A beautiful woman, at once a scheming, ambitious right-wing ideologue, and the powerful, evil forces behind her, plot to seize the presidency from the man—foolish enough to have made her his running-mate—who may be concealing just how seriously sick he is, both physically and mentally!
As the stuff of straight-to-video filmmaking, not bad, perhaps. But as the theory of an ostensibly serious column in America's newspaper of record? And yet, that is the paranoid picture Frank Rich paints today in Pitbull Palin Mauls McCain.
[T]he 2008 election is now an Obama-Palin race . . . and the only person who doesn’t seem to know it is Mr. Past, poor old John McCain.
Watch in horror, as the scheming woman plots behind the muddled McCain's back!
If that isn't quite egg we spot on Kathleen Parker's face, perhaps it's the product seen at the right . . .
Last week, Parker became, overnight, liberals' favorite non-liberal pundit for her column calling on Sarah Palin to step down from the GOP ticket. She described Palin's interview performances as painful, cringe-inducing, and filled with "BS." Concluding that Palin is "clearly out of her league," Parker suggested Palin announce she was quitting to spend more time with her newborn.
Parker is back with her post-debate column in today's Washington Post. The very headline, "Sarah Palin's Bridge to Somewhere," is a tacit admission that Palin has a political future. "What did they do with the other Sarah Palin?" is Parker's opening line. It sounds almost like a complaint, as if Parker is dismayed to have the Palin that made the author famous pulled out from under her.
Former Massachusetts Governor Jane Swift was diplomatic, but her message was clear: because Sarah Palin remains doubtful of getting a fair shake from the MSM, she wants to take her message directly to the American people. Swift, speaking on behalf of the McCain-Palin campaign, made the remark in response to a question from this NewsBuster during the course of a conference call this afternoon.
Swift took the question after making opening remarks in which she said that Governor Palin won last night's debate in part because she was able to connect with Americans as "a person from the middle class who [expressed] the real anxieties that families have about our economy right now." After suggesting that Senator Biden didn't connect as well, Swift added that Biden made a significant number of incorrect statements "that kept the fact-checkers busy."
It was then that NewsBusters had the opportunity to pose its question. Listen to audio here.
Poor Joe. Ann Curry is concerned that the senator from Delaware was the victim of a double-standard during last night's debate that caused him to hide his light under a barrel. The Today show co-anchor [subbing for Meredith Vieira] expressed her misgivings this morning to Obama supporter Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.)
ANN CURRY: But he restrained himself to some degree. I mean, she called him "Joe," he called her "Governor." She attacked him, he didn't attack her. Do you think there was a double-standard at play here? Did Joe pull down his full game, and did that hurt him last night--and his ticket?
For someone who doesn't know something as obvious as the fact that—given her upcoming book—Gwen Ifill has a financial stake in an Obama win, Maggie Rodriguez has an awfully high opinion of the knowledge level of ordinary Americans. Rodriguez interviewed a feisty Fred Thompson on today's Early Show. During the course of the contentious exchange:
Questioning Thompson on Sarah Palin's inability to name a Supreme Court decision other than Roe v. Wade with which she disagreed, Rodriguez claimed that “everybody” and “ordinary Americans” can cite Supreme Court cases.
When Thompson stated that Palin would be dealing tonight with a moderator with a financial interest in an Obama win, Rodriguez retorted “I don’t know about that.”
It's the kind of liberal media bias that is perhaps the most telling of all. The unconscious sort, revealing an MSMer's world view. On today's Early Show, introducing the portion of her interview with Sarah Palin dealing with abortion, Katie Couric states: "Palin says she makes no apologies for her pro-life views."
Can you ever imagine Couric introducing an interview with a Dem and saying "so-and-so makes no apologies for his pro-choice views"? Neither can I. In Couric's circles, support for abortion rights in this default position, the view that all right-thinking people hold. No apologies necessary.
But being "pro-life"? That's the kind of thing any cultured person should really consider apologizing for. If Palin won't, so be it: but she better not expect to be invited to the better parties on the Vineyard this summer.
Is there some kind of competition on the left to see who can make the most denigrating remark about the mental acuity of Republicans? As we've noted, last night Paul Begala called President Bush "a high-functioning moron," perhaps his bid to one-up Rep. Charles Rangel, who had called Sara Palin "disabled."
Today, it's Jonathan Capehart's turn. Speaking with David Shuster on MSNBC this afternoon, the Washington Post editorial writer said that Sarah Palin reminds him of Lauren Caitlin Upton, the 2007 Miss Teen South Carolina whose tangles ["U.S. Americans," etc.] with the English language made her an overnight YouTube star.
Capehart's comment came in response to a Shuster inquiry about Palin's reply to Katie Couric's question about the relevance to Palin's foreign-policy credentials of Russia's proximity to Alaska.
Hillary Clinton, Queen of Soul? Barack Obama, All-American teenaged girl? That's precisely the analogy that Joe Scarborough made this morning in trying to explain why many Hillary supporters haven't swung to Obama. Hillary was a guest on today's Morning Joe, and the interview offered a number of other interesting tidbits:
Hillary dodged the question of whether Bill was telling the truth when he claimed she didn't want the VP slot on Obama's ticket.
The junior NY senator declined to swing at a Sarah-bashing softball Mika Brzezinski tossed her.
Hillary let slip that she still has her own campaign on her mind.
But let's get back to Joe's conventional-wisdom busting musical metaphor, which came after Hillary had offered an innocuous answer to guest panelist John Ridley's question as to why many of her supporters remain uncommitted to Obama.
Don't get me wrong. I don't mean to suggest Mike Barnicle's nearly as deep in the tank for Obama as Chris Matthews, for whom he subbed for on tonight's Hardball. Mike's actually refreshingly down-the-middle compared to the regular host.
Still, when at the very end of this evening's show Mike asked a question of Jill Zuckman, the Chicago Tribune reporter on the Palin beat, wondering [hoping?] whether the wild enthusiasm for Sarah has run its course, he got an answer that I don't quite think he was expecting.
A Federal judge from Louisiana is under a cloud of impeachment and if he's convicted it'll be the first federal judge impeached in almost 20 years. The story was covered by the new wire service named ProPublica, a service that claims to be non-partisan. Yet in two stories on this judge there is not one mention of the fact that he was appointed to the bench by President Bill Clinton, nor that his corruption was known by the Department of Justice when Clinton made the appointment. I wonder why ProPublica didn't find that relevant, don't you?
A while back, I wrote of a new wire service that was starting up to be called ProPublica. This new service claimed that it was going to be a non-partisan service but the fact that it was being funded by left-wing billionaires made me wonder about the veracity of that claim. I have to admit that I haven't paid much attention to ProPublica since my first look into it, but this judge story piqued my interest. So, I gave ProPublica a look see.
On this evening's Hardball, Chris Matthews began his teaser for a segment about Sarah Palin's pending press interview and plans to field questions at a town hall by exclaiming "look who's talking" as an image of Palin [see screencap] appeared bearing the same graphic.
"Look who's talking" is of course the title of a 1989 hit movie in which the person doing the talking was . . . an infant.
The woman introducing Joe Biden to a Michigan crowd yesterday called Sarah Palin a "bucket of fluff." Biden then told the crowd that Barack Obama is too smart and too well-educated to live in a Republican neighborhood. Now that the Dems have put Obama's smarts and education on the table, will the MSM demand Obama finally release his Columbia transcript?
But, OK, fine. Biden's put it out there. We know about Biden's academic record. And John McCain's far-from-stellar academics at the Naval Academy are well documented. Sarah Palin apparently moved around quite a bit in college. But there's one person about whom there is a very large lacuna when it comes to his academic record: one Barack Obama. His campaign has refused to release his Columbia University undergraduate transcript, the one upon which he was admitted to Harvard Law. Now that Biden has put smarts on the table, will the MSM demand that Obama come clean on Columbia?
Decimate: 1. to destroy a great number or proportion of: the population was decimated by a plague. 2. to select by lot and kill every tenth person of.
Is that the definition of the post-partisan politics Barack Obama claims to be preaching? You know, the kind where there's no blue-state America or red-state America: just the United States of America? Maybe Chevy Chase didn't get the email. Appearing on Morning Joe today, Chase expressed his disappointment that Tina Fey didn't go after Sarah Palin harder in her SNL impersonation. Chase wanted to see Fey "decimate" the Republican VP candidate.
Chase was appearing to tout a charity auction he and wife Jayni are conducting to fund environmental education in the schools. See Bonus Coverage for a disturbing factoid Jayni let slip. Chase's call for blood came in response to Willie Geist's very first question.
My NewsBusters colleague Noel Sheppard, in the course of detailing how the New York Times devoted four items and over 6,000 words today to attacking Sarah Palin, cited Frank Rich's column and its malicious message. Rich's piece is such a treasure trove for chroniclers of Palin Derangement Syndrome that I'd like to devote a bit more time to deconstructing it.
For sheer paranoid fantasy, it will be hard to outdo the scenario Rich sketches. In having mentioned Harry Truman in her convention speech, Rich sees nothing less than a "creepy" clue to what Palin has in mind.Truman, you see [roll the menacing music] . . . ascended to the presidency due to the death of the president whom he served as VP. Rich imagines a "Palin presidency" that is nothing less than a far-right, McCarthyite coup.
"I’ve gotten the scary feeling, for the first time in my life, that dimwittedness is not just on the march in the U.S., but that it might actually prevail." -- Bob Herbert, NYT, 9-13-08
Bob Herbert's item in today's New York Times, She's Not Ready, is not so much political analysis as a howl of MSM shock and outrage. No-o-o-o-o!, Herbert seems to cry. I can't believe this is happening to us! Meanwhile, with condescension worthy of his ABC stablemate Charlie Gibson, certified Obama fan David Wright suggests that Palin has been in need of a "chaperone" on the campaign trail.
Annotated excerpts from Herbert's "She's Not Ready':
How is it that so much of the mainstream media has dropped all pretense of seriousness to hop aboard the bandwagon and go along for the giddy ride?
The MSM has hopped aboard the Palin bandwagon? PDS has obviously affected Herbert's faculties.
H/t cgb1. Sarah Palin is sending the MSM around the bend. On MSNBC this afternoon, Andrea Mitchell provided perhaps the most blatant example yet of an MSMer openly admitting she doesn't want Palin as VP. Mitchell, clearly frustrated by Palin's every-woman-appeal, complained: "Is that what we really want in our leaders? Do we want someone 'just like me?' I mean, I don't want someone like me because I know I'm not because I know I'm not prepared to be vice-president or president. What makes people think that having someone like their neigbhor be in the White House is a good thing?"
Mitchell's guest was Lisa Murkowski, Republican senator from Alaska. Mitchell began by trying to lure Murkowski into taking a swing at Palin for her comments about taking on the "good old boys." Palin defeated Murkowski's father Frank, then the sitting governor of Alaska, in the 2006 GOP gubernatorial primary:
Make it a trio of mindreaders at NBC/MSNBC. As noted here, yesterday Howard Fineman and David Shuster went Carnac on us, emphatically declaring that Barack Obama didn't have Sarah Palin in mind with his lipstick line. On this morning's Today, Andrea Mitchell joined her network stablemates [no pun intended!] in delving into Barack's brain and assuring us he meant no harm.
ANDREA MITCHELL: Barack Obama has been a punching-bag [aww] for a barrage of criticism from the McCain campaign. Charges that he slurred Sarah Palin when he said this about McCain and his change argument [cut to clip of Obama's lipstick line]. He was clearly talking about McCain, not Palin.
Well, guess that wraps it up. But wait. Over at Morning Joe, the group wasn't so forgiving, opining that Obama either did know, or should have known, the implications of what he was saying. Mika Brzezinski herself took the first shot.
You could see this one coming. After Harry Smith called Sarah Palin "Geritol" for McCain, some MSM wag was sure to take things the next step. I'd say it just happened. NBC News DC bureau chief Mark Whitaker was chatting with Andrea Mitchell at 1:27 PM EDT today.
MARK WHITAKER: [People] want to see passion. They want to see that Obama, and the same thing is true of McCain, and we've seen him [show] a lot more passion since he picked Sarah Palin, it's definitely --
ANDREA MITCHELL: Someone described it as Geritol.
WHITAKER: Well, or something else. Put a little pep in his step!
An Obama campaign spokeswoman opened today's Morning Joe with an aggressive defense of his lipstick line, arguing that Obama was being criticized "for saying something that John McCain has said before, that Barack Obama frequently says about 'you can dress something up.' He was talking about the Republican change argument."
A bit later, bolstering her argument, the spokeswoman described the conference call the McCain campaign arranged to respond to Obama's line. She pointed out that all the reporters asking questions on the call were women, and that all of them asked McCain representative Jane Swift "are you serious?" in alleging that Obama was alluding to Palin.
Concluding, the Obama spokeswoman argued that if read in context, "he's not talking about Sarah Palin." Oh, wait. That wasn't an Obama spokeswoman. It was Andrea Mitchell, sitting in for Mika Brzezinski.
As everyone knows, conservatives are a distinctly disagreeable bunch. Mean-spirited knuckle-draggers, pretty much. It's therefore a shock to come across one who's actually likeable. At least if you're Chris Matthews.
Ryan Lizza of the New Yorker, a guest on this evening's Hardball, observed that the Obama campaign hasn't quite decided how to go after Sarah Palin. The first line of attack was on the experience issue, but "now they're saying, OK, let's define her as a right-winger. You know, we'll talk about her views on creationism and some of these other extreme views." That elicited this from the Hardball host.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: She's got a lot of--they are pretty far over. For a person that seems very likeable and mellow, she doesn't look like a political zealot.
The liberal campaign to seek to diminish Sarah Palin by sexualizing her continues. Yesterday, I described how Frank Rich used a number of sexualized terms in reference to Palin's relationship with McCain: "shotgun marriage," "speed-dating" and "embrace." Chris Matthews employed a similar tactic this evening, claiming that Palin is running "somewhere between a VP and a First Lady."
During the first segment of this evening's Hardball, Matthews tried out his theory, with no particular success, on pollster Stu Rothenberg and NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd. For the record, Matthews did stop short of telling Palin to iron McCain's shirt:
Check out this [emphasis added] excerpt from an LA Weekly report on Michelle Obama's appearance at a private fundraiser last Wednesday in the ritzy LA neighborhood of Holmby Hills. Mrs. Obama was addressing a crowd that reporter Patrick Range McDonald described "heavily entertainment-industry."
Obama then moved on to politics, where she first brought up her husband’s vice-presidential choice. “I think it was a really good pick—Senator Joe Biden,” she said, and later added, “People say they have amazing chemistry, and it’s true.”
Obama continued with talk about Biden when she said, “What you learn about Barack from his choice is that he’s not afraid of smart people.” The crowd softly chuckled.
Thanks to Sarah Palin, the culture war has become a civil war—on the left. Mika Brzezinski bravely opened a new front in the conflict during today's "Morning Joe," repeatedly going after two female MSMers for suggesting Palin is taking the working-mom thing too far.
And, mirabile dictu, Mika even admitted to sensing MSM unfairness to Republicans.
"This is an argument Joe and I have about fairness and whether or not there are some sort of underlying unfairness when it comes to Republicans. And I just, you know, I feel it here," Brzezinski said referring to a Wall Street Journal op-ed by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman. Full text and commentary after the jump. View video here.
If any pundit should celebrate Sarah Palin, you might think it would be Judith Warner. The author of "Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety" is the Times' resident expert on the challenges women face in balancing career and family. But think again. Politics trumps female solidarity. Warner's column on Palin is perhaps the most vitriolic and condescending I've read. The Mirrored Ceiling is a few days old, but Warner's fury still rings fresh.
Excerpts [emphasis added]:
It turns out there was something more nauseating than the nomination of Sarah Palin as John McCain’s running mate this past week. It was the tone of the acclaim that followed her acceptance speech.
Palin sounded, at times, like she was speaking a foreign language as she gave voice to the beautifully crafted words that had been prepared for her . . . But that wasn’t held against her. Thanks to the level of general esteem that greeted her ascent to the podium, it seems we’ve all got to celebrate the fact that America’s Hottest Governor (Princess of the Fur Rendezvous 1983, Miss Wasilla 1984) could speak at all.
Hard to believe, but Meredith Vieira is apparently not a regular NewsBusters reader. The Today co-anchor would otherwise have avoided an embarrassing lapse. On Today this morning, Vieira claimed that it was only "blogs" that went after Sarah Palin's family matters. That left her vulnerable to McCain senior adviser Steve Schmidt's zinger, pointing out that one of her own network's anchors had questioned Palin's ability to serve as vice-president while attending to her children' needs.
It's been a wild week, so how about a little comic relief? Turns out Howard Dean does his own personal polling—among his wife's employees. And, surprise! They tend to agree with him. The DNC Chairman was chatting with Tom Brokaw on MSNBC this afternoon.
TOM BROKAW: What did you think of Sarah Palin last night?
HOWARD DEAN: I think the first half was terrific. I thought she really laid out who she was. I was fascinated. The second half, she sounded like Dick Cheney, she really did. The same old attack stuff, the same old canards about Democrats that mostly weren't true.
If only Brokaw had thought to ask Dean to mention the canards that were true! In any case, a bit later Dean described how he keeps his finger on the people's pulse.
What does it say about Sarah Palin that some of my favorite targets, um, subjects raved about her this morning? Andrea Mitchell and Mika Brzezinski could hardly have been more complimentary, Tom Brokaw and Jay Carney chipping in with positive comments.
ANDREA MITCHELL: Here was a novice on the national scene, with the lowest of expectations. People said sure, she'll be able to perform. But it was an amazing, amazing speech in terms of the way it connected to people. I talked to people afterwards on the floor, a lot of women. One woman from California who said it didn't matter that she, this woman delegate, is pro-choice. She said "I'm a mom. I've got three kids at home. And I see myself up there." And she's connecting to her. She said "I did not think this was a good choice until I heard that speech." Now this is admittedly a select audience of very passionate and very conservative Republican delegates. But I think there is a broader audience for this out there. I think it was an extraordinary debut.
When NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd passed along comments from Dem strategists suggesting the speech might have been "a little too hot" for swing voters, Andrea and Mika actually rode to Palin's defense.