Saturday, October 24, 2009

Melissa Clouthier: Sarah Palin Strikes Back

From Melissa Clouthier, via Pajamas Media:

Palin has been sending a couple messages recently. First, she has, since stepping down as governor, started to communicate with the people not through the press but around the press. In other words, she’s speaking directly to the people through social media. She has had a couple well-timed and well-placed op-eds that have helped define policy arguments. However, most of the time she’s talked to the people via social media. (It should be noted that she’s been silent on Twitter for some time — something I hope she’ll change soon.) This has had the benefit of letting the press know that she does not need them. Rather than go the Obama route and deny what is perceived as the one “enemy” to her aims, Sarah denies nearly everyone. And why not? The press trashed her with risible lies. Why give a dying breed ratings when she can reach the people herself?


With her decision to endorse Doug Hoffman, the conservative (not Republican) candidate, Sarah Palin sends the Republican Party a very clear message. She will be using her considerable fundraising ability to fund candidates who ideologically match what it used to mean to be a Republican. Since the Republican Party, from its toes to its nose, has difficulty identifying candidates with those credentials, she’ll help them do it.

The Republican Party has a choice. They can continue to antagonize those who vote them into office or they can start paying attention. They mistakenly buy the D.C. bubble philosophy that moderation is the way to find good candidates. What they’re seeing is a base willing to lose if the Republican Party doesn’t change its ways.

A friend on Twitter said to me last night: “Sarah Palin has the base, she has to find a way to reach out to the moderates and independents.” I retorted: “The Republican party might have the moderates and independents (which I question since those people chose Obama over the moderate McCain), they have to find a way to win the base.” The base won’t be discounted any longer and they have found their champion in a very powerful Sarah Palin.

Read the whole thing here.


Conservatives, Republican Primaries, and Governor Palin

Some people, I’m told, have ideas pop into their heads when they’re in the shower, others while driving. Personally, mine occur while running. Most of these ideas are, of course, random bits of silliness which pop into my head for a brief moment only to disappear forever, thankfully, a few moments later. However, on rare occasions, a random idea sticks and festers in my brain and, despite conscious efforts to banish and replace it with another one which, hopefully, requires less mental exertion, it remains. Such thoughts aren’t particularly profound (as anyone who knows me personally will confirm) but, that said, I occasionally feel the need to explore them. This morning, while running, I had such a thought.

Last week there were a couple Rasmussen Polls which seemed to show Governor Palin losing support among Republican voters. One showed her in third place behind Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney. Another showed her losing in head to head matchups with Huckabee and Romney. At the time I argued, justifiably, that hypothetical polls, even scientific polls, this far from an election, are unreliable at best. I still believe that to be the case. For example, in March 2007 Rudy Giuliani was beating John McCain by 21 points in the Rasmussen Poll for the 2008 GOP nomination, yet less that none year later McCain won.

For that reason, I was not concerned by Governor Palin’s showing in those polls and that remains the case today. Romney’s numbers didn’t seem particularly noteworthy either since there are and always will be a contingent of blue-blood, establishment Republicans from which tedious candidates such as Romney draw their support.

What I did find interesting about the polls, however, is the strong showing by Huckabee. These polls, especially if they hold up for the next 2 years (very unlikely), would lead one to conclude Huckabee is indisputably the frontrunner for the GOP nomination. However, I have yet to hear anyone utter the words "Huckabee" and "frontrunner" in the same sentence. In fact, nobody I know or talk to believes Huckabee has even an outside chance at the nomination, nor do I personally know anyone who says they would vote for him. I include myself in this category as well. Even the pundits generally think it will come down to Palin as the movement conservative vs. Romney (or perhaps Pawlenty) as the Republican establishment candidate. Matt Lewis has noted this, as has Chris Cillizza, to name just two. Again, they don’t even bring up Huckabee as a viable candidate, despite his seemingly strong showing in the polls referred to above.

Further supporting this is Alex Knepper, at Race42012, who wrote the following after attending the 9/12 event in Washington (emphasis mine):

Sarah Palin was without a doubt the unsaid queen of the 9/12 March. Of the many people I interviewed, about a dozen expressed solid support for a Palin candidacy, with all of the others at least open to supporting her.

Many were caught up in the fervor of Joe Wilson’s recent outburst. At moments, it seemed as if every other person was holding a “You Lie” sign. Joe Wilson, indeed, was a name I heard with much greater frequency than Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee (whose name crossed no one’s lips), and Tim Pawlenty. Floated names did include, however, Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney, Sean Hannity, and Glenn Beck. But these were not serious propositions.

As someone who teaches statistics, among other things, I know this is all anecdotal. However, even allowing for that, if Huckabee is anywhere near frontrunner status among Republicans, and I know many, wouldn’t at least one of those I know support him? This question has been bugging me for some time and is what I was contemplating as I ran this morning.

Other random bits of information were also swirling in my head. One of these was the recent Rasmussen Poll which showed that an eye-popping 73% of Republican voters believe that Washington GOP leaders have lost touch with their base. Another was the recent Gallup Poll which showed that only 20% of Americans consider themselves Republicans, the smallest bloc in terms of part ID, yet another Gallup Poll indicated that 40% of Americans consider themselves conservatives, which was the largest bloc in terms of political ideology. Further complicating the picture is an August 2009 Gallup Poll, that received little attention, which showed conservatives outnumbering liberals not only at the national level, but the state level as well, even California:

Despite the Democratic Party's political strength -- seen in its majority representation in Congress and in state houses across the country -- more Americans consider themselves conservative than liberal. While Gallup polling has found this to be true at the national level over many years, and spanning recent Republican as well as Democratic presidential administrations, the present analysis confirms that the pattern also largely holds at the state level. Conservatives outnumber liberals by statistically significant margins in 47 of the 50 states, with the two groups statistically tied in Hawaii, Vermont, and Massachusetts.

As I ran with all this seemingly unrelated information coagulating in my brain, an idea, the one I referred to earlier, popped into my head. Suppose Huckabee’s inexplicably strong poll numbers among Republicans are related to the enormous disparity in the number of self-identified Republicans and self-identified conservatives found in the Gallup polls to which I referred? If so, this could help explain Huckabee’s poll numbers despite his lack of grass roots conservative support. Allow me to explain.

We keep hearing that conservatives are leaving the Republican Party in droves and that the primary reason for this is that the establishment GOP is becoming more and more Democrat-light. Rasmussen’s poll, which indicates that 73% of Republicans believe the DC elite in the party has lost touch with the base, is strong evidence of this. We also see this in Governor Palin’s endorsement of Doug Hoffman in NY-23. Even stronger evidence is the fact that even though 40% call themselves conservative, only half, or 20%, call themselves Republicans.

If I received a call from a pollster today, Scott Rasmussen for example, and he asked me to identify my party, I would not identify myself as a Republican. From the above polling data, about half of conservatives would do the same as me. This is important. I don’t know Rasmussen’s precise methodology but I suspect, when he polls for Republican primaries, he excludes Democrats and Independents, using self-identified Republicans for his sample. I further suspect that most of those conservatives who no longer call themselves Republicans (like me) are also those most likely to support Governor Palin. Further, these disaffected conservatives are least likely to support a fiscal liberal like Mike Huckabee or a plastic establishment Republican like Mitt Romney.

In short, the sample may be predisposed to exclude a greater percentage of conservatives who are disgusted with the Republican Party and thus don’t self-identify as Republicans. This would result in an under sampling of those most likely to support Governor Palin and conversely, an over sampling of those most likely to support someone else. This would explain why Huckabee over performs in these polls. Those Republicans who still identify themselves as such are far more likely to be moderate establishment types and, therefore, more likely to eschew a grass roots movement conservative like Governor Palin in favor of a “conventional” choice like Mike Huckabee or Mitt Romney. If my logic is accurate, this is bad news for Mitt Romney. These are the very Republicans he should be dominating, and yet he isn’t.

The large disparity between the number of conservatives and Republicans raises another interesting issue. If a significant amount of grass-roots conservatives have left the Republican Party, as appears likely, what are the implications for the primaries? Many have argued, myself included, that Michael Steele should close the primaries in order to avoid “another McCain”. However, with many conservatives changing their registration from Republican to Independent, we may need to rethink that position.

It’s certainly possible, given the above, that by closing the primaries, we may have a situation where many grass-root conservatives won’t be able to participate in the Republican primaries. If that’s indeed the case, the nominee will almost certainly be determined by the same voters who are pre-disposed to vote for a more conventional candidate than Governor Palin such as Huckabee or Romney. In other words, by closing the primaries in order to avoid "another McCain", we could, ironically, be helping to achieve just that. This is something that should be explored further, possibly in a future post.

To sum this up, it is my hypothesis that, given the fact that many disaffected conservatives are leaving the Republican Party, any polls which attempt to sample those that still identify as Republicans will have a built-in bias against those candidates most likely to be supported by disaffected grass-roots conservatives. Moreover, such polls will tend to favor establishment candidates who are supported by Republicans who think the current status of the party is just fine. Pollsters will certainly attempt to mitigate the sampling error arising from this, but it will be exceedingly difficult to accurately quantify. Time, as they say, will tell.


Vanity Fair Hit By Tsunami – Did It Come From Wasilla?

This from The New York Post:

VANITY Fair yesterday took some of the deepest staff cuts at Condé Nast, but Editor Graydon Carter didn't deliver the bad news himself.

Although Carter was said to have been at his restaurant, The Monkey Bar, Wednesday night, he was a no show in the office yesterday because he had jetted off on a vacation yesterday morning.

Vanity Fair's layoffs were said to be in the double-digit range, and hit as high as senior editors and as low as fact checkers, and were deep, in part, because Carter largely ignored the edict to chop 5 percent late last year.

Sorry, I know one shouldn’t celebrate over another’s misfortune – but if I had been a fly on the wall at the Vanity Fair offices I would be grinning like...well, like a fly on a wall with a big grin. I would also be willing to bet a considerable proportion of my meagre teacher’s pension (gruel, anyone?) that in a house somewhere north of British Columbia as the coffee percolates and the eggs fry a tick will be placed against one item on a list held against the refrigerator door with a Margaret Thatcher magnet.

Unfortunately the mongoose was not able to get to VF editor Graydon Carter before he lowered his elegant posterior into the comforting embrace of a first class seat en route to the Bahamas or wherever it is that the radical chic go these days to recover from the strain and stress of fighting for the poor and disadvantaged.

One would hope that Mr Carter will at least feel a little guilty about his own role in helping to bring about this tsunami. His lack of leadership and failure to be willing to adapt to a changed environment are now on public display. How ironic that this should happen to a man so ready to use his magazine as a platform to demonise and demean Governor Palin and to characterise her as an empty headed ingénue whose organisational skills were limited to rearranging the contents of her wardrobe.

William Shakespeare himself would have savoured the moment

For 'tis the sport to have the enginer
Hoist with his own petar; and 't shall go hard
But I will delve one yard below their mines
And blow them at the moon: O, 'tis most sweet,
When in one line two crafts directly meet.

BTW #1.......”fact checkers” Vanity Fair? They must have been too busy investigating Obama’s odd relationship with the Strogers of Cook County to fact check Todd Purdum’s strangely timed hit piece on Governor Palin published earlier this year....

BTW #2......I am joking about Vanity Fair investigating Obama's Chicago links - pigs flying would be more likely....


Chris Cillizza Strikes Again: Governor Palin Back on Top?

Chris Cillizza continues to baffle me. In yesterday afternoon's open thread, TR linked to Cillizza's "Friday Line: Ranking Republican Leaders" column. Back on October 5th, in a post entitled "The Schizophrenic Chris Cillizza", I discussed the futility of attempting to discern any logical pattern to Cillizza's thought processes involving the governor. I don't know if I'm violating some literary protocol by quoting myself, but I will anyway:

Chris Cillizza can't seem to make his mind of about Governor Palin. Less than three weeks ago, on September 17, Cillizza placed Governor Palin 9th on his list of the ten most influential Republicans, as Joseph Russo noted in a September 18th post.


On his previous list, Cillizza ranked Governor Palin #2. Her drop from second place to ninth place was particularly curious since that time period coincided with her almost singlehandedly putting Obama on the defensive over health care and cap and tax. If anything, she became even more influential during that period.

Now, Cillizza has bumped Governor Palin back up to the Number One position:

1. Sarah Palin: Like it or not, the former Alaska governor is the prime mover in Republican politics at the moment. Her memoir -- "Going Rogue" -- immediately went to number one on Amazon's bestsellers list despite the fact that it won't be released until the middle of next month. And Republican operatives all acknowledge that if you want to ensure a big and energetic crowd at a GOP event the best way to make that happen is to get Palin there. Of course, Palin's political operation is nonexistent and she seems entirely uninterested/unable to capitalize politically from the amount of interest she generates. (Previous ranking: 9)

Read the rest of Cillizza's article here. Although this time he got the ranking correct, I have no idea what he means by "she seems entirely uninterested/unable to capitalize politically from the amount of interest she generates". Chris, if this is so, why do you rank her number one and say she is the prime mover in the Republican party? Contradictions anyone? I've given up trying to follow Cillizza's "yo-yo" logic. I'm afraid if he ever starts making sense, it will be too late for me and I'll be one of those who hears voices and slurps Jello from a rubber bowl.


Saturday Open Thread

ESPN: NCAA Football: Week Eight Schedule

ESPN: NCAA Football: Week Eight Rankings NFL: Week Seven Schedule

USA Today: Blind youth in Minnesota hopes to play high school football

Pioneer Press: Second-chance kids find football


Friday, October 23, 2009

John G. Winder: Palin Makes Headlines and Scares the GOP Silly with Endorsement

From John G. Winder, via The Cypress Times:

Sarah Palin, former Governor of Alaska, went public with an endorsement today in the race in New York’s 23rd Congressional District, and in true Palin-style, she rocked the conventional wisdom by endorsing the Conservative Party Candidate, not the Republican.


Palin pulled no punches, and the old-guard Republican country-club set must have felt like she landed one right in the groin as she wrote, "And best of all, Doug Hoffman has not been anointed by any political machine.”

Peggy Noonan must have been overcome by the vapors upon reading that line, but it got better as Palin continued.

Palin lauded Hoffman while simultaneously lambasting the GOP and its lack of any moral or ideological rudder, even evoking the name of Ronald Reagan.


In case you haven’t been paying attention, more and more people in poll and after poll, including the latest Presidential approval polls, are abandoning the two major “parties” like rats scurrying from a sinking ship, and are choosing instead to label themselves as “Independents”.

It is this very spirit that drives the TEA Party and 9/12 movements, as well as other grass roots movements, like ResistNet that continue to grow in numbers even as both traditional parties shrink.

With every new Facebook entry, both the DNC and GOP cringe, then deny that Palin matters. It must genuinely irk them to no end that Palin can get border to border and coast-to-coast coverage from a single Facebook entry. This must keep the Obama's and their TV scheduler up at night.

Palin has stood tall on all the issues from her right-on-the-money, “death panel” commentary about Obamacare, to the courage she shows today in her willingness to buck the GOP and endorse a Conservative Party Candidate. Palin is re-writing the tired old rules every day.

Read the rest here. It's good.


Robert Costa: Doug Hoffman Discusses Governor Palin's Endorsement

From Robert Costa, via National Review:

Doug Hoffman, the Conservative Party candidate challenging liberal Republican Dede Scozzafava and Democrat Bill Owens in New York’s 23rd congressional district, has had quite a week. Within the last 24 hours, he has raised nearly $120,000 in online donations. Conservative leaders from Sarah Palin and Dick Armey to Steve Forbes and Fred Thompson have endorsed him. One wonders how he’s handling the national spotlight.

“I’ve been overwhelmed by all of the national support,” Hoffman tells NRO. “Sarah stands up for what she believes in and is a commonsense conservative, a Reagan Republican,” says Hoffman. “I feel like I’m an average citizen. Sarah reflects those kinds of values.”

Hoffman says that both he and Palin are moving towards “a defining moment for the party.” Republicans, he says, “see the meaning of my race. We’re trying to get back the soul of the Republican party, to reclaim it.” The endorsements, and the money pouring into his campaign, “have given me the confidence that we can win this,” he adds.

Hoffman says that one thing people don’t always realize is that he is a “lifelong Republican.” The party, he says, “left me and others. I want to get it back and reclaim its values. [Scozzafava] does not reflect those values. We don’t need another Arlen Specter or Olympia Snowe in Washington.”

More here. I hadn't heard of Doug Hoffman two weeks ago but the more I learn about him, the more I like him and what he stands for. We can join Governor Palin in her support of Doug Hoffman by donating here.

(H/T jimr3)

Update by Doug: (H/T hrh) "Sarjex" posted the following cartoon at Hot Air:


Sarah Palin, Ordinary Barbarians, and the Soul of the GOP

Josh Painter nails it to the door and walks off whistling:

The media buzz today will be mostly about one aspect of the endorsement—Sarah Palin distancing herself from her party. But she has also distanced herself from her potential rivals for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, should she decide to seek it.

[. . .]

With her endorsement of Doug Hoffman, Sarah Palin has taken a stand in solidarity with the gathering storm known as the grassroots movement in this country. The disaffected conservatives, conservative libertarians, common sense independents and blue collar Democrats (aka Reagan Democrats) who are mad as hell and not going to take it anymore always seemed to us to be former Governor Palin's natural base constituency. These are the the people who have turned out for TEA parties and Townhalls across the country, but there are many more of them who were not able to demonstrate, but feel the pain none the less. It's a big step for the 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate to take toward earning their trust as the national public figure who best voices their concerns.

As for the Republican Party, its establishment has refused for too long to listen to the rank and file, and now it has officially been put on notice by Sarah Palin. Hopefully, it will finally pay attention to the voices of the people. Nothing else has seemed to get through to the GOP leadership. Even a recent Rasmussen poll which shows that 73 percent of Republican voters say Congressional Republicans have lost touch with their base hasn't seemed to have had much impact on those who run the GOP Congressional and Senatorial committees.

[. . .]

Former Governor Palin may have just taken the first big step toward leading the Republican Party back to its Reagan roots. She has thrown down the gauntlet. Now let's see if she will pick up the banner and hold it so high that the troops will rally around it.

Read the whole post. It's great.


USA Today Buries the Lede to Protect Obama/NY-23 Poll (Open Thread); Updated: Doug Hoffman to Appear on Cavuto Today

A little earlier than usual but here it is:

-"Poll: Hopes Buoyed on Race Relations" is the headline for today's USA Today article about the USA Today/Gallup poll conducted between October 16-19th. Only one sentence in the article is devoted to what I believe most political observers would consider to be the most pertinent statistic from the poll:

Obama's job-approval rating is a middling 50%.

From the USA Today article, you wouldn't know that 46% of the adults surveyed disapprove of Obama's performance or that his 50% approval rating "represents a 4-point decline in Obama's standing since the last USAT/Gallup poll in mid-September showing him at 54/43." In fact, if USA Today really wanted to let its readers know the full truth about how adults (not even registered or likely voters) view the President's job performance, it would let its readers know that according to its own polling, Bill Clinton and Gerald Ford are the only Presidents since Harry Truman to show a lower approval rating than Barack Obama at an equivalent stage in their presidencies.

-The most recent poll in the New York 23rd Congressional District shows the Democrat Bill Owens leading both Republican Dede Scozzafava and Conservative Independent Doug Hoffman. Hoffman is at 23% right now and will likely need 40% to win this race. Hoffman can get to 40% if he wins 70-75% of Republicans. Right now, he's only winning 27% of Republicans but the good news is that 53% of Republicans still have no opinion about him. There's room to grow for Hoffman but this growth needs to start happening quickly. Commentator Ironman from the Next Right has what I believe to be good advice for Hoffman.

-Can anyone get a read on Chris Cillizza?

-Converse about anything. I'll post other links if you find something interesting later this afternoon/evening.

Update by Doug: Robert Stacy McCain is reporting that Doug Hoffman will appear today on Neal Cavuto's show:

Conservative Congressional candidate Doug Hoffman is traveling from Saranac Lake, NY to a location where he can appear on Neal Cavuto's Fox Business Network program "Your World". The appearance is slated for approximately 4:30 PM EDST.


Hoffman Campaign Running on Palin Power

Ed Morrissey points this out over at Hot Air:

Just how effective has Sarah Palin’s intervention in the NY23 special election been? Douglas Hoffman, the Conservative Party candidate that got Palin’s endorsement, raised $116,000 in a single day, according to a source within the campaign. The source told me to refer back to Chris Cillizza’s coverage of the race at the Washington Post blog The Fix, which noted that Hoffman had raised $210,000 … over the course of a week.

And of course, "in a single day" is even an overstatement, since these are actually just the overnight numbers. Gov. Palin only endorsed Hoffman yesterday evening; let's see where we are at nightfall before we close the books on the first day here. As Morrissey notes, this is a development which could have significant consequences for the future:

If Hoffman winds up winning this election, Palin will become a very popular woman in the 2010 campaign, especially in Blue Dog Democrat districts where conservatives have grown appalled by the direction of a Democratic Congress. Even if he doesn’t, this has been an impressive demonstration of influence and power.

It should be added, per Robert Stacy McCain, that this is only counting online donations (though since the endorsement came via Facebook, that probably covers most of the initial effect).

One wonders, given New Jersey gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie's rather poor financial position (Democratic incumbent Gov. Jon Corzine has outspent him 3-1 to this point, and has plenty of his own millions left to spend), whether he ought to pay attention to Hoffman's example, and reach out to Gov. Palin after all . . .

UPDATE: Hoffman's spokesman, Rob Ryan, told CNN that "much of the cash came before Palin made her endorsement public Wednesday evening," giving credit for the haul to conservative suppport more generally. (HT: TommyReport) Given that rumors were percolating for much of the day that Gov. Palin was set to endorse Hoffman, and that there'd been a fair bit of talk about whether she was going to do so, I'm not sure this discounts the value of her help all that much; the fact still remains that it will be interesting to see how much money Hoffman raises today, the first full day after Gov. Palin's endorsement.

All of that said, it's important not to discount Ryan's effort to give substantive credit to all the other prominent conservatives who've recently endorsed Hoffman and launched fundraising efforts for him. I'm sure Gov. Palin is perfectly well aware that she's not playing Lone Ranger here, but is part of a much broader conservative insurgency (including also folks like Rep. Michele Bachmann and Sen. Rick Santorum) against the inexcusable actions of the Republican establishment in the NY-23 race; we should be grateful for that fact.


Media Roundup of Governor Palin's Endorsement of Doug Hoffman

Here is a quick roundup of some of the media coverage on Governor Palin's endorsement of Doug Hoffman in the NY-23 Congressional Race.

Chris Cillizza:

At issue is whether national GOP leaders should make the pragmatic choice (line up behind Scozzafava because she is the party's candidate) or the pure believer choice (opt for Hoffman because, regardless of his party affiliation, his belief system hues closer to the core conservative principles.)

That divide isn't likely to go away no matter who wins in New York's 23rd in 11 days, however. The head versus heart dynamic is already shaping up in Florida's Senate primary between Gov. Charlie Crist and former state House Speaker Marco Rubio.

And, the debate may not end until the 2012 presidential primary fight where, if Palin runs, she could be the choice of the movement conservatives while former governor Mitt Romney (Mass.) and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty will likely battle it out for the establishment banner.

Perry de Havilland

Sarah Palin has joined several other quite prominent Republicans and demonstrated that she 'gets it' by endorsing a third party Conservative over a Republican RINO running for the House in New York ... whereas Newt Gingrich has demonstrated the exact opposite.

Gingrich stated of his backing the official Republican nomination Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava:

We have to decide which business we are in. If we are in the business about feeling good about ourselves while our country gets crushed then I probably made the wrong decision.

Which means he thinks the way to revitalize the Republican Party is to nominate Republicans who are functionally interchangeable with Democrats on a great many issues.

Contrast with Palin's view, who clearly drew the correct lessons from her experience running as McCain's veep, has picked the Conservative Party of New York candidate over the official Republican one, as did Dick Armey and Fred Thompson:

The Republican Party today has decided to choose a candidate who more than blurs the lines, and there is no real difference between the Democrat and the Republican in this race.

As I have been arguing for quite some time now, this is exactly the sort of notion that needs to work its way into the Republican Party. No wonder the media hate her.

David Weigel:

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who has largely stayed away from candidate endorsements this year, swung for the fences yesterday and endorsed Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman in New York’s 23rd Congressional District.


The first repercussion of Palin’s move? Last time, reporters got a chance to ask Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-Minn.) if he’d make an endorsement in the race, and Pawlenty said he hadn’t been following it. That the little special election has become a litmus test is a story in itself; that Pawlenty, who is promoting his political action committee right now, passed on a chance to endorse a moderate Republican in a historically Republican district is another story.

Sheldon Alberts:

Her decision to go against the GOP establishment in the New York campaign underscores yet again her determination to position herself as a party outsider, with an eye on a possible presidential run in 2012. And her bet is that the party's going nowhere if it appeals to the same political middle ground that helped Barack Obama win the White House.

Ed Morrissey:

Just how effective has Sarah Palin’s intervention in the NY23 special election been? Douglas Hoffman, the Conservative Party candidate that got Palin’s endorsement, raised $116,000 in a single day, according to a source within the campaign.


If Hoffman winds up winning this election, Palin will become a very popular woman in the 2010 campaign, especially in Blue Dog Democrat districts where conservatives have grown appalled by the direction of a Democratic Congress. Even if he doesn’t, this has been an impressive demonstration of influence and power.

Matt Lewis:

This race has become significant and symbolic as it pits grassroots conservatives against the establishment Republican Party.

When looking at the potential 2012 primary field, so far, only Palin has endorsed the Conservative Party candidate. (Newt Gingrich has endorsed the liberal Republican candidate, while Romney, Huckabee, and Pawlenty have all stayed out of it.)

Meanwhile, grassroots conservatives, talk radio hosts, and bloggers -- three groups of people who matter most during a primary campaign -- have coalesced behind Hoffman.

Tom Bevan:

Sarah Palin jumped right in and took sides in the intraparty squabble going on in NY23, bucking the GOP establishment and endorsing conservative candidate Doug Hoffman. This fits with what we know about Palin's style, the brand image she wants to promote, and her willingness to take political risks.

Meanwhile, Tim Pawlenty was also asked whether he would make an endorsement in the race. He responded:

I haven't been following that," Pawlenty said of the contest. "I haven't studied the race at all. It's not that I would or wouldn't [endorse Scozzafava], I just don't know anything about it.

Can't get much more cautious and non-committal than that. If that is any indication of Pawlenty's style and the kind of approach he takes to the 2012 GOP primary, I'm not sure how inspiring he'll be to the base of the Republican party, especially in a crowded field that will probably include Palin, Huckabee, and Romney, among others.

We can join Governor Palin in her support of Doug Hoffman by donating here.


Once Again Doctor Zero Reads This Governor Palin Moment Just Right....

Allahpundit is jaded, Dr. Zero is coruscating....Michelle, it's time to add someone else to the A team.....

Two stories are unfolding out in the 23rd Congressional District of New York. In the foreground, we have the three-way contest between hapless Republican Dede Scozzafava, upstart Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman, and some generic Democrat whose name no one can remember.
The other story, playing out in the background, is the second act of one political saga beginning, even as another draws to a close. The rising star of Sarah Palin passes over the melancholy ruins of Newt Gingrich, who spent the last of his credibility endorsing Scozzafava. The Republican Party of Gingrich dies, unloved and irrelevant. Something else is replacing it. The new opposition party is not guaranteed of victory – such guarantees are issued to no one. Palin may never choose to campaign for an office beneath its banner, but she’s an integral part of its identity.

Read - and savour - the rest here....


Why Does Doug Hoffman Matter?

You've seen, as Mel posted, that Gov. Palin endorsed Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman for Congress in the special election in New York's 23rd Congressional District. If you're a political junkie, this probably makes loads of sense to you. If you aren't, though, you might be wondering what's going on; so we thought we'd lay out the basics.

First, NY23 is a huge rural district (the largest House district east of the Mississippi) covering much of northern New York.

It's been considered a safe GOP seat, having been in Republican hands since the Civil War; it's more of a conservative-leaning district than a solid red one, but it has a long history of electing Republicans like its previous officeholder, Jim McHugh (lifetime ACU rating: 74), though it's been close to break-even in the last three presidential elections (and gone narrowly for the Democrat in 2000 and 2008). It's currently vacant because Rep. McHugh was tabbed by the Obama administration to serve as Secretary of the Army. And it's a bone of contention because with his departure, the state GOP basically chose a Democrat as their candidate to replace him.

That might sound like an exaggeration, but it really isn't. Michelle Malkin labeled Dede Scozzafava a "an ACORN-friendly, union-pandering, tax-and-spend radical Republican." Listen to Sen. Fred Thompson lay out her positions and you'll realize that if anything, Malkin understated the point. This is a woman who would be every conservative's least-favorite RINO from the minute she hit the Hill. As NR summed her up,

Not only pro-choice and in favor of homosexual marriage—common if distasteful concessions to the secular liberals’ agenda—she also supports some of the most odious items on the Left’s wish-list, including the “card check” initiative that would put a big cudgel in the hands of Big Labor while effectively disenfranchising millions of American workers who may not desire to become Teamsters, SEIU members, or similar. She signed the Americans for Tax Reform pledge to oppose tax hikes but immediately declared that she was not bound by having done so. It is no surprise that she is supported by the public-employees unions, ACORN — and Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas Zúñiga. (Really.)

It may be too generous even to say that Ms. Scozzafava is a RINO—Republican In Name Only—inasmuch as she has emanated mixed signals about her commitment to remaining a Republican post-election. (Her spokesman now affirms to The Weekly Standard that Ms. Scozzafava is a “vote for John Boehner to be speaker of the House of Representatives,” if she is in office in 2011; earlier, her campaign had declined to answer that question.) It is entirely conceivable that Ms. Scozzafava will be tempted to switch to the party whose values she shares. She will be especially vulnerable to that temptation if she should face a tough primary challenge in 2010; given that Ms. Scozzafava is to the left of a great many Democratic voters, to say nothing of the typical Republican, the GOP bosses who foisted her upon the party have all but ensured that she does face such a challenge. They very well may have created the next Arlen Specter.

Apparently, Scozzafava was handed the nomination by the party machine as an act of favoritism because of her connections with county GOP chairmen in the state—the machine picked one of its own, and hang principles. The amazing thing is that the national party machine fell into line behind them; though 90% of House Republicans refused to support Scozzafava, the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee sent donations in the six-figure range to keep her campaign afloat, and Newt Gingrich endorsed her.

However, that's not all there is to it. New York also has a Conservative Party; sometimes it endorses GOP candidates, but sometimes it sends up its own, and sometimes they win. William F. Buckley's brother James won election to the U. S. Senate in the '70s as a Conservative Party candidate. In this instance, given that Scozzafava is to the left of a good chunk of the Democrats in the House (to say nothing of the Republican caucus), they refused to go along with the GOP on this one, instead nominating Doug Hoffman. NR describes Hoffman as

an across-the-board conservative with an especial interest in fighting runaway federal spending and trimming the excesses associated with the bailouts.

Perhaps of equal interest, though, is the fact that like Gov. Palin, Doug Hoffman is an ordinary barbarian getting into politics for reasons of principle. Robert Stacy McCain pointed this out in his recent profile:

"Doug is a different kind of candidate," said Ryan, his voice hoarse from a long week of 14-hour workdays. "He's a citizen who's had enough."

The son of a single mom, Hoffman started work at age 14, pumping gas in his hometown of Saranac Lake, N.Y. He served for six years in the National Guard and Army Reserves, earned his way through college, became a CPA, and is now managing partner in a large accounting firm.

Unlike his Republican opponent, who is a machine politician handed a nomination for her connections—no doubt the reason for Gov. Palin's jab that "best of all, Doug Hoffman has not been anointed by any political machine"—he earned the Conservative Party's nomination for his principles, and has been showing he deserves it by his performance. As Stacy McCain notes, he's racked up quite a lot of national support:

Hoffman has been endorsed by the "9/12" organization—the political arm of the Tea Party movement, which staged major rallies on Sept. 12, including the 9/12 March On DC—and says the grassroots activists are the foot soldiers of his campaign.

He recently held "six regional meeting with the Tea Party people," Hoffman said, and many visitors to his Web site have made online contributions of $9.12. The conservative Red State blog recently set a $250,000 fund-raising goal for Hoffman's campaign.

In addition to Tea Party activists and major conservative blogs, Hoffmans third-party candidacy has also been endorsed by a broad range of free-market and social-conservative organizations, including the Club For Growth, the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, and the Political Action Committee of the American Conservative Union, which hosted Wednesday's conference call. The ACU's David Keene called the New York special election "an incredibly important race."

Political insiders now view Scozzafava as a certain loser.

He's also won formal support from Bill Kristol, Sen. Fred Dalton Thompson, former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, and now of course Gov. Palin, on the grounds that

Doug Hoffman stands for the principles that all Republicans should share: smaller government, lower taxes, strong national defense, and a commitment to individual liberty.

All of these Republican leaders are standing for conservative principle against the formal structures of their own party. Rep. Armey has already said that he will be campaigning for Hoffman. This is a chance to send another strong conservative to Congress; it's also, perhaps even more importantly, a chance to send the GOP hierarchy a message: we don't want any more RINOs. We want conservative candidates who'll stand up for the principles in which we believe, which are supposed to be the core of the Republican Party—and if you insist on rewarding party elites and the in crowd over good conservative candidates, we'll go elsewhere, and take our money with us.

This is why Gov. Palin's endorsement of Hoffman is so important. She declared that she would support "candidates who believe in the right things, regardless of their party label or affiliation"; now she's shown the world, and her own party, that she meant what she said. In doing so, she has no doubt given Hoffman a boost; given her unquestioned pro-life credentials, her support will probably especially help him among the sizable percentage of conservative Catholics in the district. More than that, she's joined Kristol, Sen. Thompson and others in firing a shot across the bow of the RNC and the NRCC. This isn't just about one House seat, as important as that is; it's about the future of the Republican Party, and who's going to control it. Will this be a party of, by and for conservatives, or of, by, and for the party elite?

As Mark Levin says, this is a national battle, and it's one we need to fight wherever and whenever we have a chance (his comments begin at the 2:45 mark, after he reads from Gov. Palin's Facebook statement):

(Note: just realized I forgot to thank Sheya for making this audio available. Thanks, Sheya!)

At this point, if he can raise the money to keep his campaign at a high level, Doug Hoffman can win this race. Indeed, if he can raise enough, he probably should win this race. Gov. Palin ended her endorsement of Hoffman by encouraging people to donate to his campaign: If you're in a position to do so, you might want to take her up on that.


Jellytoast: Governor Palin Embarks on Journey

Via Jellytoast:

President Obama is on a course to fundamentally change this nation. He is the last great hope of all those liberals, elitists, closet Maoists, and fascists who have come before him. He is the realizations of all of their plans, efforts and desires. The last great hope of an aging liberal elite group called the Democrat party, working hand in hand with the Republican establishment.

Sarah Palin is embarking on a journey that may ultimately lead, I believe, to a massive new rebirth of freedom, liberty and revival that the world has not seen in a hundred years!

I further believe the adoration of the world that President Obama seeks now will be realized in truth, not by him, but by his successor, Sarah Palin. She will acquire the recognition and fame that he has longed for and it will be given as a result of rebuilding and strengthening all that he hoped to tear down and destroy.

As Obama is the last great hope of liberal elites, so too will the election of Sarah Palin be the culmination of a rebirth of the American spirit! A rebirth for which the pains of labor have already begun! The answer to the question “Will we be slaves or will we be free!” The American people will answer with a shout, “Let us be clear! We will be free!”

More here.


Friday Open Thread

WSJ: Senate Leaders Mull Opt-Out Public Option

Robert Blumen: Why Health Insurance?

Patrick McIlheran: How Keynes is Still Messing Up Your Life

VDH: Dressing up debt as "stimulus" won't stop the creditors - we will all pay in the end.

FT: Total warns of energy insecurity

CSM: What might derail the Iran nuclear deal?

IBD: U.S. Gets Rolled

WaPo: In Helmand, a model for success?

VDH: What are the choices in Afghanistan and who will make them?

Boston Globe: Epilogue for a lost Marine


Tina Fey, Palin voter??!!

Update: might be a hoax, folks. Stand by for confirmation. The good news is: Tina Fey is still on the White House Christmas list. I repeat: Tina Fey is still on the White House Christmas list. The bad news: I just lost my journalistic credentials. Then again, journalistic credentials are sooo 20th century. Right?


Tina Fey, who only recently confessed before David Letterman's national television audience that she didn't have sex until she was 24, is outing herself again: she admires and respects the woman she imitates, Sarah Palin. And is teetering toward voting for Palin should the former Alaska governor run for president in 2012 [My emphasis, JL].

"Please don't tell Alec Baldwin," Fey pleaded. Baldwin is Fey's co-star on the Emmy award-winning show 30Rock. "He threatened to move to Canada if George Bush got elected. Of course, all he wound up doing was being so frustrated that he wound up yelling at his 11-year-old daughter in that famous phone call. Another crime against humanity Bush is responsible for."

Fey admitted that Palin has done things Fey has only dreamed about. "She was the 'barracuda' with high cheekbones who competed on the basketball team. I was an Arthur Treacher's deep-fried cod who, oh forget about it.

"Those who can, do. Those who can't, mock those who can," Fey said.
H/t: GA Hanson


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Public School Retracts Governor Palin Book Banning Lie, in Baby-Step Sort of Way

Last Friday, I posted "Update to Public School Library Propagates Falsehood that Governor Palin Banned Books." I went step by step and day by day through my battle to correct the record and emphatically declare that Sarah Palin never, ever banned any books. At that point, I was turning it over to the public who had voiced a desire to step in and hold the school accountable. No longer was I going to stand between anyone and their efforts to see this wrong corrected, which I had done while I attempted to right this wrong.

I am not sure who, if anyone, actually contacted the school to voice their concerns. However, I do know that after fighting this battle since late September and receiving no responses at all last week, I received an email Monday afternoon from the high school principal asking me to call his assistant to set up yet another meeting.

We met yesterday, and I was asked again what I was seeking. I expressed that I had not changed my mind; I wanted the retraction. I was told that the library display window is seasonal, and something else is already occupying the space. I was also told that if Governor Palin were a current candidate, they would seek to correct the wrong. Since she's not, basically it's no big deal. I don't know about you, but common sense tells me that most of us will never be candidates for anything. Does that mean people can lie about us without repercussions, simply because our names are not on a ballot? That makes no sense, and I expressed as much.

Finally, without a word, the principal went to his computer, began typing, and printed out a piece of paper with the retraction. He was going to run it by the superintendent, and if approved, it would be posted.

Today it was posted.

Perhaps I should feel a sense of victory, but I feel a gnawing annoyance. Why is that?

First, only the superintendent seemed to get the fact that displaying the original poster was the wrong move and that it should have come down the first time I asked. It was indeed a lie designed to express a political agenda at the expense of the truth that we should be providing our students. Even yesterday, when he asked to see the truthful articles that I had with me, the principal tried to defend the original display's content.

Some kind of acknowledgement that this kind of thing was ill-willed, unacceptable, and would never happen again was in order--if for no other reason than in a school truth ought to count. Instead, I sensed a desire to simply shut me up somehow because it had become painfully clear that the issue was not going away. It was sort of a "Will this make you happy?" kind of move.

Second, he printed the retraction on a little piece of paper posted in the lower right-hand corner of the small library window--not the main display section where the incorrect information had been displayed. The paper can barely be spotted and is in front of some ghost cut-outs that had, I assume, been previously hung up. (This is part of the seasonal display?) There is no article posted, only a note at the bottom of the sheet that directs people to the library desk if they want to pick up an article about what the paper says: "SARAH PALIN NEVER BANNED BOOKS." Of course, they'd have to first spot the paper before they can actually inquire about it.

I don't like how it all unfolded. However, I know I should see the miniature retraction as some sort of small victory. While it is a pitiful attempt to rectify the situation, it does do something. If nothing else, I know I held people accountable to the truth, I looked out for our students' best interest, and I defended Governor Palin, who deserves to be defended against malicious smears. The smears of the mainstream media and anklebiters are bad enough, but a public school is certainly a place where her record--and everyone else's--ought to be safe from lies.

To Kill a Mockingbird, in my opinion, is the greatest piece of literature ever written, and I was reminded of this masterpiece today. I take some comfort in the words of Maudie Atkinson who tells Jem, after Atticus defends Tom Robinson in court, "And I said to myself, 'it's a step. It's just a baby-step, but it's step.'"

Below are pictures. The last one is the main window, where the original misinformation was posted, and where the truth ought to hang:


Palin Endorses Hoffman

From Facebook:

The people of the 23rd Congressional District of New York are ready to shake things up, and Doug Hoffman is coming on strong as Election Day approaches! He needs our help now.

The votes of every member of Congress affect every American, so it's important for all of us to pay attention to this important Congressional campaign in upstate New York. I am very pleased to announce my support for Doug Hoffman in his fight to be the next Representative from New York's 23rd Congressional district. It's my honor to endorse Doug and to do what I can to help him win, including having my political action committee, SarahPAC, donate to his campaign the maximum contribution allowed by law.

Our nation is at a crossroads, and this is once again a "time for choosing."

The federal government borrows, spends, and prints too much money, while our national debt hits a record high. Government is growing while the private sector is shrinking, and unemployment is on the rise. Doug Hoffman is committed to ending the reckless spending in Washington, D.C. and the massive increase in the size and scope of the federal government. He is also fully committed to supporting our men and women in uniform as they seek to honorably complete their missions overseas.

And best of all, Doug Hoffman has not been anointed by any political machine.

Doug Hoffman stands for the principles that all Republicans should share: smaller government, lower taxes, strong national defense, and a commitment to individual liberty.

Political parties must stand for something. When Republicans were in the wilderness in the late 1970s, Ronald Reagan knew that the doctrine of "blurring the lines" between parties was not an appropriate way to win elections. Unfortunately, the Republican Party today has decided to choose a candidate who more than blurs the lines, and there is no real difference between the Democrat and the Republican in this race. This is why Doug Hoffman is running on the Conservative Party's ticket.

Republicans and conservatives around the country are sending an important message to the Republican establishment in their outstanding grassroots support for Doug Hoffman: no more politics as usual.

You can help Doug by visiting his official website below and joining me in supporting his campaign:


Canada Free Press: In Praise of Sarah

In an article for Canada Free Press, Bob Beers does a thorough job of breaking down why Governor Palin is so reviled by the Left. Judging from her long list of accomplishments and qualities, which he outlines, there really is no question why she is deemed a threat to Liberals. She is!

He writes:

As you can see, accomplishment is the least of Mrs. Palin’s problems. Quite frankly she has a bigger wealth of accomplishment than Obama and his entire cabinet combined. There will probably be screams of outrage from the left on that one, but honestly, based on what this woman has done in the face of intense opposition from both sides of the aisle, Barack Hussein Obama is a rank amateur compared to her All Star performance.

So here is my estimation as to why she is so hated by the left. She is an accomplished, well-spoken housewife and mother; faithful to her God, husband, her children and to her constituents. She has a proven record of honesty and self sacrifice for the good of those who elected her. No wonder the left considers her such an incredible danger. She would be someone who could sit in the oval office with the complete confidence of the majority of Americans behind her. She had to be stopped at all costs because her record is truly unassailable outside of the realm of lies the liberals live in.

Sarah Palin’s character rests upon a rock-solid foundation of achievement.

Mr. Beers highlights Sarah Palin's incredibly long list of achievements. If you have any doubts as to the weight of her resume', or simply need a reminder, be sure to click here to read the entire article.

(H/T Ray)


Open Thread

Sorry, guys, but all I have is a bunch of polls. It looks like we could use an open thread.

-SurveyUSA shows Christie with a two-point lead while Carville's firm and Rutgers-Eagleton show him down 3 in the NJ governor's race.

-Doug Hoffman, the conservative party nominee for the open House seat in the 23rd New York Congressional District, has allegedly raised $210,000 online in the past seven days.

-Obama's job approval rating in Virginia is 41% according to our friends from Chapel Hill. His job approval rating in Florida is 42% according to Rasmussen.

I'm cheering for the Yankees tonight. Converse.


More Cap and Tax Idiocy

Sometimes pointing out the utter paucity of common sense in the liberal mindset is too easy. Today is one such day. Self-described "moderate" Democrat Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York has penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal in which she advocates passage of the huge cap and trade energy tax. In her op-ed, she promotes passage of the economy crippling tax by employing an entirely new rationale: the creation of a new commodity market in New York in which financial traders and brokers can make millions trading carbon credits:

Over the past year, the economic crisis has devastated the financial services industry that fueled New York's boom years. The ripple effect from Wall Street is still being felt, as unemployment has risen to 10.3% in New York City.

In this turmoil, it may seem hard to imagine a financial market poised to deliver significant growth. However, a rising number of investors and financiers see one in the trading and reduction of carbon. According to financial experts, carbon permits could quickly become the world's largest commodities market, growing to as much as $3 trillion by 2020 from just over $100 billion today. With thousands of firms and energy producers buying and selling permits to emit carbon, transaction fees for exchanges and clearing alone could top nearly half a billion dollars.

If Congress establishes proper oversight of a carbon market, New York's financial talent, expertise and institutions are uniquely suited to provide the tools and innovation for a new commodities market of this size. Firms wishing to invest over the long term will need to turn to our financial sector to create the emerging products and provide the capital that would allow them to make green energy investments.

So, to sum this up, Gillibrand wants to impose an economy killing tax for the purpose of creating job security for the "financial talent" in New York who, along with Democrat politicians like Barney Frank and Chris Dodd, bear most of the blame for the financial meltdown which caused their high unemployment in the first place. In short, Gillibrand believes it's sound economic policy to create a few jobs in New York City's financial sector at the cost of rising unemployment and lower living standards for everyone else. And these geniuses want to run health care too? What a country! On the bright side, at least she didn't cite the anthropogenic global warming hoax as a justification for the cap and tax scheme.


Thursday Open Thread

WSJ: States Post Widespread Job Losses

WaPo: Who's up for a second 'stimulus'?

USA Today: Watchdog excoriates execution of TARP

WSJ: Pay Czar to Slash Compensation at Seven Firms

NYT: Volcker Fails to Sell a Bank Strategy

The Economist: Why the dollar is falling

Michael Yon: Afghanistan: Electrification Effort Loses Spark

CSM: In South Korea, Gates underscores threat from North

NYT: Iraq: Open for Business

IBD: David Hutchinson, A Soldier Cool Under Fire


Some Alaska polling on Parnell, Murkowski, and Begich

Sean Parnell is doing pretty well in Anchorage according to data from Dave Dittman:

Governor Sean Parnell
27% Very good
54% Good
9% Not too good
1% Terrible!
9% Unsure

With these numbers, Parnell/Campbell look like a lock for re-election, sending Jay Ramras back full-time to the wild wings industry. Here is the data for Lisa Murkowski:

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski
21% Very good
43% Good
25% Not too good
7% Terrible!
4% Unsure

Her numbers are strikingly similar to those belonging to Governor Charlie Crist. They both enjoy wide support but this support isn't very deep as evidenced by their relatively low "very good/strongly approve" numbers (Crist's strongly approve number is 14% statewide according to Rasmussen). That's a bad recipe for a primary as Charlie Crist is finding out but luckily for Murkowski, there is no Palin/Rubio figure to challenge her.

How is Mark Begich doing in the city with which he once served as mayor? Not good:

U.S. Senator Mark Begich
8% Very good
37% Good
27% Not too good
20% Terrible!
8% Unsure

His numbers are likely worse statewide as the state as a whole is three-five points redder than Anchorage. Playing to the Mudflats crew isn't doing him very much good (Mudflats, why are fewer and fewer Americans visiting your blog?). However, Begich has a chance to re-establish his persona as a fake "conservative" Democrat by voting against any health care bill, an action that even liberal Nate Silver concedes would be overwhelmingly popular in the Last Frontier.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Gutting fish and political hegemony

On “The O’Reilly Factor” tonight, Dennis Miller offered a two-part theory regarding his thoughts on the motive and/or reasoning for the potential content of Gov. Palin’s memoir “Going Rogue,” a book he nor anyone else – save for Palin and a few others – has actually read:

1. Play it “close to the vest” and run for President;
2. Tell all, and become another “Jackie [sic] Susann.”

In other words, tell the truth and become a media sideshow, or distort the truth and welcome to the Rubber Chicken Derby. And George Lucas would have us think only Siths deal in absolutes!

Miller is one of the better-known conservative celebrities out there, and he is cashing paychecks on “The Factor” by sending back-handed compliments directed at Gov. Palin, which is no doubt exactly what Bill “Gov. Palin is Welcome to Come On The Factor Anytime” O’Reilly wants. I gave Miller the benefit of the doubt the first time around when he joined the annoying chorus questioning Gov. Palin’s intelligence, but geez, Dennis, whose side are you on? I know Bill likes to “play it close to the vest” by wandering about the political stratosphere under cover of “looking out for you,” but Dennis, you have a greener meadow in which to graze.

I don’t want to insult anyone’s intelligence, so I’ll degrade my own. In 1993 I graduated from high school and moved to Freeman’s Guest Ranch, located 18 miles outside of The Open Air Insane Asylum that is Creede, Colo. I worked as a dishwasher in town and lived in a ranch bunkhouse for free. While there, I stumbled upon a copy of the Jacqueline Susann novel “Valley of the Dolls” and freely admit that I read it in one sitting (that summer, to get off the point, I also read John Madden’s “Hey Wait A Minute, I Wrote A Book,” which is the “Absalom, Absalom!” of sporting literature).

“Valley of the Dolls” [consulting my book review cliché generator] “the sordid tale of three young women trying to make it in Hollywood.” Oh yeah, and “dolls” are barbiturates, and the bombshell actress gives in to, shall we say, back-of-the-Volkswagen coitus near the, um, end. Anyway – take a very deep breath - it was a publishing sensation and was turned into a movie and in a pique of brilliance was used by a young Roger Ebert as the inspiration for the script “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls” (itself feeling Polanski-ish while featuring a Phil Spector clone) which was turned into a motion picture by The Stanley Kubrick of B-Movies Himself Russ Meyer and if one wanted to jam any more Hollywood Babylon into one sentence one would find the space too small to fit the Higgs boson.

In other words, Miller – who’s not read Gov. Palin’s book and is not privy to her next move – just reduced the potential of Gov. Palin’s unpublished, best-selling work to either a cynical move meant to thrust her political career forward, or a cynical attempt to enrich herself and her family; or, more salaciously, he just compared it to the work of a woman best-known for hyper-stylizing Hollywood hedonism and shamelessness. Ergo, it’s outside the realm of possibility that Gov. Palin might actually have something substantive to say beyond the politically-unrelated details the media happily dug up the moment she mentioned those Styrofoam columns. Yeah, it’s not like the public’s not acquainted with her writing by now.

Like you, gentle reader, I’ve not read “Going Rogue” either, but unlike Dennis Miller (a guy who I liked long before he became a conservative) I don’t think Gov. Palin clocks her moves based on Rasmussen polls and talking heads. Of the cancerous fallouts of the Clinton “War Room” mentality is that right-thinking people assume that everyone interested in public office is a slave to polls, focus groups, Beta-boy pontification and really radical rules. I’m naïve, sure, but I think some people – not just Gov. Palin – actually seek higher office to curb the action of government rather than propagate it. As an Oklahoman, I’m not naïve when I cite the career of Sen. Tom Coburn.

For supporters of Gov. Palin, the post 7/3 attitude came into view when, shortly after announcing her resignation as Governor, she fielded media questions wearing coveralls while gutting fish. Say what you will about Gov. Palin, but an Obama-like obsession with media- and pundit-perception doesn’t seem to be at the top of her list of pathos. While Pres. Obama seems to think those candids of him showing poor position while wearing sweatpants and “playing basketball” project an image of … something … the rest of us are quite aware that Gov. Palin leaves little to the imagination when giving the media a look into her life. She is who she is without apology, and 13 months later, many still don’t get it: her frankness, her ability to be who she is without apology, pomp or circumstance is part of her charm, usurped only by her unabashed conservatism.

The world has been taken over by Caufieldian phonies. It’s no longer grounded in political philosophy, as the GOP has as many phonies as the beer-nuts currently running the show. Our lines used to break on simple concepts of Donkey-GOPer, Lib-Con, Right-Left. To a small degree, those still matter, but the tidal swell of outrage is not any of those, it’s Common and Elite. Elites track polls and studiously reword position papers, while Commons go to Tea Party protests while telling their Rep they're mad as hell and will take it only for another year or so. Our misguided hero Newt tells us to homogenize and support a pro-choice, pro-card-check, pro-taxemtilltheybleed candidate in the Empire State’s 23rd, and we say bugger off, we’ll elect a conservative.

Note to Newt and aspiring political philosophers everywhere: political hegemony isn’t attained through philosophical homogeny.

As the mood spreads, more people will take Gov. Palin in those coveralls as she sends out those Facebook messages. Since she has been in the national spotlight, Gov. Palin has not let down the Commons among us, she’s never betrayed who she is or from where she came. I’ll take Sarah Palin gutting fish in front of a camera rather than Newt Gingrich gutting conservatives behind the scenes any day of the week.

As for Dennis Miller, maybe he’ll change his tune once he bothers to read the book.


'Going Rogue's' Evil Twin

Some book news is making the rounds. Some lefties are putting out an attack book on November 17th with a remarkably similar title and cover to Palin's own book. Allahpundit from Hot Air boils it down for you:

November 17 is the same day her own book drops, of course. Further evidence of how obsessively the left hates her or just a bunch of lefties looking to make a quick buck by piggybacking on her buzz? Both, of course!

A video report on this from Bret Baier (video courtesy of Sheya):

And the ADN has a report on a former member of the Palin administration who's writing a book, as well.


Christopher Adamo: Not The Time For "Faux Conservatism"

From Christopher Adamo at Intellectual Conservative:

Democrats are on the ropes. So once again, those vaunted Republican "moderates" are attempting to come to their rescue. Whether motivated by stupidity, cowardice, or an underhanded intention to ensure that liberalism ultimately prevails in America, the usual suspects, while identifying themselves as Republicans, are giving aid and comfort to the Left, at the ultimate expense of their supposed colleagues on the Right. It is high time that their duplicity be exposed and underscored, so that their malevolent impact on conservatism can be finally neutralized.

At a critical milestone in the Democrat attempt to implement a government takeover of America's healthcare industry, Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) came out in support of the measure in the Senate Finance Committee. Thus she provides the bogus fig leaf of "bipartisanship" that Democrats so fervently desire.

Elsewhere, "Republican" forces are working hard to counteract the enormous influence of Christian and pro-life conservatives in the Party. Somehow, despite the mountains of historical evidence to the contrary, those morally rudderless pragmatists believe this would be a great boon to Republican electoral fortunes, doggedly refusing to accept that by remaking the party according to their "centrist" philosophies, they would ensure the abandonment of the party by enormous numbers of true conservatives.

Thus, their efforts continue. And in them the real animus towards Sarah Palin among GOP "moderates" becomes evident. Despite her lack of an Ivy League pedigree, or perhaps owing to it, Sarah Palin sees moral issues in black and white and, unlike her Beltway insider antagonists, is not afraid to say so. As such she poses a great threat to the Republican "business as usual" Washington crowd that occasionally plays to the Right (especially at election time), but ultimately seeks its own advancement.

Read the entire article here.


Post-Oprah Announcement Afternoon/Evening Open Thread

-For those engaging in the "who needs who more" debate regarding Governor Palin and Oprah, you may find it interesting that the Washington Post takes the side of those arguing that Oprah needs Palin more. Lisa de Morales opines that Oprah is attempting "to kiss and make up with conservative recover from the ratings tumble she took last season when her audience slid to under 7 million viewers....[after Oprah] turned off some of her conservative viewers -- or, more accurately, they had turned her off -- when she not only endorsed then presidential candidate Barack Obama but even campaigned for him."

-Ben Smith from Politico highlights a dissenting argument to his flawed interpretation about Governor Palin's book tour.

-Henry Payne notes why it was stupid for NBC News to feature Jennifer Granholm and her husband, Dan Mulhern, in its "Women's Nation" series this week considering the comments that Mulhern made last year regarding Governor Palin's decision to work and raise children.

-The headline from Gallup is that Obama's "9-point drop in the most recent quarter is the largest Gallup has ever measured for an elected president between the second and third quarters of his term, dating back to 1953." Gallup also finds that the only President to have a lower approval rating than Barack Obama at this time in his presidency was Bill Clinton.

-According to Quinnipiac and Rasmussen, Charlie Crist's overwhelming lead over Marco Rubio in the GOP primary for the open Florida Senate seat has been cut significantly. Somewhat surprisingly, the crosstabs to the Rasmussen poll show Rubio leading Crist among moderate Republicans but Crist holding a decent lead among conservative Republicans. What may explain the latter is that Crist is beating Rubio by at least a 2.5-to-1 margin among Republicans making under 40K while it's an even race among Republicans making over 40K a year.

-Courtesy of our friends from Chapel Hill, Obama's approval is under 50% in Maine.

Hope all is well. Converse.


Surprise: People Magazine Gets it Wrong; Updated: MSNBC Repeats False Claim

From Noel Sheppard at Newsbusters:

As NewsBusters reported a few hours ago, Oprah Winfrey has finally decided to allow former Alaska governor Sarah Palin on her highly-rated daytime talk show.

Shortly after it was announced, People magazine's web article on the matter falsely informed readers that Palin refused Oprah's invitation during the campaign last year (h/t NB reader Christy Ellsworth):

Oh, what a difference a multimillion-dollar book deal makes.

About a year after Sarah Palin famously turned down a campaign season appearance with talk show host – and major Barack Obama supporter – Oprah Winfrey, the former GOP vice presidential candidate has agreed to take her turn on the couch.

Actually, as reported last September, it was Oprah that refused to have Palin on her show:

Responding to media reports first publicized on Matt Drudge's "The Drudge Report" claiming there was turmoil at Winfrey's Harpo Studios about whether to book the GOP vice presidential nominee on the popular talk show, Winfrey's camp said today that while she has nothing against Palin, the veep hopeful won't appear on the show anytime soon.

"The item in today's 'Drudge Report' is categorically untrue," Winfrey said in a written statement provided to "There has been absolutely no discussion about having Sarah Palin on my show.

"At the beginning of the presidential campaign, when I decided that I was going to take my first public stance in support of a candidate, I made the decision not to use my show as a platform for any of the candidates," Winfrey wrote.

"I agree that Sarah Palin would be a fantastic interview, and I would love to have her on after the campaign is over."

Nice reporting, folks. Keep up the good work.

—Noel Sheppard is the Associate Editor of NewsBusters.

Update by Doug: (H/T Sheya) MSNBC Repeats False Meme That Governor Palin refused to appear on Oprah Winfrey's show during campaign. From Ken Shepherd at Newsbusters:

MSNBC entertainment editor Courtney Hazlett spent all of two minutes on "Morning Meeting" with Dylan Ratigan and still managed to get her facts wrong.

Noting former Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin's scheduled November 16 appearance on "Oprah," Hazlett told viewers that the former Alaska governor "famously said no to appearing on Oprah" during the 2008 presidential campaign, because Palin knew "you get more publicity rejecting Oprah than possibly going on."

The only trouble is, as my colleague Noel Sheppard noted earlier today, that is patently false. It was, in fact, Obama-endorsing Oprah Winfrey who refused to book Palin on her program during the campaign season, although she expressed an interest in having her on after the election.

More here.


Wednesday Open Thread

VDH: Obama’s Theorems

Thomas Sowell: Magic Numbers in Politics, Part II (Part I here)

NYT: As President Deliberates, Frustration Builds Within the Ranks

CQ Politics: Military Reverses Recently Issued Photo Rules

WSJ: U.S. Missile Shield Won't Expand to Non-NATO Countries, Official Says

The Economist: China's private coal mines

Veronique de Rugy: What's Inside the Deficit?

WSJ: Health Costs and History


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Palin, Oprah and the politics of personality

Gov. Palin is going to appear on “Oprah” in an effort to tout the already-best-selling Going Rogue on Nov. 16. This, needless to say, has caused some consternation throughout the free world, although it’s provided much satisfaction to know that only Gov. Palin would have to take a slight step downward in order to appear on Oprah’s couch.

As I’m not an Opraholic, before anything, I think we should get at sampling of the Oprahsphere regarding this announcement:

“Oprah you have hit a new low. Allowing Palin airtime on the most popular daytime show the day before her book is released is irresponsible on your part. You know better than this. You are very aware of energy and the collective consciousness. Can you honestly say to yourself that allowing Palin a platform to promote her book is sending positive energy into the universe? Having her on your show will send her book sales through the roof and legitimize her ignorance. Your show used to be about spirituality and upliftment [sic]. Now I have noticed that your topics are becoming more and more sensational. Shame on you... I'm hoping you at least ask hardcore questions which will expose her ignorance. I'm hoping that is your purpose for having on the show. Otherwise, you are simply contributing and spreading low energy into the universe...”

Another had this to offer:

“As others have stated, this will only give Sarah Palin fuel for her negativity. I do believe in listening to both sides, but I believe Sarah had her day when she ran for VP. She is a very strange woman, who isn't qualified for political office. There are many other people who deserve the air time and the money so much more than she does.”

This, obviously, wasn’t a scientific sample. I went to Oprah’s site, clicked on the Sarah Palin link, was ushered into the message board specific to “Sarah Palin,” and these – among others – were on the latest front page. If it helps, I can assure you I was generous in choosing the samples.

There are, I dunno, about eleventy-billion comments on Oprah’s official message boards regarding the fact that one successful, iconic female allowing another successful, iconic female onto her stage in order to ask her questions in front of a previously-taped, live studio audience. The major qualm seems to be that Oprah fans seem to be incensed that Oprah may host a woman who is not a victim, dupe or foil. If you’re looking for a pity party, fair to say Gov. Palin’s not the guest you have in mind. We can assume one rider or another ensured no Olympics jokes will be fair game.

So, is Gov. Palin’s choice to give the most famous backer of Pres. Obama the first interview before Going Rogue is released a wise one, all things considered? Let us brush aside the easy answer – of course it is! I’m not alone when I say I’ll watch the show for the first time in, well, ages, and Gov. Palin has a book to sell, and Oprah Winfrey sells a lot of books. Only a fool would think Oprah would be hostile to Gov. Palin, and if Gov. Palin is the near future of conservatism that so many like me believe, then she should be able to navigate whatever Oprah throws her way. The odd couple need not enter BFF status, but Oprah – more than any person on the planet – will be able to humanize Gov. Palin to people predisposed to dislike her.

As a thirtysomething bachelor, I’m not the type of fella who is in what experts call Oprah’s “target market.” Frankly, the last time I watched her show was in the 1990s during one of those Christmas escapades where she Gives Everyone A Bunch of Stuff. When the first commenter quoted discusses “upliftment” I admit it, I giggled like a schoolgirl. It’s no “strategery,” but it’s darn close, but again, these are message board comments. When the aforementioned second commenter dogs on Gov. Palin’s “negativity,” my interest it piqued that she wants Oprah – yes , Oprah – to ask “hardcore” questions of Gov. Palin.

Perhaps O will dig into which energy drink Gov. Palin finds more extreme. I would happily encourage this: Oprah, ask hardcore questions! Hardcore answers will follow; better yet, grab a script of your questions to Barack and Michelle, and apply them to your interview with Gov. Palin – it’s a win-win.

Sprouting cherub’s wings and lifting above the fray, though, I must pointedly say that if the women who adore and/or worship Oprah Winfrey are not people who would find Gov. Palin as quite the role-model, I’m not exactly sure what’s going on over there at Harpo Studios. She is spiritual and religious, she has a family, she is a working woman, and goodness, if ever there’s been a woman whose been told to know her place, it’s Gov. Palin. Every Second Wave feminist outside of Camille Paglia has echoed Eric Cartman, telling her to shut up and make babies.

Flatly, without emotion, if Gov. Palin wasn’t the chemo for the cancer that is Pres. Obama, most of Oprah’s audience would take up live ammunition to defend her. If these women – and excepting the various shrub-men who pepper Oprah’s audience, it’s all women all the time – cannot find anything admirable about Gov. Palin, then my future is obviously meant to carry a sandwich-board up and down a major city’s sidewalks reading “The End Is Near!”

For some time I’ve thought the automatons filling seats in Oprah’s audience are more like The O’s Disciples, yet confronted by the likes of Gov. Palin, I’m confident that more than a few Saul of Tarsus moments may be in the offing. Fair’s fair and the world turns color-blind, Sarah Palin is the embodiment of what The Big O has been preaching the last two decades.

Oprah, the name so big five letters don’t seem to do her justice, just got The Big Get. Conspiracies are already ricocheting around the ‘sphere regarding who is doing whom a favor. This should be a three-night primetime special, because if ever there was a case of worlds colliding it is the ‘Cuda and the Oprah. Not – to be clear – for the sake of antagonism, just for the sake that, if one were to take the complete fascination with Oprah and Gov. Palin and group it together, I’m guessing 82 percent of voting women would have a positive opinion of one or the other, if not both.
What is perplexing is the sheer hatred directed at Gov. Palin by so many in the Oprahverse. Sure, I get it. It’s the same degree of admiration that draws so many to her as pushes so many more away – abortion, Christianity, guns, etc., reflexive reactions to a woman most people know via caricature. In the best way, though, Gov. Palin is going to put herself out to her harshest everyday critics: women who get their news from Oprah, “The View,” and, I dunno, horoscopes or something.

Sure, that’s condescending, but it’s meant to be. I can accept disagreeing with the Governor on any number of issues, but calling her names and discounting her relevance? That’s just silly. For Palin fans (obviously I’m a big one) it’s a great opportunity to see how she handles a host that wont’ be hostile but will be firm, while having the chance to win over a crowd which previously only knew her from a comedienne impersonating her on a sketch comedy show.



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