Posts Tagged ‘Sarah Palin’

Colbert: “The bill’s a thousand pages! There’s no way of know what’s in it!”

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

Stephen Colbert lays bare the pure cynicism behind Newt Gingrich’s refusal to acknowledge the silliness of Sarah Palin’s claim that Obama is createing “death panels” in what I think is my favorite response to the crescendo of wingnuttery on the right over health care:

Death Panels
www.colbertnation.com

Our Unhinged Debate on Health Care Reform

Monday, August 10th, 2009

Or, Large Majorities of Americans Support the Specific Reforms Obama Is Proposing, But the Debate Going On Now Has Confused Them Into Opposing It

Andrew Sullivan provides a pretty good summary of the policy questions at stake in the health care debate – slightly modified by me to make it a list:

  1. Should we demand that insurance companies provide policies to anyone regardless of pre-existing conditions?
  2. Should we help the working poor buy that insurance with subsidies?
  3. Are competitive exchanges for health insurance a good or bad thing?
  4. Would a public option or a co-op help bring down healthcare costs?
  5. Does it make sense for the government to study the effectiveness of various treatments as a guide for doctors?

These are the basic questions Democrats are trying to answer. The only real presumption Democrats made in creating these policies is that the government can be effective. The proposals on the table now are modest – tinkering even – in which market mechanisms, government regulation, and a government plan together are designed with three goals:

  • to provide more security and choice to those Americans already covered by banning abusive insurance company practices and allowing individuals to buy insurance on a health care exchange;
  • to institute certain incentives that will hold down the growth of health care costs – using market mechanisms in the Health Insurance Exchange, spreading information with the Independent Medical Advisory Committee, and with the public option;
  • to cover the 47 million Americans without health insurance (whose use of health care, which we already provide as a matter of right, creates a de facto $1,100 tax on each individual).

The various bills under consideration are so long and complicated because they attempt to make slight adjustments to the system we have – and to remain true to Obama’s promise that if you like your health insurance you can keep it.  They prohibit certain practices by insurance companies, they set up a Health Insurance Exchange, they may or may not allow citizens to choose a publicly run health care plan, they subsidize individuals who currently cannot afford insurance, they set up committees to study best practices. What they certainly do not do is attempt radical change.

This isn’t about the free market versus communism, or radicalism versus moderation. The anger at Obama’s health care reforms has little to do with what he or other Democrats are proposing. There are those with reasoned objections. But the Republican Party has instead embraced and encouraged the inchoate rage of people frustrated with the direction our country is headed, with the various moral dilemmas George W. Bush left for his successors, with the massive failure of the markets that caused our current recession, with the failures of the visceral politics and policies of George W. Bush. On Slate’s Political Gabfest today, this exchange captured pretty well the essense of the hyperbolic debate going on now:

DAN GROSS: In college, we had the primal scream where at a point in time people would open their windows and just yell randomly. It was done to relieve stress but you weren’t yelling a set of statements about how your workload was too high. You were simply yelling. And it strikes me…that the things they are yelling are not the reasoned case for doing health care reform in a different way. They’re saying things like, “Let’s take our country back!” or “Lies, lies, and socialism, communism, fascism.”

JOHN DICKERSON: Yea – it is a sort of Tourette’s of the political…

I want to repeat that there are reasoned cases to make against the various policies Obama is proposing – but aside from an odd blog post by a libertarian economist every now and then, I don’t see them made. Instead, we get the approach Jon Stewart described: “You know, the individual mandate is going to hurt small businesses by…aw, fuck it: YOU’RE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!”

That’s what we’re dealing with: cynical manipulation of an inchoate public anger by entrenched interests and the primal screams of a minority of people frustrated with the direction of the country – both of whom are trying to scare the majority into indecision and intimidate the Democrats into submission. Then there are the many – some of whom are wary of action on health care right now; some of whom are concerned about government spending;  some of whom support reform, but aren’t clear on the issues; some of whom are frustrated with Obama’s moderation. Very little of the public debate has to do with the issues addressed above. Instead, we have anonymous lies spread by email, we have right-wing organizations claiming that “Obamacare=Gov’t Funded Abortion and Euthanasia,” we have Sarah Palin claiming Obama would make her son go before an evil “death panel,” we have Senator Jim DeMinto comparing America under Obama to Germany under Hitler, we have people on the streets and in town halls  and on the radio claiming that Obama is instituting Nazi policies, we have protestors deliberately trying to shut down debate (pdf) and silence those in favor of reform. And I’m not cherry-picking the most egregious examples here – these are the tactics used by mainstream opponents of health care reform.

The response and the debate going on now is unfortunately unhinged from reality and has very little to do with any bill being considered. Americans started out in favor of Obama’s health care proposals – expressing support for both him and the policies he had campaigned on. Polling shows they still support the policies: 72% of Americans are in favor of the public option; 74% of Americans believe that health insurance companies should not be allowed to exclude those with pre-existing conditions; 71% of Americans believe that the fact that 47 million Americans are uninsured is a “very serious” problem, with 49% willing to accept higher taxes to cover these individuals. When Obama’s plan was described in neutral terms, 56% of Americans still supported it today (with 38% opposed). But as Obama and Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats all raised concerns about deficit spending and soaring health care costs, many in the public became wary of increased spending. And as Republicans and entrenched interests began to spread rumors of the health care reforms being proposed, Obama’s support dropped.

But now this debate has broken out into the open – and amid  all the accusations of Nazi policies and “death panels” and rationing and socialism! and “killing Granny” the American public can see what is really going on. Republicans will soon learn the truth of Abraham Lincoln’s aphorism:

You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.

[Image not subject to copyright.]

Why I Despise Sarah Palin

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

One of my friends asked me this question. Actually, he accused me of despising her (which I admit to) and postulated that feminists and liberals hate her so much because she stands for “a sort of  ‘reincarnation’ of the traditional post-war female that scares the bejesus out of liberals for a variety of reasons.”

I can’t speak for every liberal, or every progressive, or every feminist – but I can speak for myself – and I tell you, it is not Palin’s  status as a reincarnation of the traditional post-war female (a description which I incidentally don’t find that fitting) that leads me to despise her. It is that she found herself to be a very capable demagogue. Frank Rich in The New York Times explained it well this Sunday:

The essence of Palinism is emotional, not ideological… The real wave she’s riding is a loud, resonant surge of resentment and victimization that’s larger than issues like abortion and gay civil rights.

Palin constantly positions herself as a victim of the conspiracies of the elite. As interviewers lob her softball after softball, she points out the few outliers and claims she is a victim of a giant conspiracy. As a local blogger files a frivolous ethics complaint, Palin claims she is being targeted for persecution by Rahm Emanuel and Barack Obama. A similar logic of collective victomhood makes its way into every speech she gives; she constantly sets up a dynamic of “us” against “them” – the “Joe Sixpacks” versus “the Hollywood/NY elite” and the “real Americans” against those “who [see] America…as being so imperfect…that [they are] palling around with terrorists [who]…target their own country.” What this accomplishes is what Cass Sunstein in the Spectator describes as the dyanmic of self-reinforcing moral outrage:

Political extremism is often a product of group polarisation and social segregation is a useful tool for producing polarisation. In fact, a good way to create an extremist group, or a cult of any kind, is to separate members from the rest of society. The separation can occur physically or psychologically, by creating a sense of suspicion about non-members. With such separation, the information and views of those outside the group can be discredited, and hence nothing will disturb the process of polarisation as group members continue to talk.

Sunstein does not link this to Palin – but it is clear that she is playing with this exact dynamic. This stands in stark contrast to John McCain who, to his credit, realized how dangerous this dynamic was and tried to calm his crowds down; and it stands in contrast to Barack Obama who has deliberately taken an approach that minimizes this dynamic of escalating moral outrage – challenging his audiences when they seem to be dehumanizing the other side. Palin though escalated her rhetoric. Her crowds became more extreme – in the way that like-minded groups do, especially when united against a nefarious and dehumanized “them.”

Why do I despise Sarah Palin? Because she is a demagogue, and more important, because she is an effective one.

(more…)

Happy Birthday, America! Our Modern-Day George Wallace (in heels) is giving up the little power she has

Saturday, July 4th, 2009

Sarah Palin represents the worst of America, in all its attractive yet self-destructive glory. She is ignorant – and does not care to educate herself. She is confident, without much reason to be. She is unreflective, and proud of it. Like a wahhabi among Muslims, she does not consider most of her fellow-countrymen “pro-American.” Like a reincarnation of Richard Nixon (or a classic Marxist) she seeks power through class warfare. Like a second coming of George Wallace, she waves the flag in defense of prejudice and hatred and incites crowds to near-violence.

And  yesterday, Sarah Palin announced she would resign her office. She sounded the same themes she had in her national debut – those themes that I hopefully deride as yesterday’s but fear may be themes again tomorrow. This is no surprise, as as in her first speech on the national stage she accused those examining her record – the media – of being part of the “Washington elite” and looking down on her – and ridiculed her opponent as a crusader for terrorist rights.  And when a comedian made a joke that she saw she could exploit, she talked used this as her excuse to rail against the “Hollywood/NY” elites who did not understand real American values.  Again and again she invoked the same, old tired class warfare images.

The question is, why does this woman – who has a solid shot at the 2012 Republican Presidential nomination – decide to give up her governorship?

As everyone acknowledges – and especially given her tawdry history of small-time lies, personal vendettas, and misuse of public power and funds – she may be trying to sidestep some brewing scandal the press hasn’t gotten wind of. Even Will Kristol, the foremost Palin defender in the country acknowledges this. But if this does not turn out to be the case, there are still significant reasons why she might be stepping aside – in a calculated move to better position herself for 2012.

As Kristol later suggested, she might be – in this instance, “crazy like a fox.”

As Marc Ambinder points out, as Governor of Alaska, she is a sitting duck and marginalized from the centers of power she so desperately wants to be part of. The heady presidential campaign clearly gave her a taste of something she now craves – the attention and adulation of adoring crowds. She seems to believe she is destined for greater things than merely governing a state with a population the size of a medium-sized city.

But as long as she is governor, she is generating a record that can be picked apart and attacked – and she is unable to effectively reach out to the Iowa and New Hampshire Republican primary voters she will need. At the same time, her national ambitions – and her role in the McCain campaign – have hurt her in Alaska – as her popularity has dipped and legislators have begun to feel as if she is looking beyond Juneau. As only 51% of voters in Alaska said they would reelect her as governor, she would likely face a tough campaign.

At the same time, Palin is facing the same problem as many other governors: the states are facing a crunch, and without help from the federal government are going to have to make drastic cuts in services or raise taxes. In Alaska, the downturn – and the drop in the price of oil – has lead to a deficit of nearly $3 billion over the next two years, with little chance of recovery until the price of oil goes back up. By resigning in the middle of this year, she gets to avoid the painful cuts in government services or raises in tax rates that will be needed to keep the state functioning. Governing during this deficit explosion would make it harder (though for Palin, far from impossible) to deride Barack Obama’s deficit spending (most of which Obama himself inherited from another former Governor who liked to cut taxes and increase spending).

Given these two motivations, one can see why Will Kristol suggests this move might be crazy like a fox.

But remember this: by giving up in the middle of her term, Sarah Palin has forever disqualified herself from the presidency. I’m sure she doesn’t think so – and I’m sure her most ardent supporters do not think so either. She may make a solid run for the Republican nomination – and, she may get it. But every reason she gave for resigning would be doubly true if she were to win the presidency. Her family would be under greater scrutiny, and the butt of more jokes. Lawsuits against her would eat into her time – as they did Bill  Clinton’s. If the relatively low-level of scrutiny and pestering lawsuits she is subject to now have intimidated her from staying in office, imagine what pressures she would face sitting in the Oval Office.

The American people will remember that when the going got tough in Alaska, she went. And she didn’t accept any blame – instead, she played the same game she has played as long as she has been in the national spotlight. She blamed the media elite and everyone else who isn’t “proud to be American” and who instead “deride[s] our ideals.”

America can forgive her the class warfare. They can forgive her inciting her supporters to near-violent outrage. They can forgive her betrayal of the man who brought her out of obscurity. They can forgive her for using her children as political props. They can forgive her for all of her small lies. They can forgive her her ignorance. And they can love her for her saucy winks, her baseless confidence, and her faux-religiousity. What the American people cannot forgive and will not look past is a quitter – and the message from yesterday’s events – the message that comes through loud and clear above her strident attempts to distract – is that Sarah Palin is a quitter.

Never again will the Barracuda of Wasilla attain the glory that was hers for one glorious September night – as she strode onto the stage, confident beyond reason and shining with the light of Destiny.

This I hope, and I pray. For our nation’s sake, most of all. But for the moment, what can we do but celebrate that our modern-day George Wallace has stepped down, and the spectre of a Palin presidency is just a bit further away.

[Image by sskennel licensed under Creative Commons.]

A few disjointed thoughts on Iran

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

Thomas Erdbrink in the Washington Post:

When asked about protests and complaints, Ahmadinejad said that it was important to ask the opinions of “true Iranians” on the election. “Like the people you meet at my rallies,” he said. He described the protesters as soccer hooligans who were disappointed that their team lost the match. “This is not important,” he said. “We have full freedom in Iran.” [my emphasis]

I’ve already heard Mahmoud Ahmadinejad described as the Sarah Palin of Iran – and this invocation of the “true Iranians” only seems to make the analogy more apt – reminding me at least of Sarah Palin’s invocation of the “pro-American” parts of America.

I honestly don’t know what to make of this – Ahmadinejad’s joke about whether or not Mousavi was under house arrest:

“He ran a red light, and he got a traffic ticket,” Mr. Ahmadinejad quipped when asked about his rival.

The moment I heard that Ahmadinejad was announced as the winner, my mind flashed to an Andrew Sullivan post about a texted joke making the rounds in Tehran:

The Election Commission has announced in its last statement regarding the election that writing names such as monkey, traitor, fascist, silly, and [expletive] on the ballots will be considered a vote for Ahmadinejad.

Pepe Escobar in the Asia Times points out a rather odd statistical nugget about the election results for the other reformer in the race:

Karroubi not only didn’t win in his home province of Lorestan, he had less votes than volunteers helping in his campaign.

Escobar also explains the odd sequence of events that led to the announcement of Ahmadinejad’s “election”:

The polls closed at 10pm on Friday, Tehran time. Most main streets then were fully decked out in green. In an absolutely crucial development, the great Iranian film director Mohsen Makhmalbaf told Radio Farda how Mousavi’s main campaign office in Tehran received a phone call on Saturday at 1am; the Interior Ministry was saying “Don’t announce Mr Mousavi’s victory yet … We will gradually prepare the public and then you can proceed.” Iranian bloggers broke down the vote at the time as 19.7 million for Mousavi, between 7 and 8 million for Ahmadinejad, 7 million for Karroubi, and 3 million for Rezai.

Then all hell seemed to break loose. Phones, SMS, text messaging, YouTube, political blogs, opposition websites, foreign media websites, all communication networks, in a cascade, were shutting down fast. Military and police forces started to take over Tehran’s streets. The Ahmadinejad-controlled Ministry of Interior – doubling as election headquarters – was isolated by concrete barriers. Iranian TV switched to old Iron Curtain-style “messages of national unity”. And the mind-boggling semi-final numbers of Ahmadinejad’s landslide were announced (Ahmadinejad 64%, Mousavi 32%, Rezai 2% and Karroubi less than 1%).

The fact that the electoral commission had less than three hours to hand-count 81% of 39 million votes is positively a “divine assessment”.

Pre-election, Robert F. Worth had a few prescient words in his Times piece:

Some Iranians believe that the unruly democratic energies unleashed over the past few weeks could affect this country’s politics no matter who wins…But hope has often outpaced reality in Iran…

Stay Classy, Sarah Palin: Palin Insinuates David Letterman is a Child Rapist

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

As I’m not sure how much attention this has already gotten, let me start with a brief overview of the Palin-Letterman feud that apparently got going a few days ago.

Letterman, after joking that Sarah Palin herself “Bought makeup from Bloomingdale’s to update her ‘slutty flight attendant’ look,” then went after her family’s famous fecundity:

One awkward moment for Sarah Palin at the Yankee game, during the seventh inning, her daughter was knocked up by Alex Rodriguez.

Given Bristol Palin’s public figure, I think it’s well within the bounds of taste for a late-night humorist to go after her. I mean it’s undeniable that she cuts a bit of a ridiculous figure, as a self-appointed role model for abstinence and single mother. The 14 year old daughter  – on the other hand – doesn’t deserve to be so ridiculed.

The Palin family then made the assumption that Letterman was referring to their younger daughter – and furiously, Todd Palin responded:

Any ‘jokes’ about raping my 14-year-old are despicable. Alaskans know it and I believe the rest of the world knows it, too.

And Sarah Palin decided to go with a more political response – calling on the familiar Nixonian contrast between Hollywood/NY and “real Americans” like her:

Laughter incited by sexually-perverted comments made by a 62-year-old male celebrity aimed at a 14-year-old girl is not only disgusting, but it reminds us some Hollywood/NY entertainers have a long way to go in understanding what the rest of America understands – that acceptance of inappropriate sexual comments about an underage girl, who could be anyone’s daughter, contributes to the atrociously high rate of sexual exploitation of minors by older men who use and abuse others.

Letterman seeming a bit shocked by all this replied:

These are not jokes made about her 14-year-old daughter. I would never, never make jokes about raping or having sex of any description with a 14-year-old girl…. Am I guilty of poor taste? Yes.

But the Palins apparently have no use for apologies – and ignore Letterman’s assertion that they had made the wrong assumption about who he was referring to. Rather than seeing this as closed, and protecting their daughter’s privacy by letting it go, they instead make their 14-year old daughter the punch line in a zinger designed to keep this story in the news. They insinuate David Letterman is a child rapist, rejecting Letterman’s offer to appear on his show by saying:

[I]t would be wise to keep Willow away from David Letterman.

Even if David Letterman were referring to Willow – which he denies and which the joke was not clear about – what possible purpose, aside from political advantage and publicity, does it serve for the Palins to keep this going? The whole reason the outrage over Letterman’s joke hits a nerve is that even bringing up an older man taking advantage of an underage girl is taboo – especially if one is referring to a particular girl. Even bringing it up is dangerous. And this is precisely what the Palins are now doing – repeatedly – for no other reason than to advance Sarah Palin’s career. They’re using insinuations of child rape as a political weapon, as zingers. This is not a subject to be trifled with – or politicized. It’s wrong. Period. This isn’t a Hollywood versus the heartland issue. This is something we all agree on.

But unfortunately, when the Palins see an opportunity to divide Americans and demonize millions Americans, they apparently cannot let the chance slip by – even if it is in the best interest of their daughter.

Palin the Performer

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

I was cleaning out my draft posts and came across this wonderful take on Sarah Palin by Sam Harris in Newsweek at the height of her appeal:

Here, finally, was a performer who—being maternal, wounded, righteous and sexy—could stride past the frontal cortex of every American and plant a three-inch heel directly on that limbic circuit that ceaselessly intones “God and country.” If anyone could make Christian theocracy smell like apple pie, Sarah Palin could…

For all my concern about Bush’s religious beliefs, and about his merely average grasp of terrestrial reality, I have never once thought that he was an over-the-brink, Rapture-ready extremist. Palin seems as though she might be the real McCoy. With the McCain team leading her around like a pet pony between now and Election Day, she can be expected to conceal her religious extremism until it is too late to do anything about it. Her supporters know that while she cannot afford to “talk the talk” between now and Nov. 4, if elected, she can be trusted to “walk the walk” until the Day of Judgment.

What is so unnerving about the candidacy of Sarah Palin is the degree to which she represents—and her supporters celebrate—the joyful marriage of confidence and ignorance. Watching her deny to Gibson that she had ever harbored the slightest doubt about her readiness to take command of the world’s only superpower, one got the feeling that Palin would gladly assume any responsibility on earth:

“Governor Palin, are you ready at this moment to perform surgery on this child’s brain?”

“Of course, Charlie. I have several boys of my own, and I’m an avid hunter.”

“But governor, this is neurosurgery, and you have no training as a surgeon of any kind.”

“That’s just the point, Charlie. The American people want change in how we make medical decisions in this country. And when faced with a challenge, you cannot blink…”

Palin 2012

Friday, October 24th, 2008

A liberal friend of mine thought it was preposterous that Sarah Palin could have a legitimate shot at the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. And if it was true, he thought it was a suicidal move.

He cited the fact that Palin was dragging McCain’s polling numbers down, her numerous Alaskan scandals, her constant flubs in interviews, and “speeches that could only impress a six-year old.”

I disagree with him on her speechmaking ability – in my opinion, her Republican convention speech was electrifying. It was a truly impressive performance – even without taking into account that this was her first time on the national stage. Her appearance certainly electrified the conservative base – and inspired Democrats to donate to Obama in heretofore unprecedented numbers.

Her issues interviewing I think can be fixed with some more time in the limelight and less “handling.” She was much better in the Charlie Gibson interview than in the Katie Couric one – even if her answers in both were similar content-wise – because she bs’ed with confidence to Gibson, even if everyone watching could tell.

But her ability to tell such shameless falsehoods with conviction – or perhaps, her lack of interest to know that she is telling lies – has helped to make her a star in the Republican party. She can really give it to Obama – she’s tough – they say. McCain usually seems somewhat ashamed of himself when he goes overboard. This shameless quality will help her in interviews later – as she polishes her style and continues to develop her political personality.

If she is seen as the person who brought McCain down – then that will hurt her. But if that sentiment can be pigeon-holed as merely what “the media” is saying – then the Right will be perfectly fine to right this off as more media bias against attractive Republican women.

As for her numerous Alaskan scandals – they say only two things can end a political career – a dead girl or a live boy. I’m not sure how that aphorism gets de-genderized to fit Palin – but none of her scandals fit. Plus – given the context of Alaskan politics, Palin’s dipping into state funds has been modest.

Which is why conservative strategist Patrick Ruffini is asking if Palin will be the Howard Dean of the Republican Party in the next few years – the unofficial leader of unabashed conservatism who will lead the party out of the wilderness. Marc Ambinder, politics reporter for The Atlantic, explains the many reasons Palin will be well-positioned come 2012 including this one – which is the strongest:

The Republicans are going to want someone willing to really go for Obama’s throat, and be able to do it with a smile.

Remember how hated Hillary Clinton was in 1994? In 1998 even? Yet, ten years later she was almost able to coast her way to inevitable victory – winning over, in the end, many of the same figures who had most hated her while she was First Lady.

Sarah Palin turns off liberals – and scares them. She invigorates Republicans. Independents loved her inititially, and then turned against her as she proved to be inept and shallow. But a few years will give her enough time to develop some gravitas.

I’m certainly not rooting for Palin – but it would be wise not to underestimate her.

Deficiencies of Judgment

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

Mona Charen over at The Corner thinks that Palin’s $150,000 spent on wardrobe in two months isn’t really all that impressive. To demonstrate, she points out that Obama’s suits are rumored to cost as much as $1,500.

Of course, for Obama to buy enough $1,500 suits to spend $150,000 in 52 days – the amount of time between Palin’s selection as Vice Presidential nominee and when the story broke on Monday – he would need to buy 1.9 suits per day.

Of course – Charen also points out that some of the money was also spent on the rest of the Palin clan – but the amounts here seem to be relatively trivial – $5,000 on her husband for example.

This is also clearly part of a history of Palin using public office for her private enrichment – from the budding travelgate scandal, in which Palin charged the state of Alaska for all of her children’s and husband’s travel and for hotel rooms, adding up to at least $40,000 (not including her own travel) – to the per diem charges she billed to the state of Alaska for every night she stayed in her own home adding up to some $16,000.

Based on her dismissal of the outrage over Palin’s expensive wardrobe due to her faulty math skills and partisan blinders, Charen declares the real reason for the outrage:

I cannot escape the suspicion that one reason everyone is so exercised (other than the obvious, i.e. that she’s a Republican) is that she is so gorgeous in those clothes. There is simply no other woman in political life to match her. The green-eyed monster strikes!

By that logic, can’t we also accuse all those conservatives out there of jealousy – as they brought up John Edwards’s $400 haircuts at every mention of his name?

I just don’t buy it. I think $150,000 in a close fought race is a lot of money to spend on clothes.

At the same time, this reinforces some of the more unsavory aspects of the scandals brewing in Alaska.

It’s news – whether Mona Charen likes it or not.

A Megaphone to a Demagogue

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

Christopher Hitchens is a writer – nay, a provocateur who happens to write. Thus he has viciously attacked Catholics from John Paul II to Mother Theresa to John Kerry. He pushed for the ill-fated war with Iraq – and is today entirely unrepentant. He mocks those he disagrees with. He is mean-spirited. He is the David Addington of debates – always ready to “go for the kill” and despite his intellectual dexterity, somehow uncouth. Yet, he is, in his way, honest.

Lately, he has been on a tear:

At numerous rallies where the atmosphere has been, shall we say, a little uncivil, Gov. Palin has accused Sen. Obama of accusing our forces in Afghanistan of simply bombing villages. Only a moment’s work is required to discover that the words complained of were never uttered in that form and that they occurred in a speech that stressed the need for more ground troops as opposed to more airstrikes (a recommendation, by the way, that begins to look more sapient each week, at least in respect of the airstrikes). Again, I have a question: Did Palin know that she was telling a lie? Or did her handlers simply assume that she would read anything that was put in front of her, however mendacious? And which would be worse? And when will she issue the needful retraction? There seems no way of putting her in a forum where these points could be raised. So, continued media coverage of her appearances is no better than lending a megaphone to a demagogue, the better to amplify her propaganda.

Andrew Sullivan has been tireless (and I mean really really really really really really really tireless) in pointing out that Sarah Palin has yet to give a single press conference – a first for a vice presidential candidate in the modern era, and perhaps ever.

Yet the liberal media continues to “lend a megaphone” to this demagogue, playing on class resentments, using the language of class warfare, attacking a majority of America, ignoring the shouts of “Kill him!”  at rallies, and lying shamelessly about her life and her record as well as Barack Obama and his.

And, to keep anyone from making her accountable, she demonizes the press for good measure – to give her an excuse to avoid having to answer any questions.