.

But we are still talking about Sarah Palin.

So, it seems to me, she did a lot better than he did, didn't she?

Theo Boehm said...

I haven't read the book yet, but it seems to me what Palin has going here is a "Mr. Smith goes to Washington" thing.

Althouse and others may criticize her for at once being both insufficiently subservient and overly Machiavellian during the campaign. But it seems to me she's playing the Jimmy Stewart role rather well in its aftermath.

McCain is being cast in the part of "Happy" Hopper, the stooge governor who picks the Jimmy Stewart character, "Jefferson Smith," partly by a coin toss, and partly because of his popular image as head of the "Boy Rangers," calculating that Smith's naiveté will make him easy to manipulate.

Smith is honest and forthright, but in fact naive. He is duped at several turns and makes a fool of himself, with the Washington press jumping all over him as being a bumpkin and not prepared to be a Senator.

Sound familiar, so far?

Manipulated and indeed framed for corruption by the political machine back in "the state," Smith carries on a filibuster to postpone a graft-filled works bill and prove his innocence. He prevails in the end by sheer moral force of character. He collapses on the Senate floor, but the corrupt senior Senator from his state who had betrayed him is so guilt-stricken that he tries to commit suicide and then confesses all to the Senate.

I'm not sure what Althouse would say about Jefferson Smith, who finally went rogue on a corrupt political operation that raised him to prominence, but who was far too naive and weak in the beginning, and, in the end, depended on the guilt of others to save him.

Jimmy Stewart as the original girly-man, eh?

These sorts of Perry Mason endings of course never happen in reality, but the rest of the plot has in fact occurred one way or another at various times. It looks like Palin is trying to weave the best parts of the Mr. Smith story into her own, not expecting, I hope, anyone to attempt suicide because of the way they treated her. There would be far too many press corpses if that were to happen.

No, Palin, I think, is going to emphasize her character and forthright adherence to core values and principles when she found herself amongst the serpents of the corrupt snake pit of national politics.

So far, I don't see what she has written as whining, so much as a way to contrast her own moral courage with its want in others, starting with the slimy bastards running the McCain campaign.

This is not complaint but choosing a steed to ride into national politics as our Joan of Arc.

Althouse would have her more Machiavellian. I am reminded of Frederick the Great, who, as Prince, wrote an "Anti-Machiavell," to the applause of Voltaire and much of the rest of polite Europe, who saw at last a monarch to their enlightened tastes. Of course, Frederick immediately launched a war to steal Silesia when he had consolidated power, and thereafter behaved in ways to make a Machiavelli blush.

I'm hoping in the end that Princess Sarah has more of Frederick's strategic hypocrisy and less of Mr. Smith's fine character, because, let's face it, Machiavelli wasn't wrong about very much.

So it looks she's planning on riding in as Jimmy Stewart of Arc, and staying on as Fredrick the Soccer Mom, which, everything considered, may not be the worst outcome. At least for a while.

Synova said...

"I think he would have been a weak President -- but at least he would not have bowed to the emperor of Japan, and he would not be pushing a plan to take over the American economy."

And he might have decided what to do in Afghanistan by now as well.

"Not as bad as Obama" is pretty faint praise, though.

Kensington said...

Clearly McCain's campaign was defeatist. I don't know exactly when he threw in the towel, but by the end of it, I and my fellows in Pennsylvania were working harder than he was, going door to door, making phone calls, drinking all the McCain Kool-Aid we could get our hands on.

"Will you fight with me?" he asked. "Yes!" we answered on our way into battle, and then he would go on TV and talk about what a fine president Obama would make.

I still sometimes think McCain ran a stealth suicide campaign as payback for what he feels the GOP did to him in 2000, purposefully taking down one of the GOP's brightest prospects in the process.

blake said...


I'm embarrassed I didn't see that.

I've watched that movie a dozen times.

Of course, Capra's newspapers were controlled by a bad ol' businessman, not ideological fellow travelers.

Though they are just as thuggish.

Seneca the Younger said...

instead of making a considered judgment as to who might be genuinely qualified to sit a heartbeat away from the Oval Office.

Somehow, considering the current occupant, this rings kind of hollow.

Kensington said...

I do think it will be uphill battle for any Republican candidate of any value. In order to do any good for the country, they're going to have to have a message of common sense, which will involve making the case that the government simply can't give everyone everything they want, and that, unfortunately, will be a non-starter for a horribly large percentage of voters.

The Democrats, of course, will be able to continue pretending that they are Santa Claus, and who doesn't love Santa Claus?

Theo Boehm said...

You don't love Santa Claus if his breath smells of Sen-Sen and he has the shakes and you get nothing but crap presents in the end.

Kensington said...

But that's the genius of the Democrats. They give you coal and then scream that the Republicans stole the good presents.

That is why, even if Obama turns out to be the utter disaster he's already suggesting himself to be, they won't hesitate to try it all again with their next "Obama."

Fred4Pres said...

McCain? McCain is finished. We have Obama to worry about now.

peter hoh said...

I'm sorry, but what was Medicare, Part D, if not for the GOP playing Santa to a large voting bloc?

Kensington said...

Peter Hoh:
"I'm sorry, but what was Medicare, Part D, if not for the GOP playing Santa to a large voting bloc."

You're absolutely right, and it was one of George W. Bush's worst moments. The point is, that was the GOP trying to act like Democrats, and it was a mistake.

Now, if the GOP comes to its senses, it won't do anything like that ever again. On the other hand, that kind of overreach is business as usual for the Democrats -- it's the kind of thing they strive to do all the time when they are adhering to their principals.

Penny said...

Is anyone else tired of "spin"?

Penny said...

Me either!

peter hoh said...

Kensington wrote: if the GOP comes to its senses, it won't do anything like that ever again.

That's a mighty big if.

"Please return us to power and we won't screw up like we did last time" is hardly a compelling campaign slogan.

What the GOP needs is a new contract with America, but that's going to make people think about how Congress failed to act on most of the planks in the last one, once Gingrich assumed leadership of the House.

But I'm not holding out much hope for a new contract with America, built on conservative principles. I expect to see more Santa for Seniors, like Michael Steele's Seniors Bill of Rights.

dick said...

And what do you think the Dems will offer the voting public. It seems to me that what the Republicans offer the public is a whole lot better deal than what the Dems are offering and are trying to cram down our throats "for the good of the public." I'll take the Republican version any day. I would prefer a new Contract with America but I would still take what is being offered now in preference to what Zero is offering us with the aid and assistance and insistence of Pelosi/Reid.

dick said...

I would also disregard any book review by Michiko Kakutani that has anything to do with conservative politics. She is a stone lefty who hates anyone who dares to write a conservative book. She damns them all to hell as being beyond the pale of civilized America. I wouldn't trust her judgment for a millisecond.

Freder Frederson said...

those who like Palin will find nothing to change their assessment.

I don't know about this. Ann was a fan of Palin, but Palin's book made Ann believe that Palin is "dumb".

(Now I am sure Ann will come back and say she was never a fan of Palin but maintained "cruel neutrality" and demand I apologize. Of course this illusion of "cruel neutrality" is delusional on Ann's part.

vbspurs said...

Are you kidding? Ann was as much a fan of Palin as I am of Obama. One of the reasons I went AWOL on the blog was the constant "Down on Palin" sentiment. Just because when Governor Palin was rolled out, Ann said she was "near tears", doesn't mean she didn't change her opinion of her (it happened around the time of the Hilton Head wedding).

That's a looooong time ago.


vbspurs said...


Remember that Bobblehead 111th Congress Apple app that was rejected? It's finally been approved!! I just bought it.

Click here to launch iTunes to buy it

99 cents.

One of the very few apps out there by a vocal conservative. I would support him only for that, but it so happens the caricatures and info are absolutely fantastic.


blake said...

One of the very few apps out there by a vocal conservative.

Maybe that's why the app was rejected.

vbspurs said...

Apple have a horrible track record of being inconsistent when rejecting apps, Blake.

Apple are 100% liberal. They show that in pushing every vegan-alternative-progressive app in their "Staff Favourites" section. That is certain. But they're also a business -- and one which has flawed app submission criteria. Oftentimes an app is rejected for ephemeral reasons that might get them sued if accepted, before it is given a second look-see by an Apple team.

I think that's what happened here.

I doubt that this app, though, will make it to the "New and Noteworthy" section, let alone Staff Favourites.

If it does, yay.


rhhardin said...

There's no mention of McCain's strong but compeltely random sense of personal honor.

Cedarford said...

SteveR said...
I am not real interested in her story on the McCain campaign, Its pretty clear what happened. Picking Palin was a shot in the dark that missed. There was no one else that could have made it any closer.
It was really about how the Republican party self destructed and let the media run with the story they longed to tell.

It started when Republicans imposed religious purity tests and rejected Romney and Giuliani in part on that. And their prediliction for giving a particular person who looks really bad for a particular Presidential election year a shot. But something Republicans have not done much of recently after Nixon rebuilt the Party as centrist-conservative after the Goldwater debacle. You had them go down preferring a week caretaker President (Ford) over Reagan in 1976 - then the bad Bob Dole campaign in 1996 (Bob Dole says Bob Dole is owed his shot).

But only 2 in 40 years until long as you conceed a bad Bush II was saved in 2004 by Dems running a worse "man of service and honor" - Jean Claude Kerry.

McCain was picked over stronger candidates because conservatives split their votes between Romney, Huckabee, Fred Thompson and imposed weird litmus tests. As a "man of service and honor" running in part on POW Victimhood and more troops and more war...he temporarily bedazzled certain conservatives into momentarily forgetting his long record of betrayal and treachery in key primaries in SC, Florida, NH.

But all the old questions of McCain's mental readiness and his backstabbing of fellow Republicans re-emerged after his nomination was locked up. 2nd thoughts. McCain had conservatives and many centrists who nevertheless valued loyalty to fellow REpublicans with greatly diminished enthusiasm - given fears about McCains higher loyalty to whoever would put McCain on TV and speak well of him
and give him good PC grades.

IF we are honest, Republicans were more vulnerable than Gore was when in 2000 there was a "sick of the whole Clinton gang" sentiment afoot - given the fed-upness with the much worse President than Clinton, the widely scorned Bush II and his Corporatist and Neocon cronies.
It would have been tough without the Meltdown...but the meltdown was blamed mostly on Republicans.(In part because of McCain's incoherence - "look the economy is bad...but the Surge is what we should all talk about..we owe it to the noble Iraqis..." .."But I think if someone bought a 600,000 dollar house and can only afford a 300,000 mortgage that if government made up the difference, it would stabilize housing prices. )

But also on Bush doing a horrible job at the start "The market will bounce back, our economy is fundamentally sound, our business and financial private sector leadership is robust and working to resolve matters and I am closely working with them."

In this whole mess, there was little Palin could do. She had her Cult, and had drawn back in Fundies and other hardcores disgusted with McCain. But was woefully ill-equipped to talk economic issues beyond "drill baby drill" and discouraged from even trying by handlers that feared she would trip on some of McCains contradictory statements. And set back by past pablum she had said about more free trade, less regulation of business, more tax cuts for bankers Reaganomics talking points that were also looking real bad given circumstances.
And of course, that by the end of September, most independents and women had concluded she was not someone they wanted taking over from McCain if his momentary senior moments became permanent.

In hindsight, Republicans would have done a lot better with Romney or Fred Thompson heading the ticket and a solid, well-experience Kay Bailey Hutchinson as VP nominee. (McCain rejected her because of her spats with McCain's "great friend", Lindsay "the human weasel" Graham.

ricpic said...

Did anyone get the feeling that McCain didn't really want the presidency? His main goal was sticking it to other Republicans and by beating the other candidates for the nomination...mission accomplished. Everything after that was anticlimactic.

hdhouse said...

I hope and pray that someday the idiot right will stop buying what Ms. Moosemuffin is selling.

She is the poison of ignorance and greed rolled into the furball of entertainment tonight politics. My
God, she had an apologist on TV just yesterday explaining why Siberia was actually Russia but didn't know it.

Help I say. Help.

bearbee said...

....instead of making a considered judgment as to who might be genuinely qualified to sit a heartbeat away from the Oval Office.

Ha, ha.

So did we end up with someone genuinely qualified to sit not a heartbeat away from but in the Oval Office?

From WIKI Salman Rushdie has called her "a weird woman who seems to feel the need to alternately praise and spank."[8] In a June 2005 interview with Rolling Stone magazine, author Norman Mailer criticized Kakutani as a "one-woman kamikaze" (Kakutani is of Japanese descent) who "disdains white male authors" and deliberately "bring(s) out your review two weeks in advance of publication. She trashes it just to hurt sales and embarrass the author." Mailer also said that New York Times editors were "terrified" of Kakutani, and "can't fire her" because she's "a token," "an Asiatic, a feminist

AllenS said...

hdhouse said...

"Help I say. Help."

I'm glad you showed up, hd. As tax time approaches, I'd like some advice on how to use some of those tax loopholes. I'd bet Palin is so dumb, she couldn't give me that kind of information. With the economy going to hell, the last thing we need to do is pay more taxes.

Deborah said...

"Did anyone get the feeling that McCain didn't really want the presidency? His main goal was sticking it to other Republicans and by beating the other candidates for the nomination...mission accomplished. Everything after that was anticlimactic."

Yes, absolutely.

wv: goingla. The end of the McCain compaign.

Jason (the commenter) said...

I'll agree with Palin's assessment of the McCain campaign and add: they picked her.

traditionalguy said...

What a wonderful mess. The NYT anoints John McCain because he hates Republican voters and their famous guns and religion sentiments that favored nominating the young Bush in place of John the heroic compromiser. So NYT's favorite Republican McCain picks a lightweight woman from nowhere as VP and then he has to restrain her after she instantly becomes more popular than McCain or Obama. And the NYT is still angry about a silly robe woman named Palin is super popular and that was only possible because that old fool whom they selected gave her a chance. Bottomline is that they all underestimated Palin's skills but will never admit that in public, even after she is re-elected in 2016.

kentuckyliz said...

McCain gave up. He flat out gave up.

I kept changing my mind every five minutes about who to vote for. I admit, that smooth talk flattery speech noble ideas thing...I would think, what the hell, why not. But I would snap out of it and remember that you need a responsible adult running the country.

So my vote relied on which five minutes I was having when I stepped into the voting booth.

I'm wondering if it's all a rigged game from here on out, whether I should ever bother to vote again.

john said...

Kentuckyliz -

You should always bother to vote, but not just for the 5 minutes you spend in the booth.

For the drive to the poll, for the visible walk from your car into the building.

For the "I voted!" sticker you get to wear. (Your kids, your husband, your neighbors, and your co-workers all saw that sticker on your sweater.)

For the 6 months of angst you felt, and shared, prior to your vote.

For the year's worth of comments you wrote on various blogs, and letters to the editor.

You voted not because your single vote made a difference, but because you made a very public display of your engagement in the poilitical process - your real civic duty. It's the public part that's important, not the private part.

(Which is why I never vote absentee, and why I dread the move toward internet voting.)

Beta Conservative said...

Thr reviewer, like HD believes that anyone a heartbeat away from the Oval Office has to sound like a post modern college professor or a lefty pundit.

Those who come from the great unwashed are as unwelcome in a leadership role as a Republican at a Hollywood soiree.

The notion of "citizen politician" should not be dead. Turning the reigns over to the effete has resulted in economic disaster and will soon result in Foreign Policy debacle.

Let Obama return to Community Organizing (helping people demand the wealth of others).

Ane leave a little room for common sense in Washington.

paul a'barge said...

You know what's really frightening? Michiko Kakutani sitting a heartbeat away from a keyboard.

vbspurs said...

Although I feel kinda bad threadjacking, another OT:

You want to start off your Sunday with a great radio story?

Check out the story of Joe the Vegas limo driver, nephew of a billionaire, who gambled away his 5 million dollar fortune in five hours and starts each day with 32 dollars in his pocket. Click here for the audio (starts at 22:36 with Billy Preston's "Nothing from Nothing"...great R&B song!).

Trust me on this. Ambient story par excellence.


traditionalguy said...

The phrase "Dunder headed" must be Alaskan slang. In Alaska the weather and the distances and the need for a community that can be counted upon forms a terrible need for common sense need into every plan of action. A dunder head doesn't think that way. To Palin most of the PR control nuances of media manipulating are dunder headed. She walked right into the Couric and Gibson surprise attacks not realising that her peaceful Pearl Harbour life could be bombed out of existence that way. Now the Saracuda is back like the US navy at Midway and the surprised attackees are that same Old Media sinking from Facebook and Blog divebombings released on them from by their target herself.

kathleen said...

Calling Palin "ungrateful" is just another way of infantilizing her. This is not an actual "book review", it's just another venue for the media to bash Palin. And it's getting ... what's the word ... oh yeah, "dumb". not to mention, "dull".

TMink said...

The opening sentence of your post sums up the McCain campaign perfectly for me.


vet66 said...

I voted for McCain/Palin because I am a realist and pragmatic. HOPEnCHANGE was/is a pie-in-the-sky BS vision of OZ designed to capitalize on a nation tired of war.

Given the choices, I would rather base the security and prosperity of our country on the instincts of war hero and a female who can shoot and gut a moose than a Chi-town rabble rouser who markets self-loathing guilt among bi-coastal millionaires.

When Palin answered she can see Russia from where she lives that told me all I needed to know about her strategic bona fides. Of course I know what lies across the horizon from Alaska; Sakhalin Islands, Vladivostok, Petropavlovsk, and most of the Soviet Northern Fleet.

Like Ronald Reagan you underestimate him/her at your peril. Her detractors make the case for her everytime they resort to ad hominem attacks. They diminish themselves in their attacks because strong women like her spotlight their impotence.

The psychos and sociopatchs that lead rogue nations are laughing at BHO. Are they laughing at Palin? She gives them pause everytime she eats moose jerky.

MrBuddwing said...

Kind of funny to read conservatives dumping all over Michiko Kakatuni's review - considering how not a few of them rushed to embrace her when she dumped all over Bill Clinton's book, "My Life." (I recall someone on the radio, sitting in for Limbaugh, who kept admiringly referring to Kakatuni as a "he" - not aware that she's a she.)

vbspurs said...

Deborah wrote:

Yes, absolutely.

wv: goingla. The end of the McCain compaign.


I've run this idea of McCain not really wanting to win in my head since last November.

I keep changing my mind each time -- because I honestly don't think that someone gets that close to the US Presidency and doesn't want to win it all. But like many said in this thread, his entire candidacy seemed to be about sticking it to the Republican establishment as embodied in his mind by the Bushes and Romney.

FWIW, I think John McCain did want to win, but demurred from going from the jugular that ironically Americans like to see in their President. They don't elect Boy Scouts, because that will get us all killed or defeated. And like it or not, Obama's campaign was a MACHINE. It was ruthless. McCain's was utterly defanged because of his sense of "honour" and fratricidal when the going got rough.

If we're discussing something even harder to prove, but one gets a gut feeling about this, I personally feel that McCain didn't want to win with people like me putting him over the top -- conservative Republicans. He has a deep mistrust, even dislike for that sector. He wanted the Independents and conservative Democrats to break for him, and they just weren't going to. When he realised that, I think he gave up -- the last month of his campaign.

Do you guys remember his Concession speech at the Phoenix Biltmore? It was one of the best political speeches I've ever heard in my life -- elegant and gracious to the nth degree.

I wondered if his Acceptance speech was as tailored and in my heart I felt that there's no way it must have been.


Ricardo said...

Are the going to make the book into a movie? With Tina Fey? I'd go see it.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Ricardo: Are the going to make the book into a movie? With Tina Fey? I'd go see it.

Oh, me too!

Paul said...

vbspurs wrote: "He wanted the Independents and conservative Democrats to break for him, and they just weren't going to."

I agree that he really didn't want the votes of his base. He seemed to despise his base. When he kept talking about "Fight, fight, fight," I could only think of him constantly fighting his own team. He wanted a new Republican Party, one that the
Hispanics would support. Here he spent years alienating his base by his aggressive promotion of the Mexican reconquista, and he gets 31 percent of their vote? Talk about ungrateful! Moreover, had McCain won, the amnesty plan would be a top priority on his agenda, while with Obama I'm not sure it's going to make it to the table while he still has a Democrat majority.

miller said...

Oh, I know this is slightly off-topic, but I found this over at PW:

Awesome Prez!

HelenParr said...

Isn't a dunder-head the president of Dunder Mifflin?

Victoria: And let's not forget that McCain's big weakness is his overarching desire to be liked (by the cool kids).

Fred4Pres said...

Newsweek asks what are we going to do with a problem called Sarah Palin.

Funny, I remember they said that in the Sound of Music about the hero of the movie. Is Sarah Palin a problem for the country or just the left?

As for the McCain dust up, those McCain staffer hentchbitches (I am talking about Steve Schmidty in that group) should get ready for more humilation. Because they deserve it. As for Palin in 2012, who knows. I doubt it myself, but I am enjoying this a lot. And if Sarah can make a run for it, well I hope she does well.

Fred4Pres said...

An excellent comment on proper bow technique and Barack Obama's attempt at it:

Foreigners are not expected to bow, as they lack the requisite knowledge of the elaborate etiquette governing this for at least 1000 years.

This BHO bow, because of its degree of declination and the shamefully rounded back, is in Japanese eyes the bow of a crippled toilet attendant to his supreme master.
Posted by: Takuan Seiyo at November 14, 2009 12:19 PM

AlphaLiberal said...

The facts belie Palins' accounts.

The Associated Press fact checks the Palin book. Finds falsehoods.

It's interesting to observe whether her true believers bother to see if she is telling a true account.

AlphaLiberal said...

Is Sarah Palin a problem for the country or just the left? .

She's a problem for the right wing. She tells falsehoods and seeks to push your party to further extremes, driving out those who think for themselves.

But you want this person as your leader. Your choice.

Andrea said...

"Kind of funny to read conservatives dumping all over Michiko Kakatuni's review - considering how not a few of them rushed to embrace her when she dumped all over Bill Clinton's book, 'My Life.'"

So we should praise all her reviews from now on? I don't get your point. I mean, Dustin Hoffman was great in The Graduate, but no one thinks that means we should also praise his performance in Ishtar.

traditionalguy said...

Alpha Liberal...Thanks again. When will you be sending in that donation to Sara's campaign to insure a GOP loss? Come on man. that faux pity of you announce for the GOP's selecting Palin as a leader is so two weeks old... before the elections that showed amassive rising tide against the Illusionist President and the collectivist Democrats in the Congress. Sarah is all that you fear because she respects the individuals in America and not the collective blending of us into one world rule that recognises no such thing as an individual with rights, which is a tradition that Americans invented 220 years ago.

Andrea said...

AlphaBaboon: yeah, those are some falsehoods. I mean -- saying you hardly ever stayed at expensive hotels, and then staying this one time at an expensive hotel, is totally lying!

MrBuddwing said...

So we should praise all her reviews from now on? I don't get your point. I mean, Dustin Hoffman was great in The Graduate, but no one thinks that means we should also praise his performance in Ishtar.

Ah, but do you go around saying Dustin Hoffman is an excellent/worthless actor overall based solely on his latest performance? Or do you, as I suspect, have an opinion about Hoffman as an actor, and evaluate his performances individually?

Which is not what some of Michiko Kakatuni's detractors are doing. In keeping with the meme that the MSM is TOTALLY WORTHLESS AND UNTRUSTWORTHY (until it comes up with something the right can use), we are being told she has nothing to offer as a book reviewer (unless, of course, she bashes Bill Clinton's tome, in which case, they'll be glad to make an exception).

G Joubert said...

Of course McCain wanted to win. He just wanted to win his way, according to his own internalized set of values and sense of who he is. This included IMHO a strong desire to have won by acclamation. He didn't want to win by political means, by attacks on his opponent, or by playing political games or chicanery. He wanted his win to have been by the plurality of voters simply recognizing from the totality of the information out there that he was the superior candidate and who deserved to be president.

Would he have been better than Obama? Of course. But that's not saying much. Four years of McCain would've been four _more_ years of a RINO-type Republican in the presidency. This way is better in the long run.

miller said...

The "Right" is not monolithic.

A review of a book predictably slams an author is really not worth reading except perhaps to gloat.

Did you really think this reviewer would be fair or honest about Palin?

No, you did not. You knew what to expect.

Same with the book itself. It will not sway anyone's opinion. You who despise Palin will despise her still. You who admire her will admire her still.

Many people have their minds made up about Palin, using such gems as "I can see Russia from my house" as proof that she is dumb -- failing to understand or acknowledge that this is from a skit on SNL. They want so badly for it to be true that they abandon their objectivity.

More power to them, I suppose. These are the same kind of people who believed what MC President said in his campaigns or in his career speeches -- and yet see a president who dithers and squanders America's prestige.

I suppose what the leftist wanted was a book about unicorns and rainbows where nothing bad happened.

The most interesting thing about this is that someone who holds no elective office and has no official power is controlling the national debate.

We claim we are appalled by Palin and yet we are fascinated by her. We can't get enough.

Sounds like we're Palin co-dependents.

AlphaLiberal said...

Uh-huh. Sarah Palin is truthful.

And she was opposed to the Bridge to Nowhere.

And quitting is winning.

Follow her all you want. I don't care. The nation is well-served when the right wing is led by such a grifter.

miller said...

Well, you can't stop talking about her.

Shows you are enthralled.

Andrea said...

There's a saying, MrBudd: "a stopped clock is right twice a day." (For you kewl modern kids, that refers to the sort of old-fashioned clock that tells time with a "bid hand and a little hand.") So maybe she can be a spot-on reviewer occasionally. I have no idea -- I haven't read this review or any of her other reviews or if I have I don't remember them.

I do think that the "right," as you call it, should stop relying so much on the pro-news media for everything. We need to remember that getting information from the MSM is like getting information from Soviet-era Pravda -- you have to read between the lines, and even if it's something you like reading, you can't be entirely sure that it hasn't been told with a slant that is intended to make you think a certain way. In other words, if you read in the papers that the sun rises in the east, remember that actually, it rises a little north or south of the east depending upon the season, unless you are on the equator, and in fact, the sun doesn't rise at all: the earth turns to face the sun.

As for Dustin Hoffman, soon after The Graduate he seemed to fall into this shtick of being "the Dustin Hoffman," and basically played every part as himself. It's kind of like how, some time after Watergate, the pro-news media fell into this shtick of being The Media!, and have been playing themselves as if they are on a movie screen ever since.

AlphaLiberal said...

using such gems as "I can see Russia from my house" as proof that she is dumb .

No, that's the line that Tina Fey used in her skit.

Here is what she said that seems to be based on:
Charles Gibson: What insight into Russian actions, particularly in the last couple of weeks does the proximity of the state give you?

Sarah Palin: [Pause] They’re our next door neighbors, and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska.

Charles Gibson: What insight does that give you into what they’re doing in Georgia?

Sarah Palin: Well, I’m giving you that perspective into how small our world is and how important it is that we work with our allies to keep good relations with all of these countries, especially Russia.

It's a dumb answer. Just dumb.

miller said...

AL, I'll admit you can type - but you cannot read.

What I said was that some on the left use the line uttered by Tina Fey as proof that Palin said it.

You are changing the subject.

Nice try.

Fred4Pres said...

Rush declares Sarah Palin's book as very substantive on policy.

So there you go.

Andrea said...

No it isn't a dumb answer, Mr. Alpha, unless you think that we shouldn't in fact acknowledge that our world is smaller than ill-educated and parochial liberals, who think we can just drop our allies without even a farewell kiss, suck up to our enemies in a really half-assed way, act like we've just discovered all these cute foreign customs ("They bow to each other! Isn't that just adorable?") and by imitating them really ineptly reveal that no one even bothered to read up on said cute foreign customs, and pretend that all you need is love love love, think it is. Oh wait...

miller said...

And your president once said "I can see 57 states from my house."

I don't see that being trumpeted by the left as "dumb." In fact, it's down the memory hole.

Your president was asked today whether he thought we were right in bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

He was unable to answer the question. Is he confused about WWII? Does he know how it ended?

A man who gets through college & is unable to figure out which side won in WWII seems a little - well, dumb.

Your president promised on the floor of the Senate in 2006 that KSM would be tried by military tribunal.

Your president said Friday that KSM would be tried by civilian courts.

When was your president lying - in 2006, or on Friday?

John Lynch said...


Yeah, exactly. If we're still talking about a failed vice presidential candidate one full year after the election... when has that ever happened before?

Why are people so angry about her?

Obviously she's doing something right. As a blog example, any Palin thread here at Althouse has a huge response. Why? I don't normally comment because (care.exe not found), but I am amused by all the emotion projected on this woman who came out of nowhere, lost the election, and yet still commands all this attention. It's not just her. It takes two to tango. People want to be angry about her.

rcocean said...

Of course McCain WANTED to win, he lost because well, he's McCain.

McCain has never won a tough race. He had no experience in running as an underdog or in a close election. He's Senator for life from uber-Republican AZ. He was nominated with 35 percent of the vote and won because of a crowed field and a screwed up primary process.

He doesn't have a populist bone in his body. His whole "maverick" schtick consists of siding with NY Op ed page against the Republican party. So, he flew to DC & supported TARP instead of opposing it, he refused to use Wright, he gave people nothing to rally behind or to vote for except inside the beltway CW.

Its sad he didn't get his dream VP - Lieberman as VP. What fun it would been - Goldberg, Rush, and Kristol, et al telling us that Joe Lieberman was REALLY a conservative.

miller said...

So when will the left admit that their president is dumb and is a serial liar?

Oh wait, maybe that has to wait until book III of the series "You can't spell 'Messiah' without 'ME'."

AJ Lynch said...

Yes but dunderheads are so lovable!

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Ahhh.... if only Palin were more Machiavellian! Indeed. So says the Boom-Boom.

Pity about that whole internet thing and the capacity for detailed information regarding your tyrannical, if not corrupt, Machiavellian ways to travel around the country and world at light speed. As it did with her (fired) chief of police, Monegan.

And I'm not sure how her back-tracking on the graft-filled "Bridge to Nowhere" reflects on Boom-Boom's ill-fated comparison to the incorruptible Mr. Smith. But apparently that's just a temporary plot device for the drunken literary analyst, anyway.

The important thing is that he gets to pop off two-bit comparisons involving a character in a Jimmy Stewart movie, European royalty and Niccolo Machiavelli, which surely helps make him feel important. But whether or not others have already seen through her "strategic hypocrisy" and, more importantly, the abysmal stupidity that was coupled to it, is apparently lost on someone more suited to critiquing wines and flutes than the fitness of anyone to lead national office.

Better luck next time, Boom-Boom.

Jon said...


For McCain to name a soft-on-amnesty moderate squish like Hutchison as his VP would have been a disaster- it would have amounted to doubling down on the problems he had with the base. He needed to pick someone to his right. If he wanted a conservative woman, a logical choice would have been someone allegedly on his short list early on: Rep. Marsha Blackburn of TN. But McCain couldn't pick her because she is tough on illegal immigration- whereas Palin was a black slate on the issue.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Palin's reference to Putin (interesting consonance) was a way of helping us to see that "it's a small world after all"? I thought it was her way of pointing out her foreign policy credentials. But I guess that would depend on whether or not someone was so "ill-educated" as to lose any understanding of the purpose of answering a question in the first place.

AlphaLiberal said...

What I said was that some on the left use the line uttered by Tina Fey as proof that Palin said it. .

Really, not. You guys running around saying we say that doesn't mean we said it.

Either statement, her's or Fey's, is dumb.

AlphaLiberal said...

Well, it's been fascinating seen the level of delusion and denial.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

So, per Andrea, does this mean that conservatives are developing their very own version of that "It Takes a Village" concept that Hillary Clinton promoted?

I would think they would want to avoid confusing the small size of one's own world with the much larger size of the world as a whole.

Paul said...

Of course what we have is a combination of ill educated (speak Austrian?), malignant narcissist (who woulda thunk that 20 years after the fall of the Berlin wall Amerikkka would elect a (gasp) African American president!), and commie raised America hater molded by his mentors Frank Marshall Davis and Jeremiah Wright.

I'll take dumb (Palin's not) and well meaning over dumb and a malicious sociopath any day.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Yes! Obama's so narcissistic that he confuses himself with all the other black presidents we've elected before! It was a statement about himself personally and not the state of race relations in the country!

By Jove, Paul has really hit upon something this time!

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

I'll make sure Jimmy Wales gets the memo to remove the article on Austrian German as the "national standard variety of the German language spoken in Austria".

reader_iam said...

So, how many folks have pre-ordered the book or are otherwise committed to buying it this week and reading the whole thing?

John Lynch said...

Wait a minute!

If Palin becomes the President, won't she become "the most powerful writer in history?"

William said...

The people who have sufficient intelligence and education to recognize that Maj. Nasan was suffering from PTSD are also sophisticated enough to recognize that they are smarter than Sarah Palin. The guess here is that Kakutani is among that elect group.....The review seemed tepid, not just in its appreciation of Palin but in its hostility to her. Katuni doesn't understand her. It would be like me writing an appreciation of Kanye West: I can recognize his wrong moves, but I'm tone deaf to whatever talent he has in the field of rap music. I'm not even sure rap is music....Likewise with Katutani: she can recognize Palin's clumsiness and deficits but she hasn't a clue as to the deep chords of patriotism and honest values that Palin strikes. Palin hits high notes that liberals cannot hear.....I will be in no great hurry to read Palin's book.
(Did any successful politician ever write an honest book? Wait for the memoirs of their valet if you want the truth.) It probably has zero literary merit. but people will not be buying the book. They will be buying the phenomenon of Sarah Palin and the hope that she transubstantiates their livees.

Joe M. said...

The writing of this review is very uneven. But although the author seems to have his political agenda, I would bet that this sentence was written (or at least substantially rewritten) by an editor, and is not the author's work:

As for the McCain campaign, it often feels like a desperate and cynical operation, willing to make a risky Hail Mary pass in order to try to score a tactical win, instead of making a considered judgment as to who might be genuinely qualified to sit a heartbeat away from the Oval Office.

reader_iam said...

They will be buying the phenomenon of Sarah Palin and the hope that she transubstantiates their lives.

Excuse me? Make sweeping categorical statements much?

You *know* zero about my motivations, Williams, and apparently are sufficiently lacking in imagination to make even a decent guess.

John Lynch said...

Yeah, reader_i_am is on the record about reading books by politicians. I think he can state his own motives.

Big Mike said...

I followed the link in the Professor's post, saw that it was a New York Times review, and I'm afraid that the Professor dropped a couple notches in my esteem (as if she cares!). Did she (Althouse) seriously expect the NYT, of all the official organs of the left-wing lunatic fringe, to offer up a dispassionate review of a book written by the person second only to Rush Limbaugh in the degree of left-wing hatred?

I'm perfectly prepared to believe that a politician inexperienced at the national level would be overly trusting of McCain's campaign staff -- but keep in mind that this was his third staff of the campaign and correspondingly unlikely to be composed of members of the A Team.

The person who's getting a bit of free ride in all this is John McCain. He is supposed to have personally approved of her as his number two -- if he let himself get talked into picking her despite qualms or without a serious vetting then that says even more about his lack of leadership than his poor performance in the economic crisis. If McCain assumed that women would come flocking to vote for him because he picked a woman VP candidate then he really knows nothing about women, does he?

McCain does, of course, know something about women -- he's married to a blonde, busty, beer heiress. I'll be a little jealous to my dying day. (Which, with Obamacare, probably will come sooner rather than later.)

Nichevo said...

Oh, screw you, blogger. You just erased my effing post.

Shorter repost: AL, please explain why Palin's point about her experience dealing with Russia and Canada was not relevant.

I invoked W's retort to Gibson ('never mind Musharraf, shall I name the foreign minister of Mexico? Can you?') by way of reflecting that border states, and by extension their governors, do indeed have foreign involvement which is relevant to their qualifications.

I am quite sure that Palin, pre-election, had met more and more significant Canadians and Russians than Obama had, and had achieved and benefited more from the experience.

Why is this mockable in the eyes of someone with such pretensions of insight as yourself? Boob-bait for suckers. Are you the sucker or the boob?

Theo Boehm said...

Ritmo Ostinato: If you disagree with my view that Palin is adopting a "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" strategy, please tell us how that is wrong, or that she is not doing it.

Palin is attempting, in my opinion, to map her actions onto the template of that story, and I laid out my reasoning in my post. If you disagree with the substance, please give us an argument, not more glitter and vomit.

Althouse seems to object to Palin's Machiavellian style, assuming that Palin does in fact have a deeper plan, which I believe she does. I think that Palin's refusal to comport with Althouse's notions of behavior needed to demonstrate her subtlety is supremely irrelevant.

My point was that there is an old tradition to proclaim one's innocence and noble simplicity on one hand, and act quite ruthlessly on the other. That is the essence of Machiavellianism, and style matters not at all, so long as it's effective with the intended public.

Althouse says,

"A first-rate Machiavellian bitch wouldn't say that in exactly those words. But she would say that. Elegantly, seductively — like a real Machiavellian. And I would be inspired: There is someone smart and sophisticated enough to deserve a major party nomination for President. I want that Machiavellian bitch on our side."

I agree completely with the last two sentences, but not at all with the need for elegance or imspiration of the bicoastal and academic haut bourgeoisie, who are not the intended public nor likely to vote for Palin no matter what she says.

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Theo Boehm said...

Reader: I haven't pre-ordered a copy of the book, but, oddly enough, my wife has, so I think we'll be tugging on opposite covers when it gets here.

My wife has an Althousian view of Palin, so I have no idea why she did this.

We live not far from a Barnes & Noble, not to mention a really good independent bookshop, so my plan had been to wait until the damned thing was stacked floor-to-ceiling and pick it up cheap.

Given everything else to worry about, I could very well wait a month or two for confirmation or disproof of my "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" theory.

I am frankly much more interested in the history of color photography, getting to be a SolidWorks whiz, and/or staying employed, than the latest from the Wonder Woman of Wasilla.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Glitter and vomit... ;-)

To the extent that she is capable of thinking, planning and executing something that complex, I don't doubt that a facade of sweetness and innocence overlaying a conniving tart is part of her game.

(I apologize if "tart" seems offensive to you, but I'm at a loss for synonyms this afternoon that imply an underhanded and possibly feminine nastiness without going over the top. "Monster" seemed too generic and foreboding and had an unfortunate history in reference to Hillary Clinton that I didn't see a reason to repeat. The allusion to prostitution might apply broadly to politicians, but for Palin I really just wish to literally emphasize someone a bit sour and concentrated with too much of... well, with too much of something in any event).

The problem however is that all this over-analysis of Palin and obsession with style both seem to rely on a perspective of the observer that is less and less relevant to Palin's actual political futures.

Second, it's precisely what her more vocal (and apparently successful) detractors were saying about her all along.

If all these incredibly detailed and literary analyses of Palin are really things that anyone finds amusing, then I suppose I just don't really relate to the idea of politics as spectacle. At least, not to the idea of politics as that ornate a spectacle. And if they are offered because they are thought to be useful, then once again, the memes have been out there for quite some time and now can be used to show just how far behind the eight-ball her more supportive or ambivalent observers are in objectively and accurately assessing public opinion, let alone (political) reality. Which has also become a very longstanding charge by now as well.

Nichevo said...

Dear Monty's Laundry (that would be the other Brazilian gay sockpuppet),

Why do you keep on about Sarah Palin? Surely you realize the best thing for you is to ignore her and hope she'll go away?

As for "tart," no, I don't think it gets you anywhere. Except, again, identifying you as gay (NTTAWWT). Stupid foreigner.

William said...

reader_iam and john lynch: There was no intention of impugning your motives for buying the book. Your comments are intelligent and interesting, and I'm sure that your reasons for buying the book are sufficiently edifying. I have zero interest in Sarah's true feelings about Steven Schmidt, but others are more tuned in to such things than myself. ...I,nonetheless, maintain my position that most of the buyers of Palin's book will buy it as a way of partaking in the Palin experience and not for its literary or historical merits. I genuinely like and admire Palin. I hope she and her book do well. She is no great thinker but she inspires the best efforts of many intelligent people.... However, I'm leery of this whole sacerdotal leader thing. When the temperature within the tent reaches a certain degree, I don't want the door guardians telling me my discomfort is a religious experience.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Why do you keep on about Sarah Palin? Surely you realize the best thing for you is to ignore her and hope she'll go away?

Probably because I'm not so condescending of people who disagree with me as to assume they have no use for a less biased opinion of their own heroes, those same heroes whom they apparently can't stop talking about.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Changing one's name is not the same as hiding behind a deliberately falsified alias.

miller said...

See, the thing is, it's irrelevant what your alias is -- it doesn't take long to ferret out your thoughts no matter the topic. Your posts are uniformly long, unfocused, and largely about irrelevant topics.

C4 and Alex are in my killfile. Yours I just scroll over - there is not enough time in the world to read your stuff & to take it in any way seriously.

You're like the Sarah Palin of this blog, it seems.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

See, the thing is, it's not irrelevant to the person I was addressing, the person making the bizarre charge of sock-puppetry. And that wasn't you, Miller. Nor are my posts generally for your benefit. People like you generally don't benefit from ideas that are unfamiliar to you or whose conclusions you need to approve of beforehand.

So apparently things are not as they seem. You might not know it. But maybe if you focused better and stuck with the relevant topic, which is precisely what I did.

It is not a put-down to charge that someone's thoughts are hard to follow, so don't think that I take your remark that way.

traditionalguy said...

Ritmo...You are a lot of fun. But your attacks upon Palin being a woman are not any prettier because of your elegant style of writing it. Dismissing the vast unwashed American commoner class mde me think you are an educated Cambridge Don. But your going after an accomplished politician for the offense of speaking out politically while being a female makes me see you as a Moslem educated in London. This is much fun as a Sherlock Holmes short story. When will you give us more clues?

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Dear Traditional Guy,

As someone who has voted for female candidates I have nothing against Palin being a woman and insofar as I or Theo Boehm are using the language of stereotypes (cf. his references to "soccer mom", John of Arc, etc.) we are (or at least, I am) speaking to popular conceptions or misconceptions, rather than personal appraisals - at least when it comes to my own remark.

I should also note that I also don't really have any personal qualms with Palin.

Further, please note well the amount of qualification I had to put out there to accompany a term that I, myself, agreed was about as clumsy a term as could have been chosen. When it first came to mind, I honestly wasn't relating it to allusions to prostitution and when I figured that these connotations couldn't be avoided, didn't wince from including it anyway due to the quite commonly interchanged references between politicians and prostitutes as occurs toward male politicians all the time. I realized that should greatly mitigate any perception of misogyny behind the charge/label but still apologized profusely for any perceived offense as that was not my intended aim, despite the fact that Boehm's willingness to use the language of stereotypes made it nearly impossible to move the tone of the discussion into a more objective realm, as I noted.

Anyway, the characterization that matters was of her being underhanded, or as Boehm called it, machiavellian. That is the operative label and that is what mattered for the purposes of the discussion.

However, I will admit that I did think further about the derogatory label of "prostitute" that politicians receive when accused of selling out or having so few higher principles. "Machiavellian" implies that the ends justify the means and that those ends are in themselves principles. To my mind, that comes close to a definition of unscrupulous and a justification for corruption, which is something Palin's been accused of.

In her defense, I don't think she's as cognizant of those violations and would feel guilt or remorse if she consciously understood the gravity of the accusations, but I agree that references to prostitution are imprecise and best avoided - despite how commonly they are used in reference to politicians generally and despite how similar the charge is to that of being too corrupted to ethically and competently administer or discharge the duties of public office.

Hope that helps clarify the whole Cambridge or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle bit.

traditionalguy said...

Ritmo...That was some fancy broken field running in your last comment.I am convinced that you are an English scholar come here to raise the level of discourse, not that we want to see it raised. Until you reveal your background, I will nick name you JSM since you seem to hold the views of John Stuart Mill. Mill said that "not all conservatives are stupid, but all stupid people are conservatives", and that is the opinion of Palin supporters that you keep espousing.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

I'm sure there are hard-core liberals/("lefties") who can be short-sighted in their own way, TG.

Also, I want to iterate one thing again if I may: I (and Wood) have nothing against people who comprise the "common" class/blue collar workers. Wood is drawing a distinction between elitism and virtue and not denying that people of any and all classes can possess virtue of a sort that was one expected (only) of the elites.

hdhouse said...

I simply cannot imagine being so dumb as to thinking Ms. Moosemuffin is smart.

What do you say to people? He that Sarah is some smarty pants ya'betcha!

How humiliating for the right wing...."duhh! we looked all over Mooselick and Sarah just seemed to be the smartest thing goin' ... I mean..she is truly a two cent coin in a one dollar bank".

traditionalguy said...

Ritmo/JSM...The simple view that since common people include stupid people, that they are never qualified and cannot be raised to positions of authority making the important decisions is a comforting one. It is also the downfall of those societies that use it. The BETTER view is that common people include many great men and great women both with natural skills and intelligences along with the stupid people, and that they are a great asset to American society that does the work to educate, promote and use them. Think of George Washington at Valley Forge with his common=stupid soldiers. Also think of the common=stupid Sgt York types fighting in WW I. Finally think of the elite role of Pilots that no country but the USA would allow common=stupid men and women to train for in such high numbers that we never ran out. That simple attitude difference won the USA's victory in WW II. So have fun among the great educated elites, we need them too, but a habit of sneering at common but skilled American people like Sarah Palin is so not even rational that it may be a European mental illness that Americans recovered from 220 years ago.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ritmo Brasileiro said...

I agree with you and to the extent that you seem to be saying that there are certain virtues specific to common folk, and that we should respect and admire and elevate those virtues, I understand and respect where you're coming from on that score as well.

But where Wood is coming from is a different place where we mistakenly equate a low tolerance for elitism with a tolerance for vulgarity anti-intellectualism, etc. I think it's important to be able to be informal. I also think it's important to be willing to refer and occasionally defer to such things as "common sense" as well - especially when it's a way to illustrate the limitations of knowledge.

But the idea that there is virtue associated with an ideal of proper conduct, or that there is virtue associated with knowledge and a sound, well-reasoned understanding of the world, is different from an attachment to elitism as a social, classist phenomenon and something I believe we shouldn't lose sight of either.

traditionalguy said...

Ritmo/JSM...The dark ages were a breakdown in education in a world in chaos from conquests. The monastaries brought learning back in time. In The USA education has 90 % been instituted among common men by their churches who taught literacy and sent them to Church schools. The virtue you seek is in men and women from their God and from their church. Only since 1964 or so has vulgarity become a positive marker here. So I percieve that Sarah Palin's avoidance of vulgarity is a plus to you. The rest of the virtue you seek comes when numbers of people each contribute a part of complete virtue in a group from a shared experience, lest any man brag. Can you live without bragging about virtue in one great man, be he the scholar of the moment, the King, or the sham Messiah?

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

"Ritmo/JSM...The dark ages were a breakdown in education in a world in chaos from conquests."

I'm not completely certain about this - I think it's been contested - and anyway, this reference is to Europe and certain majority communities within Europe, which may not be a universal point of historical reference for all Americans.

"The monastaries brought learning back in time. In The USA education has 90 % been instituted among common men by their churches who taught literacy and sent them to Church schools."

I'm not sure about this one either, but am pretty sure that universal education was guaranteed around the early 20th century and would have been instituted through the system of public education that we have in the states. That system has been heavily criticized from about the 1970s onward in various regards. But there is no denying its success by a whole series of benchmarks when compared to other countries throughout the early 20th century, when it was seen as an innovation that they subsequently copied.

"The virtue you seek is in men and women from their God and from their church."

Not really. These can be secular as well.

"Only since 1964 or so has vulgarity become a positive marker here."

Since Wood is referencing the generation immediately following the founders onward, it's important that we broaden the scope of our definition of "vulgar". Further, it is important to see the rigid conformism of the 1950s as somewhat of a cultural aberration in America. I don't think Wood means to refer simply to coarse language on TV or graphic sexual depictions, but something much wider in meaning.

"So I percieve that Sarah Palin's avoidance of vulgarity is a plus to you."

You could be right. Since she is not someone I'm rooting for (politically) other than for success in her own personal life, I fully admit to not being so immersed in her situation as to have a great awareness of which of her qualities would tend to register with me and which wouldn't.

"The rest of the virtue you seek comes when numbers of people each contribute a part of complete virtue in a group from a shared experience, lest any man brag. Can you live without bragging about virtue in one great man, be he the scholar of the moment, the King, or the sham Messiah?"

Herein lies what I perceive to be your most interesting and perhaps most challenging point in the thread. You seem to be saying that a certain type of virtue might depend on a sense of community and what each individual seeks to contribute to that community. Although I admit to a nostalgic and passing sense of fondness for a certain, mildly communitarian ethic, I find that ethic to be difficult to encourage in America. I suspect that by even uttering these words, I am coming close to receiving vituperation from the others for being a "commie", or whatever. But I digress. Life in America has taught me that while others may chip in when they see a troubled stranger in danger, they hardly care about his day-to-day well-being and that doing so is discouraged and thought unprofitable. Things might be a bit different in the South but they are certainly that way throughout the rest of the country and I have coped with that fact and accommodated my own life and choice of friends around that fact.

So this leads us full circle to the longstanding observation of virtue as a largely private quality. It may be exhibited publicly, but its application is individual in nature and loses meaning when defined according to a social perspective. Especially in a two-party system, where consensus is difficult and permanent political conflict becomes the natural state, it will be exceedingly hard to find any one particular person who will be thought virtuous by a large majority of people. If that happens, then we might be on to a better point in our history. But I hold no expectation that this will occur anytime soon.

traditionalguy said...

Well spoken Ritmo/JSM. Good night.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Thanks for the discussion. Good night to you too.

AST said...

"Palin depicts the McCain campaign as overscripted, defeatist, disorganized and dunder-headed..."

I didn't need Palin to tell me that. I could see it whenever McCain spoke in public. He was trying so hard to control his temper, that he came across as flat and

I don't know why the press keeps pushing up her presence in the mind of the public. Don't they know that there's no such thing as bad publicity (unless you're Carrie Prejean)? She got a huge advance and she's fulfilling her contract. So what? She had to say something in the book. I'm sure she had advise on what to talk about. Meh.