Thursday, January 22, 2009
It's a portmanteau of Palin and syndrome. Pretty good, right?
I know it's been done to death, but I think we've missed some pretty crucial shit as pertains to this woman. I think we might not have fully understood what was going on with the certifiably insane plan to put her in charge of the Senate. So, with your indulgence, I have a few thoughts:
Sarah Palin has left the spotlight. Possibly for good. But there's a little part of me that hopes very deeply that we haven't heard the last from that little firecracker.
She was by far the most entertaining public figure in recent years. She was just so much damned fun. I've been reading conservative blogs lately, and they make a lot of...interesting...points about the little minx.
One fairly general consensus is that the "liberals" --as if there's a conservative alive that actually knows what a real liberal looks like-- basically used the act of discrediting Palin to hoist Obama up. They think that's what liberals were trying to do.
Their analogy goes something like this: saying that Palin isn't qualified to be VP, is like saying that Obama isn't qualified to be President. I think what they might be implying is that somehow, Obama and Palin are the same person!
It makes sense. I mean, they had nearly identical educations. I mean, getting a bachelor's degree in journalism from Iowa University is pretty much the same as graduating magna cum laude from Harvard Law on top of a BA in political science with an emphasis in international relations. And being Governor of Alaska is probably no different from being a U.S. Senator. I mean, the one runs the most backwater state in the country, while the other makes meaningful decisions that affect millions. I suppose Alaska is right next to Russia. Bumblefuck, Russia, anyway. On a Risk board, we're talking about Kamchatka.
Maybe Palin played Risk and, like anyone who has played Risk, knows that Alaska is very vulnerable to attack from the west.
It's important to note, that in many ways, the Republican motivation for picking Palin was to counter the Obama effect. "He's black! Quick, find a woman!" You see, conservatives see women as minorities. "I'll see your well-educated black man, and raise you an attractive white woman."
What were the liberals supposed to do? Not question her credentials?
I digress. The thing I had originally intended to do here was speculate about what, exactly, it was that got so many people into a fervor about this woman. I mean, most intelligent people dismissed her almost immediately. It was obvious that she was a little stupid, or at least, woefully underqualified to be second-in-command of the country. That's not something that's even debatable. Have we ever had a VP that had only a bachelor's degree?
I think it's the very fact that she was so unqualified that elevated her in the eyes of so many conservatives. They needed to sort of "Virgin Mary" the bitch to make her useful. They had to deify her to a certain extent. I saw a video from some Palin rally where a guy was yammering about her being "filled with the Holy Spirit." She had to become a sort of object of worship. And boy did she ever. If she had actually been qualified for the job, none of the song and dance would have been necessary. They could have just let her do her own thing. Let her stand on her own two feet. Look at Hillary. That woman doesn't need to be shielded from people who dislike her. She can take it. But Palin needed to be protected. The conservatives tried to make it seem like being mean to Palin was a bad thing.
It was fucking genius, because it bloody well worked. Forty-six percent of the voting people in this country voted for McCain, and hence, Palin. 59 million people. That's actually a pretty successful campaign. That many human-looking American citizens believed that she was qualified to cast tie-breaking votes in the Senate.
I wonder when they'll try to canonize her?
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
I only watched about five minutes or so of The Speech. From all indications, this is a different Obama that was sworn in, than the one that we saw election night. The thing that's important to realize, and we should hope that Obama understands, is that this a really big deal. I don't remember an inauguration that was this big an event. I think I might have been busy the day W. took office. Perhaps I was deliberately busy.
Let's put it in perspective. It was a big deal when MLK gave his "I have a dream" speech. A quarter million people, give or take, were there at the National Mall. I've read estimates as high as four million for Obama's inauguration. The speech was like 12 minutes long. I guess MLK's speech wasn't much longer.
But think of it. What is it about this guy that makes people so happy? Why this guy? Is it simply a case of being in the right place at the right time? Are the cosmic forces simply aligning on this one dude in such a way as to give him this sort of power over people? Perhaps that's harsh. People are willingly giving him the power to inspire hope.
Let's try and look at this objectively. He's a human being. A well-educated, intelligent, politically savvy human being. But, nonetheless, a human being. It's interesting that, in genetic terms, being black is just about meaningless. But the cultural effect of it, the visual effect of a darker skinned human, is profound.
Add in the fact that he has probably the most unsympathetic name in the history of American politics, and you're looking at a damned near disaster. And yet he won. Just two hours ago, he was sworn in as President. El Presidente. Commander-in-Chief. It's a big deal.
What brand of cigarette does he smoke, do you think? Judging by the picture, I'd say Marb Reds. But then again, Camel Filters also have the brown mottled filter. It's obviously not a light. It's probably not a menthol. But then again, who's to say that's his regular brand? I don't even know where the picture's from.
Fox News ran a story back in 2007: "Would you vote for a smoker as president?" Apparently over half of the voting public would. That's interesting. Fox will do anything to tarnish this guy's appeal. And yet... none of it took. A few people are still convinced that he's Muslim, but they're solidly in the minority. The guy is spotless. Dave Gibson (oh, beautiful Fox) called smoking Obama's "dirty little secret." Whoop-de-doo.
The crazy thing is, that's all we've been able to get. Even in the weeks since the election, nobody's managed to dig up any dirt on the guy.
And maybe that's it. There was so much dirt on Bush even before he was elected, and we still put in him in office. Obama needed to be absolutely spotless to have an ice cube's chance in hell at getting elected. I might even wager a guess that the fact that he's a smoker helped him get elected.
I wonder if he smokes around his kids.
I wonder if he'll smoke in the Oval Office. I asked some friends what they thought, and they figured it would be illegal. That he couldn't do it. But let's just imagine a situation where Obama lights up a smoke right there behind his desk. Do you honestly think anyone's going to stop him? He's the fucking President! He can smoke wherever he damn well pleases. It's not like he'd be the first person to smoke in the Oval Office. Plenty of presidents were smokers.
Anyway, there's too much here to wrap my brain around. Maybe in the next few weeks, we'll be able to figure out why this is such a big deal. Perhaps you have some suggestions?