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May. 15 2010 - 10:30 am | 12,930 views | 16 recommendations | 122 comments

I, Sarah Palin, Goes Redneck

Then, saying she was proud of being labeled a “redneck,” she regaled them with a string of one-liners defining the term:

“You’re a redneck if you’ve ever had dinner on a ping pong table.”

Laughs.

“You’re a redneck if you’ve ever had a custody fight over a hunting dog. Well, Todd and I haven’t, but we’ve got friends who have!”

via Sarah Palin at National Rifle Association lobs laughing crowd with ‘redneck’ jokes.

Can I get a vote here? What’s the consensus on politicians who use internet joke lists as speech material?

I’m actually sort of divided on this issue. Clearly, Sarah Palin doesn’t have time to write new and original speeches for her myriad appearances. If I were as famous and as busy as Palin is, I could definitely see culling a few yukster lines from the net for speeches. But she ripped off like six or seven of these asinine “You know you’re a redneck if!” lines in a row from sites like Aha! Jokes, and that seems like a few too many to me. Sometimes the number matters — just like I think the maximum number of cats a single adult can have is three before it gets weird, I don’t think you can steal more than four or maybe five jokes before some kind of line is crossed, even when the venue is an NRA convention.

Palin by the way seems to have settled in on a new rhetorical strategy, which is basically to run out one or another version of her “pit bull” line over and over again and not say anything else at all. She’s tuned in to the fact that her audiences literally can’t get enough of having their lunatic self-images massaged (“I’m a violent, illiterate pig who eats with her mouth open just like all you outstanding Americans!”) and aren’t really interested in much else beyond that — issues are really secondary.

Sure, she’ll talk about immigration, or health care, or gun rights, but all that boring stuff is really secondary to the more important business of reassuring her audiences that that it’s okay to be a slob who does nothing but shoot cute animals and watch TV. Most of all,  Americans — the same Americans who buy everything TV tells them to buy and vote for the same shysters year after year, swallowing one lie after another whole — love to be told how tough and fearsome and independent they are. She was massaging this spot in a speech to a coalition of women against abortion group in Washington the other day:

Palin, a potential 2012 presidential candidate, delivered calls to action to an audience dominated by women. “The mama grizzlies, they rise up,” she said, to laughter. “You thought pit bulls are tough. You don’t want to mess with the mama grizzlies. And I think there are a whole lot of those in this room.”

The crowd went nuts at this. Palin has figured out that this is really all you have to do to win elections in this country — flatter middle Americans’ moronic fantasies about themselves. The great thing about flattery is a) you can’t overdo it as hard as you try, and b) it doesn’t pin you down to messy political positions, controversies, things you can be harassed about by Chris Matthews and other press weasels.

It’s basically a risk-free strategy. You get up on stage and you say, “I’m just like all you idiots. And you idiots rock!” People will fall for this stuff. The ingenious part in Sarah Palin’s case is that she probably genuinely believes it.

She one-ups even George Bush in this respect. Bush was sincere in his respect for the citizen’s right to craft important opinions about the world while drinking beer and watching baseball, and that came across in his speeches — it was a big reason for his success.

But Bush couldn’t have spent more than ten minutes in a dirty trailer in Arkansas before signaling for the helicopter. The guy was just too used to being around rich people, nice houses, cigarette boats full of sheiks and oil executives, etc. Sarah Palin on the other hand really is the kind of person who you can picture eating egg salad off a ping-pong table. That and her utterly genuine stupidity and meanness can take her a long way — all by themselves, I think these things can win the White House for her — and it seems like she senses this on an animal/reptilian level. Hence the renewed emphasis on jacking off her audiences of late.

It’ll be interesting to see if this works for her. Bear in mind there’s no shortage of hokey-ass internet joke lists for her to mine. Someone should keep a count of how many of these bits she uses…


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  1. collapse expand

    Matt, I’m beginning to think of Sarah Palin in the same way I think of Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh: one trick ponies who add nothing to the debate but manage to remain in the public spotlight nonetheless. I can’t help but think the more the media and the public talk about her and her inanities, the more we play into her potential bid for 2012. Her fifteen minutes of fame should have gone the way of Geraldine Ferraro, and yet, here she still is. Why? Even morbid fascination with a car wreck is fleeting. What is this woman’s hold over our national discourse? I simply don’t get it.

    • collapse expand

      That’s Matt’s whole point. She’s famous because she takes the most cliched American awfulness and makes it wonderful for her fans. Why drop your guns, vote pro-choice, or watch anything other than Fox when you’ve got the Empress of Alaska (who came within a heartbeat of being a heartbeat away from the presidency) telling you you’re fantastic because you’re JUST LIKE HER?

      In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        You missed MY point. I understand why she’s appealing to her base. What I don’t understand is why the rest of us give a crap or a platform.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
        • collapse expand

          She’s good ratings, pure and simple. The media (even liberal or left-leaning) will say otherwise, but she lines the wallets.

          In response to another comment. See in context »
        • collapse expand

          You’re right in one regard, she should not be in the public eye at all and no one should give her the time of day. The downside to this is, she’s still popular despite her vacuousness and she may slide through the primaries on the wave of this, which makes her a threat you have to pay attention to. This may be painful to endure, but it’s a necessity. Normally vacuous, imbecilic material like hers does not register with me – it’s a conditioning of mine that I’ve used for years on things similar to the aura she’s channelling, like country music, reality tv, and rush limbaugh… y’know, things that have no real merit but that driveling masses flock to – but sadly, I and we have to pay attention to her antics because they are developing a power base. And this is why I hate american politics…

          In response to another comment. See in context »
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          Since when does America NOT give assholes a platform? Watched any reality TV lately?

          In response to another comment. See in context »
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          Because deep down inside a lot of people believe that there are enough stupid and gullible Americans to vote Sarah Palin into the White House. If we were able to get over this fear, we could spend the time we devote to websites like this to doing things that might win over more voters to the Democratic Party.

          In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        I give a crap because she infuriates me. As a woman I despise her, and it’s not because I’m jealous.

        I don’t appreciate the trouble she likes to stir up in our country. And I certainly do not appreciate how much she bashes our fairly elected President and tries to throw a cog in every issue we dems want.

        She is a poor loser and a trouble maker, a dangerous one at that.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
    • collapse expand

      She is working on her celebrityhood. She will get nowhere without it.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  2. collapse expand

    Tina Fey has her work cut out for her. She may be the only one who can save us.

  3. collapse expand

    Right on with this one.

    Unfortunately these days, politics and entertainment are completely blurred. And for the portion of the population that doesn’t care to separate, and doesn’t obviously understand issues, the misinformation she spews passes for fact.

    Yes, she will be a presidential candidate in 2012, riding this only-in-America wave of pure entertainment/political idiocy, even as she will completely unqualified. And while this is bad news for the Republicans, who will be derided for years to come as a party of nuts with a lunatic candidate, it will be even worse for the country. What does it say about us?

    • collapse expand

      rAmen, br…sista!

      In response to another comment. See in context »
    • collapse expand

      What Sarah Palin’s popularity says about America is that our society has become too complex for the average joe (or josephine) to feel that they can compete for success. The liberals that Sarah rails against (the non-true Americans) are the ones who have the modern competencies to navigate the new world. While America would be greatly weakened if the meritocracy is destroyed, it happened in most of the Communist countries. Don’t get me started on the irony of Sarah Palin echoing Pol Pot – it would be almost like Glenn Beck’s Nazi Tourette’s.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  4. collapse expand

    Somewhere, Roseanne Barr is banging her head against a fake wood paneling wall.

  5. collapse expand

    You’re right, she can’t overdo it. You can underdo it though. Yesterday, when Obama used the “country in the ditch” line, it felt damned good to hear. Like when something is missing that you can’t put your finger on and when it finally shows up it hits you, that’s what it was! FDR make a living off of those kinds of lines. The difference being his weren’t unprovoked nonsense like Palin’s schtick, he was returning fire.

    • collapse expand

      Didn’t you just love that. When he said “NO” after a pause, “when they asked for the keys back” he really delivered! He has got IT.
      I have not one whit of fear that Sarah Palin could EVER win an election over Barack Obama…EVER.
      He hasn’t even got started yet. The man has IT.
      Whatever the occasion, he can RISE to it.
      He is the Presidential material we sought and recognized and WE are going to push to enable him to do the very best for our Country.
      For God’s sake, Obama isn’t a plaything, he is the REAL THING.
      Palin is comic relief…period.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        Rylly, I totally agree with you. My concern is Sarah Palin is a sore loser, I think if some fringe lunatic decided to harm President Obama it would be fine just with her. But you won’t hear her taking the blame, H no.

        And in the mean time she’ll channel every thing she can through her mean spirited word pictures that connect her to whichever crowd she speaks to to encourage that to happen.

        She wants people to dislike, distrust, be angry, lose faith, and blame Obama for anything and everything she can pull out of her creepy brain, she wants everyone she can sucker to punish our President, thus in turn she punishes all who voted for him.

        Because, he won, she lost and she is psycho enough to think she was “meant” and “supposed” to win, God spoke that to her and she believes it. She feels robbed and she’s out for blood. She wants to destroy him.

        That said, I love our guy and I trust him, I don’t expect perfection and I will not jump ship when every campaign promise is not immediately met.

        They want to pit the different groups who voted for him against each other, discourage them, rile them up, saying he’s not doing enough, that he’s letting them down, he’s failing to keep his campaign promise to this or that group, get them to abandon him or worse yet make them feel powerless, thus not going to the voting booths.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        Gag…..I can’t stand Sarah either. She needs to be gone a year ago….But seriously, Obama has proven to be worse than George Bush…..I didn’t vote for him but I did hope he would keep his to at least some of his empty promises. He has failed miserably.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
  6. collapse expand

    3 cats is too many. 2 is on the cusp of creepy. You can go for 2 but only if you are a true stoner and never clean the litter box. Anything more than 2 and the county will have to tear your house down after they discover your mummified body.

    Fuck it I am crossing over. I am voting for Palin. If this country wants to crash into the dumbfuck iceberg I am going to give them what they want.

    It will be painful to watch and more painful to live through, but I don’t care anymore. I have lost the will to live with purpose. Who gives a shit? Why bother?

    Some 30 year French fuck made a couple of million selling shit he didn’t understand and another hedge fund billionaire sold trash he knew would crash and giggled about it? If they don’t care than neither do I.

    I am voting Palin 2012, I hope she puts Larry the Cable guy on the ticket. Pass the egg salad, extra mayo please.
    Aimlow Joe was here.
    http://www.aimlow.com

    • collapse expand

      Thank you aimlow for being the only one in 17 comments to nearly answer the question. I respect politicians who use internet joke lists as speech material. Politics is a popularity contest and this is a good technique for winning. But it can be overdone…

      I agree with aimlow – 3 cats is too many, and after three internet jokes you’ve made your point. Any more and you’re milking it. When you milk a joke, the laughs continue but become a little hollow as people start to hate you. Unless you’re performing for retards with no class, in which case they laugh harder each time.

      Matt, I’m confused by your focus on the cult of personality. Personalities have no power in American politics. They just get parties elected so real decision makers can tell the personalities’ speech writers how to spin things.

      And although I’m surrounded by illiterate pigs who eat with their mouths open, I’m a little worried about your inclusion of violence in that description. I like to hunt. I like to kill. And I consider myself a gentle person. But I am not the average.

      YOU can be Palin’s self-appointed joke counter. It should be good for a few more columns when you’re otherwise tapped out.

      Cheers,

      Warren

      In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        I’m a hunter myself, a very avid one. I’d have to say anyone who says “I like to kill” troubles me. I like to hunt, but a kill that comes without some sense of regret is just violence for kicks. The kill is not the objective. Sorry, Warren, “I like to kill” — that ain’t right.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
    • collapse expand

      “If this country wants to crash into the dumbfuck iceberg I am going to give them what they want.”

      Thumbs up!
      That was my EXACT justification for pulling the dumbfuck lever for Obama.

      So far, so good.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
    • collapse expand

      Uhhhm, I’m pretty sure she won’t be running in 2012. She’s only pretending she might so she can cash in the chips that fell into her lap in ‘08. Mind you I HOPE she does, just for the entertainment of it all, but it hard’s to imagine her giving up such a cushy lifestyle for a job umpteen times more demanding than her last one.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
    • collapse expand

      ditto…in the mid 60’s there were protests on college campus’ against the war and for civil rights. Since Ronald Reagan (who is paying for his sins right now) the educational system in this country has failed the youth in this country miserably. But they got what they wanted, college campus’ with freshman who can’t even read. A permanent, ever growing working class so dumbed down that they don’t know when or who is screwing them. They don’t even need a draft. I have fucking given up too. Let them fuck up this country, I don’t care anymore. When you try to help these idiots by talking to them they label you a liberal, commie, fag.
      fuck ‘em

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  7. collapse expand

    Sarah Palin is like one of those demons from a Manga cartoon where whatever you fire at them only makes them stronger. It seems impossible to choke off the oxygen of attention that she lives and breathes on.

  8. collapse expand

    She has become nothing more than the embodiment a series of vague ambiguous descriptions. People that talk about her never use details or facts, just that she stands for freedom, or stands for what is good and right. As if those are actually platforms. Even redneck rocker Ted Nugent wrote an essay about her that contained no actual details, just a string of buzzwords: http://tinfoiler.com/2010/05/01/wango-tango-palin-nugent-2012/

  9. collapse expand

    “That and her utterly genuine stupidity and meanness can take her a long way — all by themselves, I think these things can win the White House for her —”
    I threw up in my mouth when I read that line; please Matt, tell me you don’t beleive that!
    We need someone who can solve problems, the only thing she has shown that she is capable of is screeching out non-sense (while getting rich doing it).

  10. collapse expand

    The rest of us have to give a crap because she will be the next President. That’s why.

    As frightening as that may seem, I believe it is inevitable now. There are way too many right-wing antics happening that are feeding the frenzy and fanning the Palin fire. Despite the left’s meager campaigns, the decent and forthright media who expose her for the imbecile she really is, middle America relates to her in a similar way John Kennedy did; there is a popular and charismatic vote that goes largely unnoticed by the pollsters.

    We may laugh at these antics, even cavort in their stupidity, but there is a clear and fervent movement that is embracing her. I find it frightening how someone who has no experience, education or valid credentials to lead a nation may get the chance to do so merely through their assumed personality. Then again, two come to mind – Hitler and Bush – and it is abundantly clear what happened when they were in power.

    • collapse expand

      Look everyone calm down. You need to remember that the amount of attention she gets is way out of proportion to her actual popularity. The demographics of this country – particularly the growth of minorities – are profoundly against Palin ever winning a presidential race.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        It’s true. Thank you for making an obvious, sensible point. She never garners more than 35% approval in polls of the general population out there. That’s never going to be enough to make it to the WH.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        I think that’s exactly right. But I am hopeful that the republic party is just demented enough that they can’t avoid nominating her. That kind of freak show might be enough to solidify them into a permanent minority.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        I agree. In my household, I am puzzled by the positively apoplectic reaction my husband has to her every time she appears on the t.v. On the other hand, he tends to tune out my harping on the latest round of crap spilling forth from Thomas Friedman’s pen. (admittedly, my annoyance has lessened since the discovery of a whole world of Friedman haters–thanks Matt!). But I think that those who disguise their lousy (and usually corporate -friendly) ideas under the cover of being “reasonable” and “moderate” are more dangerous in the long run.
        But, I think the more important point here is this: three cats? Is this really the limit?. I think the rules are more elastic. My rule is this: take the number of cats in my household and add 1. That will give you the number for crossing the line. So, the limit is five. (although two adults comprise our household so maybe under Matt’s rule 6 would be acceptable?)
        Anyway, 3 is a rather generous figure from those who don’t like cats. One thing that we can probably be certain of is that Sarah Palin would say 1 is crossing the line into weirdness. She is definitely a dog person.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
  11. collapse expand

    Of COURSE these redneck jokes were thrown out in no-tax-payin’-big-bank-headquartered, double-digit-metro-unemployment Charlotte. Why talk about anything real…

    Matt, Palin pulled this same shit in Raleigh in ‘08…her entrance music was “I’m a Redneck Woman.” At least five minutes of support-the-troops rah rah. The amusing aspect of this is the majority of the crowd were well-dressed attractive women in their 20s. Women who wouldn’t let a redneck mow their lawn!

  12. collapse expand

    I think part of her popularity stems from the fact that those who adore her believe that as dumb, thick-headed, and bigoted as they are, she is more so and they feel comfortable with that. Gov. Milfy validates what they are.

  13. collapse expand

    I think people will never care how many jokes she barrows. Even when people find out she doesn’t write her own speeches that’s okay, because if they (her supporters) ever had to give a lecture to a very large group of people, they would want to steal jokes or have someone else write the material for them too. She makes not doing your own work okay.

    She doesn’t want or expect any one to be different than what they are right now – in fact, you can even let yourself go and that would be okay too. She is making it acceptable, even desirable to never have to aspire to *anything*.

    What lazy American doesn’t want to hear that?! Maybe lazy isn’t the right word. I certainly do not believe all are supporters are physically lazy. She isn’t lecturing on being “inspired” she is telling everyone it is alright to be “UNinspired”. We are fast seeing that this is exactly what people want to hear.
    Many people, in general, like it when they don’t actually have to DO anything or put thought into anything. She gives people permission to intellectually do nothing – and that it is okay! She loves you just the way you are.

    Who doesn’t want to hear this stuff? What, you mean I don’t have to aspire, or work to be any better than I am right now? That is SUCH a relief!

    Politics, this financial crisis, health care issues, these environmental “concerns”, the wars going on right now and foreign policy etc. etc. etc. This all makes my head spin and it takes time to learn and comprehend. Time is just something I don’t have right now because I am working two (maybe three) jobs and I have a family. All I know is that taxes are bad, immigrants are bad, gays are bad, being pro-choice is bad, apparently people are trying to take away my right to own firearms, and wars are good because freedom isn’t free!
    It is action vs. inaction. Thought vs. no-thought. It works because let’s face it we all like to sleep in sometimes. It is just, most of us realize we can’t do it everyday – even when someone tells us it’s alright.

    Grizzlies…don’t bears hibernate six months out of the year? The only time they ‘rise up’ is when they want to make off with someone’s picnic basket and then go back to sleep.

  14. collapse expand

    But, but … I love it when Jeff Foxworthy does his “you may be a redneck if” routine. Maybe the difference is that Foxworthy actually has some intelligence while Palin just comes off as being one more mo-ron no matter what she does/says.

  15. collapse expand

    You might be a redneck if… you think this dingbat Sarah Palin is capable of running this country.

    You might be a redneck if… you steal Jeff Foxworthy’s 10 year old material.

    You might be a redneck if… your water breaks in Texas and you fly back to Alaska to see the family doctor, risking going into labor on the plane home.

    You might be a redneck if… your requirements to give a graduation speech at a college includes ‘two bendy-straws.’

  16. collapse expand

    Gorgeous Gov. Sarah Palin is the Golden Girl of the Great Northwest AND the Darling of Dixie, which is quite a feat for a modest, decorous lady. Survey says: Her male detractors attempt to compensate with venom & vitriol for their lack of virility.

  17. collapse expand

    This was a very well-written article that touches on a lot of points, I give it 5 thumbs up. As for ‘how many jokes is too many,’ I’m of the opinion that a lot of politicians sometimes use one — a single joke — at the start of their appearance, to break the silence, and segue into whatever topic it is that they have (previously written by some speech-writer).

    So… What Sarah Palin is saying is, she wants members of the NRA hunting her and her fellow ‘momma-grizzlies’ down? Is that what she’s saying, she wants to be hunted instead of being the ‘gas-up-the-chopper-I-can-take-out-an-Alaskan-wolf-from-100-yards-in-the-sky-while-that-poor-defenseless-animal-runs-for-cover-in-the-nearest-cave-it-can-find’ hunter?

    You’re absolutely right, by the way, *most* people like to have their egos stroked; us intelligent folk would quickly — and I mean VERY quickly — tire of it. It’s one thing to compliment someone once, it’s entirely something else to continually stroke their egos.

  18. collapse expand

    I think she’s just what this generation of ‘Americans’ deserves.

  19. collapse expand

    The Sarah Palin phenomenon always reminded me of something else, and last night I remembered what. Several years ago, an unknown entertainer took the country music scene by storm. She was an outdoorsy kind of gal, with thick brown hair and a smokin’ body, from the the northern part of the continent. She had it all: a quiet, supportive husband who stayed mostly in the background, the self-sacrifice to take care of a brood of kids (in the singer’s case, her younger orphaned siblings) and a talent for giving the people what they wanted. Whether she meant to be or not, she was the perfect combination of madonna and ***** and the people ate it up. It’s just too bad that her nasally croaking didn’t amount to good singing. Last I heard she took her well-deserved pile of money and moved to a chalet in Switzerland. She was only an entertainer, so no harm done. Sarah Palin actually wants to make life-and-death decisions. For all of us. Please, no.

  20. collapse expand

    Wow, you know Matt, that is a good point. It fits right in with Lincoln, you know all that rail splitter crap and walking 5 miles to the library to return a book, living in log cabin, hokey country stuff…and did you ever read any of Lincoln’s long winded jokes? Oh, my God! So boring…before he married he would also use them in letters to promising wimmen (used to fit in with his nuance…). Lincoln was also supposed to have a high pitched nasal mid-western twangy voice. God damn, how the Hell did he become Prez? (PS…most the opposition were all from upstate NY and all of the “good” class.) But in his fucked up way he could manage the country.
    And God, you could do a job on Jackson…I guess you know what upper class Teddy Roosevelt said about him…yesireebob! Oops, no, it’s boob…that’s it. And don’t be so fucking stupid to think I’m comparing here. Leaders…real leaders come in guises that do not fit molds…ah, unlike our dwarf leader Obimbo who fits a shitload of molds that are blindly revered to no good end.

  21. collapse expand

    She’s tuned in to the fact that her audiences literally can’t get enough of having their lunatic self-images massaged… and aren’t really interested in much else beyond that — issues are really secondary.

    So true. These extremist conservatives are just on a power trip, trying to assert that they are more important than everybody else – indeed, the only Americans who really count.

    On the other hand, I think at least one of the reasons why some people are so receptive to people like her is that’s quite a lot of classism among liberals, as evidenced by things like redneck jokes, writing Palin off as some yokel (when she’s obviously well-off). I think most conservatives are motivated by a fear of losing their privilege as white people or as people playing out traditional gender roles. But making fun of them for lacking class privilege doesn’t help.

  22. collapse expand

    Poor America, no more bourgeois anymore. Only opportunists and vampires.

  23. collapse expand

    How many dishes did you run through your mind before you settled on the perfectly sublime ‘egg salad?’

    “… eating egg salad off a ping-pong table” transcends poetry. You will be plagiarized, hopefully by those higher up the food chain than Palin.

  24. collapse expand

    God, I am so fuckkkkeeeed up! I forget about Lincoln’s pedigree list of schools. Oops, there is none…no fucking school. He sent his son to one…but he himself got his head put on by…observing, following, mimicking, and doing.
    He did what he did to get his head above water…including work as a corporate lawyer for the railroads (controlled by the robber barons). That would be like being…oh, being in Goldman-Sucks today. God, this guy has a bad resume…
    I have backed health care since Hillary tried it. I even argued it should be in the Constitution. But this fucked up package is an ignorant ploy to gain votes. That’s all…and forcing people to get it is…Kafkaesque…actually, Obimbo is Kafkaesque in many ways.

  25. collapse expand

    Thank you Matt. I l-o-v-e your writing.
    Some of us feel that even one animal, cat/dog whatever is too
    much.
    For utter Freedom, having a solitary pursuit of a life with no “need”
    for the ahem magic love of an animal that jumps with excitement upon
    your appearance. The ego sop is so superficial, I am surprised so many
    are addicted to it. But then, that is America.
    If your spirit can lead you 24/7, and you are self-employed and
    self-sufficient, you can walk a pathway unique to yourself and your
    one life. If you truly eat the proper foods (only) that rebuild your
    body and mind, you can eliminate many costs related to health care,
    aging etc.
    If self-sufficient, self-employed you have no “job related” costs as
    when you are employed by another…commuting, attire, “doing lunch”.
    As for Madam Palin being elected President over Barack Obama, the man
    would have to be dead.
    That is what Palin’s “RELOAD” is hinting at,
    “get this guy and I can be President…come on NRA’s…USE those guns
    before “they” take them away…you KNOW they will.”
    That is why she
    is dangerous for our country. That is why she has to be STOPPED, shamed,
    indicted and jailed. Her trail is dirty enough to undo her, the powers
    that be just have to get in gear.
    Though she has a team to prop up
    every slick trick, she has NOT crossed every “T” and dotted every “I”.
    Blatant tax evasions on her Cadillac Cabins in AK are a CRIME…
    fer starters.

  26. collapse expand

    Reptilian is such an appropriate word. I really would hope that some of us would at least rise up to the mammal level and prevent this woman from holding any real office.

  27. collapse expand

    Lincoln had his features made fun of to a large extent and even one NJ newspaper (he never carried the state) compared him to a gorilla.
    But he had his ways…he owned a German language newspaper in Chicago and these immigrant votes helped.

  28. collapse expand

    “love to be told how tough and fearsome and independent they are. ”

    Bleche!! don’t you just want to puke?
    Americans have such
    sick-ego-infections.
    Too many more though are SANE. TA DAH!
    Sanity and reality are evolving into our mainstream.
    The total ridiculousness of the Woof Woof USA USA dum-dums is so blatantly apparent, even some on FOX are having to blink once in a while.
    CNN has improved dramatically since the Oil Spill and the Times Square bomber, they are going for some facts and much less bullcrap than even a month ago.
    The Ed Show on MSNBC has been spitting out the straight poop with language the average man can completely understand and agree with. Many approaches to the Truth are emerging and there is hope growing nationwide.
    Keith and Rachel are determined and delivering, outright great efforts.
    And nobody tells it like it is better than Matt Taibbi!

  29. collapse expand

    Matt:
    GREAT perspective… Having a bit of experience around folks like you’ve described, Palin’s “FIT” in this environment is classic and is right on the money.

    This allowing her to win the Presidency says a whole lot about the rest of us. That should be enough to jolt us into the reality of what that means. Both to the country AND to us, personally !!! That’s truly scary because this could mean the exit of MILLIONS of people OUT of the US, by choice, to get away from people that are truly that stupid.

  30. collapse expand

    Hello friends.This is off-topic.

    I just finished reading Matt’s last article on the Goldman prosecution. I have one key question for anyone: why haven’t the investors, who apparently got screwed, complained? Unless I missed that they did complain.

    One criticism about Matt’s article: Matt faults Charles Gasperino for having put him down for his original Goldman (squid) article, which gives the impression that Gasperino is a Wall Street defender.Well, Gasperino is very critical of Wall Street, and his book “The Sellout” shows that clearly.

    Oh yeah, I am also reading Rubin’s memoir “In an Uncertain World”. Typical Clintonite Third way bullshit..

    Marco

  31. collapse expand

    Thirty years ago, I can remember thinking that there’s no way Americans would hand their country over to a guy who had been repeating and repeating that same collection of cheery bromides and snarky put-downs of caricatures and straw men, (“The Speech”) for twenty years, certainly not over a nuclear engineer.

    It’s certainly clearer to me now that they vote for the person, not the position, so it’s all about appearing to be that special someone with the right background, looks, personality and attitudes.

    Matt has pointed out before that a bunch of randomly-questioned people at an Obama rally mostly weren’t very up on the issues themselves: they just liked Obama. At the time he was pointing out that liberals who were then having great fun with a viral video of people at a Palin book-signing being quite unable to discuss an issue, any issue, should maybe look around them.

    Dana Milbank has a column up today about the “implosion” of the GOP as it starts to adopt “tea party” planks about World Government and drop politicians with 84% conservative voting records.

    I don’t see this as a left-wing win, though, even if it were a Democratic party win. Shifting the discussion over to Mrs. Palin’s territory is why public options and trials for terrorists are now “far left-wing” positions completely off the table.

    Even if Mrs. Palin and others in that neighbourhood hand most elections for years to come over to the Democrats…they won’t be the Democrats you remember any more. They’ll look a lot like Reagan-era Republicans. Remember Reagan signing the 1988 UN Convention on Torture with a speech about how it was never justified under any circumstances? Now a distinctly left-wing opinion.

  32. collapse expand

    Terrifying, Matt, absolutely terrifying. Thank you for the analysis. I think the Internet joke part is a distraction but the commentary on Palin’s appeal is spot on.

  33. collapse expand

    > I think these things can win the White House for her

    Ain’t happening. And I’m not worried in the slightest. Yes, her retarded core is rabid — but ~40% of the country completely loathes her. She doesn’t have the numbers no matter how you slice it.

    But goodgodalmighty I hope she runs. As that looks to be the only way we’ll get to see her do a live press conference… as the first nuanced policy question will produce some of the greatest television ever.

    Even better… I would love to see a question put to her on some made-up scenario involving a non-existent country… ie., something about Yugoslavia. You would have her dead-to-rights and twisting in the wind.

    Please run Sarah… please run Sarah.

  34. collapse expand

    Her act is that of a small town beauty contestant with a pre-programmed script and formatted all-purpose answers. Over and over and over again when she’s interviewed, she’s shown there’s nothing there unless it’s been been written out for her ahead of time (she didn’t find those jokes on the Internet either – somebody else did it for her). Her 24% base may love her stik and she may get richer and richer, but I don’t think this is going anywhere.

  35. collapse expand

    My favorite moronic thing she said at the NRA convention was that despite Pelosi and Obama ( already scary) not saying peep about gun control, they secretly want to take away all of the guns. Brilliant piece of nonsense, name two liberal bogeymen and slide it in some old chestnut about liberals and guns… instant red meat horsehit. You know she would cry about the “lame stream” media picking on a hard working mother of retarded children if someone made a wild ass reach like that.

  36. collapse expand

    First off, I voted for Obama, read both of his books, and consider Palin a joke. But the idea that conservatives are mental defectives is pretty silly. For one thing, a recent study showed Tea Partiers — every liberal’s favorite object of derision — to be better educated and more highly compensated than the general population.

    Yes, there are Palin supporters giving soundbites like, “I don’t know, I just like her. She’s for freedom and stuff. And she loves America.” But you can just as easily pick out embarrassing Obama supporters. Check out this caller from C-Span’s Washington Journal this morning (Saturday, May 15).

    http://www.c-span.org/Series/Washington-Journal.aspx

    Scroll down toward the bottom of the page, click on “Entire Program” and skip ahead to the 1 hr, 28 min mark and listen to the caller from Alameda, CA. Go on, I dare you. (It’s very easy to do.) To many conservatives, THAT is the definitive Obama supporter.

    I guess I’m just warning folks who call themselves liberals and progressives to be careful not to throw your arms out of joint in your zest to pat yourselves on the back. There are many conservatives who feel just as smug in their views as you do.

  37. collapse expand

    What bugs me most- Both the conservatives expounding this idea, and the liberals buying the premise but just making fun of it from a liberal angle. When I look at Sarah Palin rallies, I actually see more affluent types present. Tea Parties seem to be attended more by affluent small, and medium business owner types. There was that poll stating that less than 2% of the general population makes more than $250,000 a year, but 12 or 13% of Tea partiers do. They might have frustrations, of various types, and maybe the profit margins of their small businesses are being squeezed by the economy too, but that’s a different sort of stress from what most working people are going through.

    Are there some confused, or gullible working people falling for all this stuff. Obviously there are. If Obama gets more discredited, and the left provides no real alternative there’s going to be even more. But I get the feeling this ‘regular folks’ style right-wing populism is almost more for the benefit of upper-middle-class right-wingers who, apparently, want to go around fancying themselves part of the ‘regular folk’ even though they’re rich. It’s a bunch of cultural signifiers that have little or nothing to do with actual class. I’m hardly the first person to point this out.

    Furthermore it paints over differences that exist WITHIN Middle America. As if everyone from a small or medium sized town in ‘Middle America’ is part of some non-class specific mass of ‘regular folk’ who all agree about everything. Small towns are filled with class, and social, and cultural tensions of their own. Being part of Middle America’s upper-middle class might not be quite the same as being part of Manhattan, or the Bay Area, or some college town’s liberal upper-middle-class. But it’s certainly not the same as being working-class, whether you buy a truck, and dance to that Redneck Woman song at a Sarah Palin rally or not.

    You really should check out the 1990’s film Drop Dead Gorgeous. Firstly because it can provide further insight into middle America small-town life, and its class tensions, and secondly because Kirstie Alley basically portrayed Sarah Palin spot-on 10 years before anyone outside Alaska knew who she was.

    It’s on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPVbhMkNjKo

    • collapse expand

      Are there some confused, or gullible working people falling for all this stuff. Obviously there are. If Obama gets more discredited, and the left provides no real alternative there’s going to be even more.

      And if liberals continue to make fun of them.

      But I get the feeling this ‘regular folks’ style right-wing populism is almost more for the benefit of upper-middle-class right-wingers who, apparently, want to go around fancying themselves part of the ‘regular folk’ even though they’re rich.

      It bolsters the conservative worldview by affirming that their success is all self-made, they didn’t have any privileges or advantages, and pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
    • collapse expand

      Thanks for the clip; I’d never seen the movie until today. I might watch the rest later.

      Too bad Diane Sawyer didn’t interview Palin; d’ya think there woulda been some chemistry? (not the haphazar explosion kind)

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  38. collapse expand

    As a former speechwriter for corporate executives, I see this differently. It doesn’t matter where you snag your humor, it must be relevant to the audience. IMHO telling red neck jokes to the NRA is incredibly condescending. Are all NRA members red necks? Poorly targeted humor, no preparation and sheer fabrication of “red meat” is pro forma for Palin; she’s proved through 5 colleges and multiple jobs, she has no appetite for homework.

    • collapse expand

      I largely do not agree here. I grew up in the rural working and agricultural classes of America and went to school with and have most of my friends among the urban educated and wealthy classes (though I’m overseas now) and one thing that’s painfully clear among educated, wealthy people – particularly when you get to the major metropolises – is that they simply don’t know how to talk to common folks. Their hearts are in the right place, but they’re out of their depth and constantly either genuflecting while dodging what they presume to be touchy topics (Northern Calfiornians are awful about this) or they’re absent-mindedly and accidentally making snide remarks (East Coasters are worse about this). This crowd isn’t going to be offended to be told redneck jokes by one of their own anymore than a crowd at The Apollo is going to be offended by having a black comedian make nigger jokes. It’s all in the authenticity.

      What’s really interesting is not the Sarah Palin types, who aren’t acting, but the George W. Bush types who are themselves extremely wealthy and influential elites who manage to pull off the authenticity anyway. This is where the crazy “class” divide in America being split along cultural lines gets so weird and why Thomas Frank’s writing on the topic is just so damned good.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  39. collapse expand

    Palin is a fascination, in an exhilarating way to her supporters and in an exasperating way to her detractors, because she’s cake. A vacation. Unlike any other subject in the public spotlight, no mental effort is required to analyze Sarah Palin–just as no mental effort is occurring within Sarah Palin. She’s the perfect foil for an ADHD generation.

  40. collapse expand

    I’m old enough to remember the election of 1980. At the time I was thrilled that the Repugs had nominated a total nut-case right wing extremist who couldn’t put two words together to form a coherent sentence. He did read a script real well, though (as Palin did at the Repug convention, too). He was widely considered way too far right to win. We all know what happened. Yes, she COULD beat Obama. Especially if his increasingly disgusted base stays home.

    • collapse expand

      I started off this Reagan comparison thing about 15 comments north of here. And now I’m making one note against it.

      One of Matt’s most-seen posts of the year was about “Yes, Sarah, there’s a media conspiracy”, noting that the media were dumping on her, and were doing so because they felt it was safe. My favourite line was that “All Five Families have signed off on the hit.”

      What distinguishes Reagan from Palin was that Reagan was a corporate spokesmodel from way, way back and had no problem at all memorizing the lines written for him by the GOP Old Guard, lines that didn’t just support big bidness, but soothed the fears of independents and even won friends that had never voted anything but Democratic before.

      The entire point of Palin, on the other hand, is “Going Rogue”: refusing to memorize any facts and figures, to study up for debates, to soften her words. Her base is to attack all things to the left of her, not just to the left of centre (much less make friends way over there). That’s why she has such high negatives.

      Palin can be a successful politician if she’ll knuckle under, apologize to those “Five Families” and start memorizing some new lines. But as long as she “goes rogue” from the GOP itself, she’ll remain an entertainment act. A very useful one that keeps the conversation way further to the right and makes public options look further left than they are, but not an electable politician.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  41. collapse expand

    Obama’s skin color worked for him…..even though he had never been down for the struggle….instead he was a pampered islander and world traveler, educated and indoctrinated by communists

    • collapse expand

      You have got to be kidding me. Do you just repeat what the drugster rush says or do you actually have a mind of your own. “pampered islander and world traveler” your joking right. I read his book were he talks about his childhood, obviously you didn’t, and that is not how I would consider it. So Harvard law is communists? Do you even know what communist means, it doesn’t sound like it. You are everything wrong with this country. How can you be so ignorant and stupid.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  42. collapse expand

    I really just want someone to rip her for talking constantly about the “lame-stream” media when she is part of one of the highest rated networks in Fox News. If the majority of people get their news from your network wouldn’t that make it main stream?

  43. collapse expand

    I am somewhat torn regarding the media attention toward Palin. Can’t the media just ignore – or at least minimalize – her exploits like they did the support for Obama and the protests against the war in Iraq? Networks like FOX had an amazing ability to convince a huge number of people those 2 things were on the fringe. Face it, the last election was way closer than it should have been, given the candidates.*

    When Palin is given the time of day, I sometimes think we are hearing The Sound of Thunder, that someone stepped off the path, damn them, and now we’re stuck with this clown with a beauty queen’s smile and popular girl’s attraction and mean-spiritedness, talking to us on the same grade level as W did.

    There need to be people taking note of her crap because being informed is half the battle. But I’m not so convinced we need to provide any platform for her. Negative press just brings out her supporters, louder than the last time.

    Part of me also wonders if the right isn’t enjoying this from a strategic stance: whip up a frenzy with a puppet even they wouldn’t trust for fear of rogue behavior. Then bring in someone with brains and qualifications – à la Meiers followed by Alito – who can take the neo-con platform and pull a majority on to it, giving us another embarrassing administration that somehow manages to give corporations even more power via loopholes and paybacks.

    My best hope is that Palin will fade out of the scene. Next hope down – she’ll settle into a media personality, and lose relevance much as that banshee Coulter did. Removed from reality is my hope for a strong progressive party, which means the establishment and success of a 3rd party. With a wish and some flair, I’ll see that in my lifetime.

    *Yes, Obama has been a disappointment for many, which the right loves. I think his early anti-Iraq war stance gave him the aura of a true liberal when all he was was a politically-sensible/savvy moderate. So neo-cons can call him a socialist while liberals feel abandoned. This footnote is digressing more as I try to clarify the above, though. You can skip this of go back to Palin.

    Nope, one more thing: Obama’s administration = baby steps back to the left. No, he’s not nearly as liberal as I would like, but people are slow to change (the 70’s seemed to be the last era when upheaval was *de riguer*). The country’s been pulled far to the political right as a whole; we have a way to go, and it won’t happen overnight. We need to support those who are willing to expose corruption on any side of the political spectrum as well as push for progressive policies. Then we need to be patient and persevere until things come to pass. That’s pretty much what the right did once Clinton (yet another moderate) was elected, and things picked up pretty quickly for them once the ball got rolling.

  44. collapse expand

    Hey. Making money out of wannabe crony capitalists is good business! China takes care of the rest!

  45. collapse expand

    Sarah Palin is not doing anything her handlers don’t tell her to do. We need to remember — there are very rich people who have their people plan out what republicans with a hope of gaining any kind of traction amongst a large number of people, do. Palin was part of a strategy to get women republicans elected. Just like here in Hawaii another idiot woman was financed and first became the mayor of Maui county, and then became the current governor of Hawaii, even though Hawaii is overwhelmingly democrat. She was well financed and coached the whole way through. The strategy was to appeal to women, and it worked.

    What Palin is doing shows the utter desperation of the republican money people. By acting like a redneck she will only appeal to a sliver of the electorate, but they are so desperate for a presidential figure they are willing to bet the bank on that sliver. It won’t work. Most republicans are older people, people who aren’t impressed by the redneck routine, people who want an experienced seemingly intelligent leader. The older the better. That’s why McCain was the nominee the last cycle. There were better candidates, but the republican base are attracted to older experienced people, or to people they see as connected to a continuum of experience, i.e. Dubya.

    Palin is nothing more than a waste of time for the republican money people. As time goes on and the polls continue to show she is unable to gain any traction beyond a sliver of the electorate — they will abandon her. She will settle into her role as gadfly biting at the democrats, probably we will see this happen by the end of the year. The money people are testing the waters, once they figure out it is a hopeless cause Palin will be told to exit stage left.

  46. collapse expand

    Hmm, I think Palin represents the New Dichotomy between people who lead real lives dealing with things and, shall we say, absentee video heads leading synthetic lives once removed from trying to fuck Lara Croft/and/or her male sosie. Once removed in the sense they realize it won’t work and they have bought the inflatable doll and are really tempted but can’t get the effort to penetrate the thing/have it penetrate them. They must be apartment dwellers bound into city life they believe must and will become just like “Friends”…one day. Hmmm, and they must treat the real people who do the little jobs around them, you know, like cashier, maintenance man, the regular people who make up most of the working population…they bundle them into hated icons. Kind of a reverse commumism for snobs. The oppression of the knowing-it-all minority convinced of their own superiority on all the dolts who are just digging grubs. And I don’t include Matt here cause he likes Obama and that’s cool with me and he even writes some things that bring out good things about Palin that brings disgust on him from these camp followers. What is further interesting is that Palin is well integrated into the Eskimo community via marriage with her husband. And much of her life reflects that of the average American…which is why she is popular. And the hoity-toity types send missives that rail against these people seemingly wanting to send them all to some gulag they have created to “protect” themselves against the hoi polloi. That is what I liked about the draft, it kept these people running. Yea, Viet Nam was a fiasco, but unluckily it created a shism against government service…but like the country is made up of all of us…so all of us should do some kind of service. France is pretty much that way, if you don’t want to serve in the fighting forces you can serve in other ways, a friend there was sent to Japan to teach in the Alliance Francaise…and he learned good Japanese out of it. Our professional army is ok, but having draftees adds alot of pizazz that would normally be missed. Anway, Palin comes from the type of people who make up our Army. The ersatz lives that find this disgusting vent over it, but its not going away. Funny, but the Army is way ahead in its plurism (your see more mixed marraiges than in civilian life) and you get more out of wedlock babies than in civilian life. In ways, it is the ultimate socialist experiment. Funny enough, Obama’s mother fits right in there vis-a-vis the life style she led. Gee, we have the Palin family meeting the Obama family. Gee whiz, we are all together…

  47. collapse expand

    What a dumb statement about the liberal/consero split. What about conservatives backing the legalization of pot? And there are other things…it’s more complex.

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    About Me

    I'm a political reporter for Rolling Stone magazine, a sports columnist for Men's Journal, and I also write books for a Random House imprint called Spiegel and Grau.

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