Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Hate Mongers

I'm thinking that the GOP jumped the shark tonight, or maybe they just continued the arc over the shark that McCain's choice of Tracy Flick, I mean Sarah Palin began just five days ago. Even as recently as 2004, the Republicans' 9/11 Convention, there was condescension, yes, belittling and fear-mongering (what is already seen as the hallmark of the Cheney/Bush/Rove Administration), but as they still felt they had a leg to stand on (war) they weren't hateful without any other seasoning.

Aside from Mike Huckabee, who has the graciousness of Obama to praise Obama's achievement in a non-partisan American way, the headliners were full of spite and did little to define themselves or their party as anything other than identity -- no clear vision, no new ideas, nothing constructive enough. Nothing else to sell but hatred.

Mitt Romney opened up by opening fire on the media, hoping that the nation will turn against The New York Times for reporting the truth about both Mayor Palin and Governor Palin's hypocrisies and lies on taxes, earmark, Bridge to Nowhere, child services, loyalty tests, book censorship and Troopergate. Ex-NYC Mayor and adulterer Rudy Giuliani derided citydwellers for being "cosmopolitan". And the star of this Salo-like evening of reality TV, where an entire callow family from unwed couple to passed around infant to unborn child were paraded before the Party like sacrifices on the alter of ambitious partisanship.

For a party that thrives on red meat, the Palin family and the promise of its tabloid-to-White House narrative is divine sustenance. But the family is fed by the candidate, and the candidate may have made the mistake of believing she had already introduced herself, in a single under-attended appearance last Friday, as a gracious-enough public servant that she could turn attack barracuda as quickly as tonight.

The line that I believe will be remembered after the rest of her speech is forgotten:
"I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a 'community organizer,' except that you have actual responsibilities."
When you denigrate the term "community organizer" you're denigrating not only all the people who don't get to live in a state-owned mansion or squander a small town's pension, you actually sacrifice your own creature comforts in order to improve the lives of others less fortunate. When Gov. Palin smears community organizers, she's dismissing church people as well, those who create the programs that actually give some relief to the little guy and gal.

When you denigate "community organizer" you denigrate service. Paradoxically, considering her claims to be of the people, it valorizes the more institutionally powerful elective office over community service.

In fact, the cold angry core of this convention and campaign is a reliance on the subordination of all other forms of service to military service, particularly military service which entailed actual physical and mental suffering, torture and deprivation, particularly John McCain's military service and incarceration by the enemy, the one we shouldn't have been fighting at the time, in the war we lost. There's not much constructive, not much developed forward thinking. There's just another flowering of the Conservative stabbed-in-the-back mythology.

Sarah Palin may not win this election, but she is clearly the future of the Republican Party. Mitt would do well to cut her legs out from under her now, otherwise he will lose the nomination to her in four years. If she can outrun justice in Alaska.

The gleam in her eye, her fixation on the camera, the obvious pleasure she got from being part of the club, stepped up to the big time by adopting a speech actually prepared for one of the male contenders to read, juiced with the faux defiance of her biographical droppings, it's all so ambitious. There's no sense of a plan for the American people in her speech, no substantive program for change. It's all oppositional, as if her Party hadn't been in power for the past eight years. The lies come hard and fast and the challenge isn't to refute them, it's to even keep up. All the rest is gussied up bile.

I know she's energized the GOP base, but it isn't even close to 50% of the country anymore, and if I were a Romney-style economic Republican, I'd work behind the scenes to get her indicted in Alaska, because the Party is now prisoner of the Religious Right. There's only one national figure, i.e. since last Friday, who has this wing's full emotional investment.

All I want to know is which campaign raised more money off of would-be Miss Congeniality's speech tonight.

I'd lay a bet it's Obama's.


Anonymous said...

Don't insult Tracy Flick like that.

Anonymous said...

1) Palin's speech was originally written for Lieberman; the last minute changes were that they had to take out all the Yiddish.

2) Your Salo reference is hilarious.

3) We are about to see something that's never been seen before in American politics (No, not the republicans nominating a doddering idiot for the highest job in the land -- already happened in 1976 + 1980.) You're going to think I'm kidding but I'm not:

Gramps has spent the last year & $100 Million basing his entire campaign on attracting indeps, Reagan Democrats, and the occasional HRC dead-ender. Now, however, his bungled pick of Sarah the She-Devil has scotched all that. In the space of a couple minutes, he turned his campaign 180 degrees, into a standard repub "turn out the base" operation.

Great, except that for a variety of reasons he's going to have to turn out probably 10% more of the Christian fanatics than Rove did in 2004.

What could he possibly do or say to turn out another 5 million of the truly fanatical -- the dominionists, the home-schoolers, the M-16 owners, 100% pro-lifers?

I think in the coming weeks you're going to see a dog-whistle, under the radar movement whose message is "Vote for McCain, because he's going to die in office and one of your own is going to become president." Yes, a major candidate is going to base his campaign on the good odds of him croaking. I would bet my life that within 24 hrs at least one TV gasbag and prob some NRO loonies will say something very much like this. If I'm wrong, drinks are on me next time you're in NYC.

(btw: Billmon opines that "community organizer" is code for leftwing radical")

Richard said...

Nice piece. Balance and straw poll says the speech went over well, though will amerika stand for a bossy woman? History sez no.

You should add that Guliani hit an alltime low my snidely deriding america when he said that Obama's rise and current role could happen "only in America" to the scornful laughter of the crowd. he proabbkly he wishes he lived in a country where this kind of rabblerouser is cut down and prevented from going this high?