Posts Tagged ‘sarah palin’

This is possibly the funniest video of the 2008 election season since the Paris Hilton ad:


He’s as happy as a father whose kid marveled in her role as a “tree” in a third grade play. (Did you see how she didn’t fall, she stood there like a real tree!) Not so surprisingly, in the next video, he states how “proud he is with Sarah Palin”. 


Being proud of your VP pick… isn’t it kind of funny? Think of all the presidents and VPs, can you picture one where the president could say he’s proud with his VP in such a joy? (For sanity purposes, don’t try Bush and Cheney, if anything reverse could be the case there: I’m so proud of you George, and oh, why don’t you sign this energy bill, I’ll then take you out to play.)


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After the vice presidential debate last night (October 2, 2008), one thing became clearer:

The Republican party does not take citizens of the United States of America seriously, which at certain points, like the debate last night, turns into almost insulting Americans.

Let me spell out what I mean…

When Sarah Palin was announced as the VP pick, I immediately thought that this was an insult on the intellect of the women of this country. The thought that she could get the votes of former Hillary Clinton supporters was nothing short of offensive for those people who had supported Hillary because her political views and her inspiring political trajectory as a woman (not solely because she had one extra chromosome). Even though Palin had possibly swung some potential votes during her glamorous introduction to national politics, later on, it became clear that women did not buy her argument. The demos showed that they can tell the difference between the original and the fake. A splash of lipstick on Palin’s face was not enough to make her Hillary (much, much more is needed for that and I don’t even think a comparison between the two is fair to Clinton). From there on, the appeal to women dimension of the Palin candidacy was slowed down, if not muted totally.

As we watched the debate yesterday, we saw, once again, that the Republicans are trying this failed formula, this time designating the electorate at large as the constituency they would like to insult. Even if we leave aside the insulting choice of Sarah Palin, who does not have even a basic knowledge of the economy (or foreign policy), the debate last night, as well as John McCain’s performance in the last two weeks showed that the Republicans are out there offering nothing but platitudes about the economy and how they both are mavericks. We are in the midst of one of the worst crisis in the US economic history and they cannot / do not talk about what they will do if elected. Despite repeated questions, Sarah Palin could not/did not speak about deregulation. All she said about the economy was to continue the party line, a blind belief in “trickle down” theory of economics, that has been unsuccessful or damaging for the working classes over the past 8 years. In effect this is exactly like trying to swing woman voters by telling them, “hey we are of the same sex, vote for me. I may oppose your right to choose, I will try to make abortion illegal even if you are raped but hey we are all women, vote for me!”  

What I call an insult at this point is to try to cover their lack of genuine solutions with a fake appeal to the people’s values, everyday American way of life, etc. It is the old “lipstick” problem, put on the last 8 years a lipstick (whatever flying colors you’d like to) and it is still the same. Telling to people that you are the agents of change without giving them any clue about how you will change things and telling them instead, “hey buddy you can have beer with me or sit around the same kitchen table” is a plain insult. This is like saying, “hey vote for me men, I’m against everything that’s good for you, but I can tell you all about that around a kitchen table, or in a diner booth. I can even use a northern small town accent and wink at you with my folksy (foxy?) manners as a treat.”

 When the economy is in good shape, this may work, which is what we have seen in the last two elections in the United States. But when the economy is in bad shape and when the things to put on that kitchen table is diminishing each day, people may not care about sitting down with you on that table or listening to your oh so American remarks about the economy you don’t know. They care more about how you plan to change it and they care about knowing that before the election day. I believe, hitting this note of “I’m a hockey mom”, “I’m a Joe Sixpack” too much as an alternative to offering solutions to people’s problems risks more and more making those people angry, an effect which is totally opposite what the McCain camp would want.  

What distinguishes Obama /Biden ticket is this point. They try to lay out their plans. They say, they are going to do X, Y and Z. They tell people, this is the plan. To be clear, their plan is not great. The available room for maneuver in a system like this is rather small –and bad for the working classes- anyway. But they seem to take seriously the people and offer them with their plan, rather than, saying, hey let’s have beer and I will pull a rabbit out of my hat later to fix the economy. If the “ideal” of democracy is about communicating your solutions to the public in a reasoned discourse, then Obama and Biden come closer to this ideal way more than McCain and Palin. Their position in this sense is much more respectful towards the people, they are seeking to lead.

People identifying with the candidate is also greatly important of course. Of course, in today’s elections, issues are much less important compared to the past and choosing someone you feel close to is a motive that leads people to vote for candidates who they would like. Palin is obviously trying really hard to hit that note. But as I said, at a time when identification (with the politician) means nothing more than the continuation of (economic) misery, politicians trying to play that game risk being seen as “out of touch”, “arrogant” and BSing, despite their belief that they are doing the opposite. (Especially if one of the guys on the ticket cannot even remember the number of houses he has. Well all that lipstick thing all over again.)



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I think it is no news anymore that right/Republican party is greatly hypocritical politically speaking. Just watch, as an example, a Jon Stewart segment that nails the issue.


It is OK, just another example, to “use” your kid with down syndrome to get votes of other Americans, to showcase him as a proud example of your pro life views, yet your other kid’s pregnancy is an off limits “private family matter”. Not to mention of course marketing yourself as an average/good (hockey) mom when you knowingly throw your teen daughter in the nasty national spotlight for your political ambitions (when she least needed that).

It would take pages, maybe a book, if we’d like to go on and on about the republican brand and its politics of hypocrisy and I don’t want to write about that, other people already do. I am apalled, nonetheless, to see that the right politics of hypocrisy is actually right (at least sometimes). It works, it gets votes.

What is as interesting is that exactly same thing is happening in Turkey. The religious right, which I believe is the exact counter part of Sarah Palin type evangelist, are terribly hypocritical. They (not all of them of course) are corrupt, yet they say they’re totally clean. They ask for more tolerance for religious signs and views in the public sphere, yet whenever the Ramadan, the holy month for Islam, comes, they beat up people who do not follow Islamic rituals (of the month). 

One other similarity is the use of God. It turns out god is a very useful tool in politics. Here a NYTimes from today. The story goes:

“Shortly after taking office as governor in 2006, Sarah Palin sent an e-mail message to Paul E. Riley, her former pastor in the Assembly of God Church, which her family began attending when she was a youth. She needed spiritual advice in how to do her new job, said Mr. Riley, who is 78 and retired from the church.”

A governor asking advice from a pastor on how to do her job? What? But no, it’s not over, the story continues:

“In the address at the Assembly of God Church here, Ms. Palin’s ease in talking about the intersection of faith and public life was clear. Among other things, she encouraged the group of young church leaders to pray that “God’s will” be done in bringing about the construction of a big pipeline in the state, and suggested her work as governor would be hampered “if the people of Alaska’s heart isn’t right with God.””


“pray[ing] that “God’s will” be done in bringing about the construction of a big pipeline in the state”? What the hell, where are we? I can’t decide which is worse: If she’s using god’s name for political reasons (to make herself popular), or if she truly believes in it. Yeah, I’m sure god wants a pipeline in Alaska.

How similar, or the same, this is with what some religious fanatics in Turkey said after the great earthquake of 1999, which killed more than 30.000 people: “This is how God punishes”, they said “a people who went out of his way”. 

Worst of all is, and Obama was 100% right, with more and more inequality in distribution of wealth and with more people being unable to afford to learn what really is going on in the world, they cling to the religious idioms, or media stupidity in making their decisions in elections. In this system where people don’t have time or energy (because they’re worked to death with very little pay) to understand what really is going on, they vote on the grounds that “oh he/she’s just like me”. (I heard a woman yesterday saying on TV that “Sarah Palin showed that every American citizen could become the VP” and that’s why she’s voting for Palin – Very well said!)

I think up until Bush’s presidency maybe these marginal small town tendencies in American administration could be kept at bay. But with Bush the evangelists took the Republican party and now that spirit continues with Palin. (Mc Cain, the maverick, could not resist their pressures and instead of choosing his preferred VP candidate, Liebermann, caved in and picked Palin). If this narrow minded small politics (Sarah Palin got her passport in 2007, she has never traveled outside of US until then) get the white house once again, America in world political economy will be doomed big time. Not just because those small town folks do not know how the world works, but because religion and easy answers from god replaces science and diplomacy in their administration. (Not that America in the world politics today is great, but it’s yet another nightmare to think another republican term in the white house.)

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