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11/22/2009
‘IQ OF A CELERY STALK?’ WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT ONE?

“Prejudices are what fools use for reason.” - Voltaire.

Matt Taibbi this morning:

At the end of this decade what we call “politics” has devolved into a kind of ongoing, brainless soap opera about dueling cultural resentments and the really cool thing about it, if you’re a TV news producer or a talk radio host, is that you can build the next day’s news cycle meme around pretty much anything at all, no matter how irrelevant — like who’s wearing a flag lapel pin and who isn’t, who spent $150K worth of campaign funds on clothes and who didn’t, who wore a t-shirt calling someone a cunt and who didn’t, and who put a picture of a former Vice Presidential candidate in jogging shorts on his magazine cover (and who didn’t).

It doesn’t matter what the argument is about. What’s important is that once the argument starts, the two sides will automatically coalesce around the various instant-cocoa talking points and scream at each other until they’re blue in the face, or until the next argument starts.

And while some of us are old enough to remember that once upon a time, these arguments always had at least some sort of ideological flavor to them, i.e. the throwdowns were at least rooted in some sort of real political issue (war, taxes, immigration, etc.) we’ve now got a whole generation that is accustomed to screaming at cultural enemies as an end in itself, for the sheer dismal fun of it. Start fighting first, figure out the reasons later.

I must confess to the occasional foray into this kind of political “debate.” In a sense, it is irresistible. It gets tiresome writing about real issues, personalities, and “things that matter,” so a little devolution into the culture wars is sometimes just the thing to garner readers, get links, and start a lively conversation in the comments.

But is it really all a “distraction?” Many times, Americans argue by “substitution,” not able to finger exactly what it is that troubles us, and rather than explore the real reasons for our differences, use proxy issues instead. This convention is most pronounced when we try and talk about race, or more basically, our different worldviews. Most Americans don’t call out an opponent by screaming at him, “You Hegelian harlot! How dare you formulate your opinion based on the notion that Marx was right about religion being the opiate of the masses!” Instead, we just scream, “Socialist!” or “Fascist” at one another.

Is the “birther” argument a substitute for being uncomfortable about Obama’s race? Some would argue this is so. I think it deeper than that, going to the notion that Obama is so different from past presidents, not just racially, but his entire upbringing. He just isn’t like “us.” And since Americans like to think that presidents, regardless of party, share at least some of their “values,” it is much safer to argue that such a different man as Obama has no business being president because he wasn’t born here, or isn’t a “natural born” citizen.

Here, Taibbi really nails Palin to a cross:

Sarah Palin is the Empress-Queen of the screaming-for-screaming’s sake generation. The people who dismiss her book Going Rogue as the petty, vindictive meanderings of a preening paranoiac with the IQ of a celery stalk completely miss the book’s significance, because in some ways it’s really a revolutionary and innovative piece of literature.

Palin — and there’s just no way to deny this — is a supremely gifted politician. She has staked out, as her own personal political turf, the entire landscape of incoherent white American resentment. In this area she leaves even Rush Limbaugh in the dust.

The reason for that is that poor Rush is an anachronism, in the sense that his whole schtick revolves around talking about real political issues. And real political issues are boring.

Of course, Taibbi saying nothing that you haven’t read here - although, Damn! I wish I had come up with the “IQ of a celery stalk” jab first. But if you were to go to the comments below my recent PJM article, you would note that the overwhelming majority are not only Palin defenders, but that this strain of “resentment” - toward liberals, RINO’s, “elites,” or “the establishment” - colors their thinking to a degree not found anywhere else in American politics.

The left has its loons, for sure - rabidly partisan ideologues with the sense of humor of a Kangaroo and the ability to think independently of a locust. Their prejudices, however, are quite local; conservatives, Republicans, and the goober chewing, bible thumping, gun toting, rubes who live in flyover country.

But Palinites are universal resenters. I don’t think I’d go quite so far as Taibbi and bring race into the picture, but clearly these are “traditional Americans” who see the country changing politically, demographically, ethnically and are very uncomfortable about it. Palin, by speaking to their fears on a gut level, offers a refuge of sorts from the storm; reassuring those who need it that they are not alone, that there are others who share their fears.

They will tell you it’s all about “socialism” but these same folks didn’t seem to mind much when Bush pushed the prescription drug benefit, or the huge federal interference in education represented by the No Child Left Behind legislation. If Bush had gotten half the resistance on NCLB as these folks are giving the Democrats on health care, the education monstrosity would have died in committee.

I will admit that nationalizing the health care industry is a different kettle of fish altogether as is cap and trade, and card check. Government taking over 1/6 of the economy with consequences for personal liberty that can only be dimly glimpsed should be opposed. But Palin’s “death panels” demagoguery is proudly pointed to by her supporters as a “turning point” in the debate. Why fear mongering should be cause for celebration is beyond me, unless one is so besotted with ideological hatred of the opposition that reasoned debate over the many, many awful parts of the bills in question isn’t even considered.

As Taibbi points out, “reason” has got nothing to do with it:

Sarah Palin is on an endless crusade against assholes. It’s all she thinks about. She doesn’t really have any political ideas, in the classic sense of the word — in fact the only thing resembling real political convictions in Going Rogue revolve around the Trans-Alaska pipeline and how awesome she thinks it is.

Most of the rest of the book just catalogs her Gump-esque rise to national stardom (not having enough self-awareness to detect the monstrous narcissistic ambition that in reality was impelling her forward all along, she labors in the book to describe her various career leaps as lucky accidents or mystical acts of Providence) and the seemingly endless parade of meanies bent on tripping her up along the way. The book is really about her battles with these people, how much they did and do suck, and how difficult and inherently unfair life is for a decent hardworking American gal who just wants to live life, serve God, and try to be president without being bothered all the time.

Viewed through the prism of this particular brand of insanity (Palinsanity? does that work?), Katie Couric’s notorious Palin interview last year really was a cheap shot. After all, Katie was trying to nail Palin — which is mean! Who among us can’t sympathize with the experience of being sandbagged by some slick professional rival who catches you in a moment of weakness and, instead of lending a helping hand, drives a fireplace poker through your eye?

Palin has complained vociferously about press treatment of her. I agree it has been abominable, the worst, the most biased, the meanest I’ve seen since Nixon. The next question; “So? You expect you can do anything about it by whining?” Pointing a finger at the nattering nabobs of negative coverage has been tried already and only increased the venom. Smart politicians learn to ignore the slings and arrows of the press (or allow their partisans to defend them) while staying above the crap being tossed about by the likes of the NY Times or WaPo.

Taibbi is much meaner to Palin than I have been although many of his points are spot on. But unless she can somehow convince the Republican party that her appealing to our inner demons is the key to victory, she will continue to hover around 20% in the polls.

By: Rick Moran at 10:42 am
41 Responses to “‘IQ OF A CELERY STALK?’ WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT ONE?”
  1. 1
    michael reynolds Said:
    11:34 am 

    What is particularly amusing is that Palin’s supporters don’t get that we Democrats love Palin. Palin embodies every mean thing we want to say about the GOP. The more Palin represents the GOP the happier we are. (As partisans, not as patriots, that would be a very different reaction.)

    So the louder the tea partiers scream, the crazier Glenn Beck gets, the more paranoid, the more Palinized the whole asylum gets, the better for us. Bigger government vs. smaller government is a fight we can lose; but we’ll never lose the sane vs. batshit battle.

  2. 2
    narciso Said:
    11:45 am 

    So you endorse this type of column,
    do you Moran,you show no affrontery to someone who lied before about her record, the supposed indictment rumors, from July, were first put forth last October. Her actual recorddoesn’t matter to Taibbi, or to you. Than again, neither did Obama’s. You want to deny the truth about death panels with the news about breast and cervical cancer testing, with the language giving
    discretion to the HHS secretary over vast areas of coverage.

    All I can say is…HUH?

    ed.

  3. 3
    Insight Said:
    12:13 pm 

    Yeah, I miss Bill Buckley, too.

    But you are losing sight of one important fact: by definition half the population has a less than average intelligence (in a sample size of 300 million, the average is the same as the mean). So at least one half, and probably closer to 3/4, of the population can’t comprehend the arguments at a Buckley level. We should thank God that Sarah Palin is doing our work in with the 75% of the population that we can’t or wouldn’t care to reach. The alternative is to abdicate that job to some low-brow leftie.

  4. 4
    michael reynolds Said:
    12:38 pm 

    Insight:

    Perfect!

    Translation: People are idiots, Sarah Palin appeals to idiots, better our idiot than their idiot.

    And we’re the elitists?

  5. 5
    funny man Said:
    12:46 pm 

    One of my favorite “arguments”: our women look better than yours, that’s why you hate Palin.

  6. 6
    Jeremy G. Said:
    1:08 pm 

    Is it fair to characterize Palin as like Obama in the sense that (certain) people will come to believe in her much as people came to embrace Obama? That is, in the “vote for him/her no matter what” cult of personality sense?

    If yes, I worry because I think that’s the sort of groupthink that could get this country in trouble.

    I suppose the standard response would be, “You mean like Obamamaniacs and the resulting government takeover of everything?”

    To which the reply could be, “Better an articulated position and a leadership whose goals one can comprehend, than a potential leader who appeals to emotion and still appears ungrounded in the details of, well, anything.”

    It would be nice to read a compare/contrast piece by Rick or someone else between Obama’s “The Audacity of Hope” and “Palin’s Going Rogue”.

  7. 7
    Insight Said:
    1:33 pm 

    Not sure it’s a cult of personality thing. There’s a HUGE difference between the left and right. The right, although many of them can be appealed to on populist terms, is generally about individual rights, individual responsibilities, and individual opportunity. The left is about collectivism, and appeals to envy and/or elitism, but in both cases the message is “we must control other people.” So the appeal of Governor Palin has as much to do with the fundamental sense of individualism in the people that like her as it does her own personal appeal. And to be sure, there’s much to like and admire about her. She’s no dimwit (intellectually lazy or un-curious is a better description) and she accomplished quite a bit in AK. She appeals to the gut instinct of conservative people (rather than their intellect), and there’s nothing wrong with that. Further, I wouldn’t call even people with less than average intelligence “idiots”, but rather unsophisicated. They fill valuable roles in society.

    That’s in contrast to Obama, who is singularly un-accomplished and considerably less intelligent than he’s given credit for. His seemingly high intellect did draw in some voters , but there was very little about his philosophy of anti-individualism that was hidden during the campaign, and I suspect that that (the appeal to envy and elitism) was his main appeal to most of the people that voted for him.

    To jump to another subject, the above is why I fear that conservatives will always lose in the end in any society. The percentage of highly productive people will always pale in comparison to the moderately- or un-productive, and as Mencken said, “It doesn’t take a politician long to realize that every time he takes a dollar from one man and gives 50 cents to two men, he gains two votes for every one that he lost.” Add in the envy of educated people with no marketable skills (English majors and the like) but who still feel like “they know better” and the productive are always vastly outnumbered in their defense of individualism.

  8. 8
    michael reynolds Said:
    1:47 pm 

    The right, although many of them can be appealed to on populist terms, is generally about individual rights, individual responsibilities, and individual opportunity.

    Which is why they stood up for Civil Rights. Oh, wait, that wasn’t the Right, it was the Left. The Right moved swiftly to exploit the Left’s embrace of Civil Rights by appealing to racism in the 1960’s and going forward.

    And that whole rights thing would be why the Right has been so strongly in favor of women’s rights. Yeah. It was the Right that fought to get rid of laws that allowed employers to screw a woman out of half her pay solely because of her gender. No, no, wait, now that I think about it, the Right fought against the individual liberty of women who wished to work for a living.

    And of course the Right fought against the liberties of gays. Still is doing so.

    In fact, when you come down to it, the Right doesn’t stand so much for liberty as it does privilege. The privilege of whites to deny the vote to blacks, to deny employment to blacks, to deny equal treatment to women, to deny equal protection to gays, to non-believers.

    Come to think of it, it was the Right that pushed for increased government censorship in media. And of course opposes abortion. And wants children to be force-fed Christianity in public schools. And opposes an individual’s choice to end their medical treatment.

    And unless I’m mistaken it was the Right that supported government surveillance throughout every means of communication.

    The only liberty the Right defends is gun ownership.

  9. 9
    the Dragon Said:
    3:59 pm 

    Rick,

    You and Taibbi are really on to something.

    You Champion civility!!!

    Then proceed to call anyone who does not HATE Palin, like you folks seem to, is either currently committed to a mental institution, escaped same, or has illegally evaded such commitment.

    You say “Many times, Americans argue by “substitution,” not able to finger exactly what it is that troubles us, and rather than explore the real reasons for our differences, use proxy issues instead.” and then relish demeaning anyone not “ENLIGHTENED” as you and Taibbi, regarding Sarah Palin. I guess there are multiple and opposing definitions of “substitution”.

    You make the following point “They will tell you it’s all about “socialism” but these same folks didn’t seem to mind much when Bush pushed the prescription drug benefit, or the huge federal interference in education represented by the No Child Left Behind legislation.” Maybe in your part of the Universe EVERYONE loves these Republican nostroms. It seems that this Pathetic Band of Resenters have a fairly bi-partisan target. While they may feel they can achieve their wishes through the Republican Party, many hold no love for the current Republican establishment either, having been let down time and again.

    I suspect you and Taibbi RESENT the fact that the US Constitution begins with 3 words “We the People”, you would much prefer a somewhat longer intro, something like “You Stupid People MUST bow down to the People who know what’s best for you.”

    One thing you “Smart” folks might not have considered is that the VAST MAJORITY of citizens don’t hang 24/7/365 on politics. They make their choices and expect the trains to run ontime. When things are very comfortable, they will take a chance on a pie-in-the-sky promise, it couldn’t cause much problem if it doesn’t work. BUT woe be to the one who seems to have tried to pull the wool over their eyes, particularly in difficult times.

    You then seemed somehow to allude to William F. Buckly in positive terms. Rick, you’ve got to get your story straight…OR is this a different William F Buckley from the one who wisely said “I’d rather entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 people listed in the Boston telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard University.” That sounds more like what these mentally unbalanced individuals are saying, AND what you and Taibbi deplore.

    Regards,

  10. 10
    not a hillary supporter Said:
    4:40 pm 

    ” Palin has complained vociferously about press treatment of her. I agree it has been abominable, the worst, the most biased, the meanest I’ve seen since Nixon. ”

    Really?

    I’ve seen this before - this idea that Sarah Palin has gotten the worst treatment ever by the media. That nobody in American politics has ever gone through anything like what she’s had to endure.

    Does anyone remember a woman named Hillary Rodham Clinton? You might recall that as First Lady she was referred to Hillary “Rotten” Clinton, “Hitlery” Clinton and my personal fave, “Feminazi”. This was done by the conservative media - magazines, blogs and thousands of right-wing talk shows - on a daily basis for 16 years straight. It didn’t stop until they were afraid Obama would win the Democratic primary last year, at which point they pretended to respect Mrs Clinton.

    Up until then it was common to suggest that Hillary was a frigid bitch who deserved to be cheated on because she was lousy in bed - and probably a lesbian. Again, this went on for 16 years.

    Imagine if Laura Bush had spent her time as FLOTUS being dismissed as a Nazi lesbian bitch by virtually the entire left-wing media establishment! And what has Mrs Palin endured? One year of skeptical media coverage. And the same media that criticizes her does her the favor of pretending to believe that she’s a credible presidential candidate. And they give her millions in free publicity and describe her as “formidable”, and a “force of nature”. Not too shabby. Better than being called a Nazi bitch. Her latest complaint? A photo that she posed for was on the cover of Newsweek. Cry me a river. She’s on the cover of Newsweek. Waaah.

    Just my 2 cents.

    BTW - I say all of this as a person who strongly opposed Hillary and was glad that she lost last year.

  11. 11
    Russell Miller Said:
    4:41 pm 

    I think I agree, and it’s why I’ve generally bee staying out of politics and political debates lately. There’s no room in it any more for the intelligent, it’s just the ignorant and unaware flailing about and playing government. And Palin is the highest profile ignorant and unaware person out there so far.

    Don’t get me wrong, all politicians and political bloggers - left or right - embody this to one degree or another (if they didn’t they wouldn’t be politicians or political bloggers), but Palin has it down to an art and is in a class of her own.

  12. 12
    Liberty60 Said:
    5:25 pm 

    Palin is similar to Obama in that they both spoke in vague terms, instead of wonkish policy-speak.
    But Obama spoke of a desire to transcend partisan politics, to bridge our difference, to find common ground.
    Vague platitudes? Sure.
    But they are platitudes that everyone can believe in, and develop policy from, and build on. It is how he built a coalition of wildly diverse interests and identities, who wanted to create something in common.

    Palin’splatitudes are actually angry resentments- the evil Elites, the foolish Leftists, the “ones who don’t see America the way you and I see America”
    Her sentiments are the politics of exclusion, of class warfare in its most destructive manifestation.

  13. 13
    the Dragon Said:
    5:53 pm 

    Liberty60 said:”Palin’s platitudes are actually angry resentments- the evil Elites, the foolish Leftists, the “ones who don’t see America the way you and I see America”
    Her sentiments are the politics of exclusion, of class warfare in its most destructive manifestation.”

    Interesting. I am sure George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, George Mason just to name a few, who colluded on the Constitution intended for the “We the People” folks to be subservient to the National Government. They just happened to screw it up the mechanism when they wrote the document.

    The strain that runs through the 1st half of Sarah Palin’s book (I’m only half-way through, so unlike Ms. Cox, I cannot give a full review yet) is that the Government exists to serve those “We the People” folks. I think that much of the rage is at bottom, similar. I admit that is a very quaint concept, and so 18th Century.

    Regards,

    Regards,

  14. 14
    funny man Said:
    6:14 pm 

    the Dragon,
    ok, the way I understood Rick’s post is that today’s debate is more about what tribe one belongs to in today’s culture war not about rational debate and Palin knows how to play that fiddle. If you (and I) make an argument against Palin all hell breaks loose, why? This has nothing to do anymore with 18th century debate that was firmly on the pillar of enlightenment. Palin does play on resentment against the so called ‘elites’, you know that. BTW, since when do we as conservatives have a problem with there being an elite. That sounds pretty egalitarian, mind you socialist, to me. Wrong concept?

  15. 15
    Liberty60 Said:
    6:16 pm 

    Dragon-
    See, that is the point- you seem to think that everyone but you ache for Big Brother, that your group- and ONLY your group- can bravely stand against this tide of weakling fools and knaves.

    Just out of curiousity, who are these Elites that Palin mentions? The media, I know, but is that it? Are Goldman Sachs and the Wall Street banks part of the evil Elites?

    This is part of the problem I have with Palin; that she is, in Rod Dreher’s words, a “conflicted populist”; she writes movingly of how Exxon screwed over the people of Alaska, and how she was their champion; yet then goes on to chirpily state that Big Business gets a bad rap.

    Its almost as if she doesn’t see a bigger picture in that; that perhaps Exxon screwed the people of Alaska because they have accumulated too much power, and she doesn’t then follow the logic of how to prevent such things from happening again.
    This is why her populism seems phony- she rails against Elite media people like Katie Couric, but gives the corporations a pass. She complains about over-powerful government bureacracies, but seems content to give the NSA and Homeland Security even more power than they have now.

    Average Americans like you and me have much more to fear from Exxon and Homeland Security than we do from Katie Couric.

  16. 16
    the Dragon Said:
    7:26 pm 

    Liberty60 said:”This is part of the problem I have with Palin; that she is, in Rod Dreher’s words, a “conflicted populist”; she writes movingly of how Exxon screwed over the people of Alaska, and how she was their champion; yet then goes on to chirpily state that Big Business gets a bad rap.”

    Liberty, have you read the book, or any of the book?

    I DID NOT respond in an earlier thread when you brought up Dreher because I was very early in the book. At present I am half-way, although it seems I just finished the pre-campaign stuff, yet there will be some more related to the post-campaign Alaska stuff.

    I personally think Dreher has to live on a planet further from Earth than mine, to think that there is necessarily any inconsistancy in the above comment. Is your problem that Exxon screwed Alaskans? Seems to be evidence to support this claim aka Exxon Valdez. She also served as an advocate for those she was elected to serve, in demanding that Exxon and others exploit their leases or lose them.

    Second, in order for Dreher’s view to be correct, one HAS TO believe ALL Big Business (however that is defined) is bad. I personally do not believe that, while admitting there are a number of bad actors who give a bad name to the Solid Citizens. Is that an unreasonable position? Should I visit the sins of someone you know to you, just because you happen to know them?

    I find this “Corporation” argument specious. With Corporations, do you also include LLC’s and Partnerships? IF so, let’s save the world and liquidate them all. My guess we could put another 50-70 million people out of work, maybe more, but it would be for their own good. No, you didn’t say that, yet “Corporations” is so vague and fits 3/4’s of my client’s, employing 0-50 workers.

    One thing I think it would have been useful to realize that Sarah Palin’s book is an Autobiography. By definition, I expect it to reflect the world from Sarah Palin’s perspective, AND I presume that it presents her in a very favorable light.

    I haven’t gotten to the Katie Couric part, so the only comment I will make is that I saw John Fund (Wall Street Journal) on TV last week (I think Hannity..I watched because Vince Flynn the author was on and I love his books) where he asserted that the Couric interview lasted 8/9 hours which was edited to 13 minutes. There was a Democrat strategist (I think the name was Schoen or something like that) on as well who seemed to confirm that. They stated that was congenitally stupid for a campaign to allow that, and it seems the McCain campaign DID NOT get a copy. I’ll finish the book and see what Sarah Palin ACTUALLY has to say about it.

    As to NSA and Homeland Security (she hasn’t addressed this yet in the book), I personally have always been conflicted. Unfortunately, I see it as a catch-22. Am I trusting enough to believe these agencies WILL NOT abuse their trust? barely, and uncomfortably so. Could I live with myself IF I stood fast to principle, eliminated their efforts, and a dirty bomb eliminates Houston Texas or LA and several million or more people die. Is that an easy choice? For me, not so easy. How about you?

    As to the Too Big to Fail issue, my gut say’s Sarah Palin disagree’s with that. The question, as was the melt down last fall. How do you deal with a situation where the Government was an active participant in the underlying causes?

    Regards,

  17. 17
    busboy33 Said:
    7:47 pm 

    @Insight:

    “There’s a HUGE difference between the left and right. The right, although many of them can be appealed to on populist terms, is generally about individual rights, individual responsibilities, and individual opportunity. The left is about collectivism, and appeals to envy and/or elitism, but in both cases the message is “we must control other people.” ”

    I understand that this is the official meme of the Right . . . but the facts simply don’t bear it out, any more than the meme of “fiscal responsibility and limited government” is belied by every Republican Government.

    Simply look at the current HealthCare debate in Washington, or the Gingrich-inspired talking-point faxes. Republicans are a drill team of unitary groupthink. I don’t say that insultingly. It is immensely effective for what they are trying to do. But “individual freedom and thought” it sure as hell isn’t.

    Contrast this with the Blues. They have, on paper, a Super-Majority, filibuster-proof caucus. Unfortunately, they have the discipline of a heroin addict. Hell, Liberman has announced that he effectively has decided to caucus with the Republicans . . . and the Dems STILL let him retain chairmanships. Talk about individuality!

    I know the emotionally resonant talking point is “individual liberty and freedom”, but the extreme right embody the exact opposite. Look at the comments in most of Rick’s Palin posts. Individual freedom and liberty . . . but if you disrespect our Chosen One you must be Nazi Agent. The supporters of Obama are all hypnotically brainwashed and can’t think for themselves . . . but the Palinistas with the “WeLuvUSarah” googly-antennas breathlessly and tearfully comparing her to Joan of Arc are obviously carefully thinking for themselves.

    Hell, The Vanguard Of Individual Liberty And Personal Freedom supports profiling and targeting Muslims. Whether that’s a good plan or not isn’t the issue . . . can you honestly say that doing this represents respect for the individual? No. It respects and protects YOU (assuming you’re not a Muslim), but clearly doesn’t respect individuals and their personal rights. Again, I’m not saying that Muslims shouldn’t be profiled. I don’t think so, but it’s irrevelant to the point. The point is, actions speak louder than words, and saying someone (or some group) supports Truth Justice And The American Way doesn’t necessarily make it so, no matter how tingly it feels to repeat it.

  18. 18
    Chuck Said:
    8:45 pm 

    Mr. Moran:
    I’m admittedly not a long-time reader; I’m probably the (seemingly) rare reader of political blogs who seems to turn against whoever’s in power, and sorta hates both ends of the spectrum.

    But after reading a number of your posts recently, I was surprised to read references to “nationalizing” health care and “Government taking over” in this post; I’d come to associate those phrases with the same people you’re attacking, since I haven’t actually heard of any provisions of either of the still-relevant bills that would seem to imply a takeover. Is this based on the idea that, if a “public option” passes now, it will eventually *lead* to a takeover at a later date? Because from the actual details of the bill(s) that I’ve heard, I thought the big issues were that it was a giant redistribution, and that it forces millions of healthy people to buy (private) insurance they don’t believe they need. Recent stories have suggested that the public option (which probably won’t even make the final bill) wouldn’t actually accomplish anything, because nobody would actually use it, and it wouldn’t have any power to actually cut costs.

    Still, this talk of a “takeover” is so common there has to be something it’s based on. Most of the conservatives that use these phrases seem to take it as a given, and most liberals never even seem to engage on this point. Is there a link you can provide, that explains what you mean by “takeover”? Or is this just a case of multiple meanings of the same word, and you just mean that the feds would be starting (a la NCLB) to mandate and regulate things that are currently handled at a lower level of government?

  19. 19
    Papa Ray Said:
    9:35 pm 

    Palin speaks for the masses. Those dumb middle of America poor hard working, just leave me the fuck alone and let me enjoy my life and try not to screw up the government any more than it is…Americans.

    They say little, because they are too damn busy working and taking care of business and their families. But starting a few years ago, give or take three years, they started noticing how things were turning to shit and started worrying.

    Obmama conned many of them, enough of them that he got elected, given that McCain was a no go for many of them.
    Now those that were conned are feeling not only really, really worried but really, really pissed and many of them have lost their job and are about to lose their home.

    So Palin speaks and she sounds like them and their neighbor, same worries, same distrust of government, same anger.

    And guess what boys and girls it is only going to get worse, because Obama, his Administration and his Congress have no idea what the hell they are doing or- if they do- they are all traitors. Either way there is going to be a reckoning either by vote (if we are not too far gone to have fair elections) or by other means. It won’t be pretty one way, it will be a disaster the other.

    Papa Ray

    The Second Amendment is a doomsday provision, one designed for those exceptionally rare circumstances where all other rights have failed - where the government refuses to stand for reelection and silences those who protest; where courts have lost the courage to oppose, or can find no one to enforce their decrees. However improbable these contingencies may seem today, facing them unprepared is a mistake a free people get to make only once.
    2009 Judge Alex Kozinski

  20. 20
    narciso Said:
    10:00 pm 

    See, one ratifies a detestable column and Taibbi when he is not writing of a 101 uses for a Dead Pope, as he has in the New York Press, occasionally has some good material. Along the lines of Goldman’s ties to various bubbles through time. But you haven’t seen the statements of Obama admitting that the public option, is a way to single payer.
    Or the words of Mark Lloyd or John Holdren, arguing for an explicit redistribution of wealth. It strikes that this premise of resentment is ridiculously off base, unless love of country, support for our troops is resentiment, maybe naivete is the worse
    one can attribute to her. She can’t really imagine a President who is pursuing policies that retard any likely
    future economic growth, that demoralize
    our military, alienate our allies, and
    hearten our foes. I admit that’s kind of an enigma to me, as well.

    Whereas the current actual president was marinated for at least twenty years in the Marxism of Ayers, the black nationalism of Wright, the critical legal studies marxist analysis of Bell.
    Everything is Caesar’s in his and the
    considered opinion of much of his entourage

  21. 21
    michael reynolds Said:
    10:31 pm 

    Narciso:

    Your understanding is so profound, your ideas so clear and compelling I think you should run with Palin.

  22. 22
    funny man Said:
    10:58 pm 

    Narcisco,
    I guess I’m too elitist to understand even a paragraph of what your saying. And the topic was…

  23. 23
    B.Poster Said:
    11:00 pm 

    Matt certainly nails it to a point. We argue among ourselves about trivial issues.

    We do this while the Russians are preparing for war and we are wholly unprepared to stop them yet we continue to argue among ourselves. This will need to change.

    As I said Matt nails it to a point but he does not totally get it. Why obsess with Sarah Palin. She is the former governor of Alaska. She holds no public office and she hold no position of influence within the RNC. Her following is small but somewhat vocal. Furrthermore most of the voting public neither likes her nor her followers and neither does the RNC.

    She quit in mid stream as governor of Alaska. The voting public will rightly ask will she quit again should the going get tough? Any opponent in either the primary or a general election will have a field day with this. In addition, Republican party leaders do not like her. Given these factors, she has no chance of being nominated for any office nor can she be elected. Its puzzling why we waste so much time discussing such an insigficant indivual.

    Of course it does increase web traffic and it increases readership for those who critcize her. After all, she has more critics among Republicans, Democrats, and Independents than sdhe has supporters. We can’t miss an opportunity to gain readership or web traffic now can we. Palin bashing costs us nothing and it has huge financial benefits. I’m assuming increased web traffic and increased readership positivley affects the bottom line.

  24. 24
    Liberty60 Said:
    11:12 pm 

    Dragon-
    I will speak for myself by saying that I don’t consider ALL corporations evil; I am the manager of a medium sized corporation, and am as avid a capitalist as any.
    The point is not that Exxon is evil; its that Exxon and others like it, are extremely powerful; Goldman Sachs for instance, seems to have a death grip over our elected government. TARP was not a liberal do-gooder program- it was a giveaway of taxpayer money to private interests.
    We can champion free market capitalism all day long, and I will cheer. But in doing so, Palin and the conservative movement turns a blind eye to the threat to our liberty (and the free market itself) posed by over-powerful corporations.
    As for the NSA and Homeland Security; if you, Palin and the conservative movement feel this is a necessary price to pay for security, that is your opinion; but at least have the honesty to say that you are in approval of a large and powerful central government, NOT a small limited government.
    It is insulting to tell us you want to “set government back within its limits” and then tell us that we need to accept a large and intrusive Security State.

  25. 25
    narciso Said:
    11:18 pm 

    The point being, that Taibbi is an extraordinarily jaundiced, some would say resentful figure, who has has proferred lies in the past, not only about Palin, but Romney, McCain, et al. So you would think that Moran would be
    cautious about that type of ‘drive by
    analysis’. This suggests certainly nuthouse if not necessarily right wing.Maybe it’s the fact that ‘24 has
    gone straight into the dump, that explains this attitude. Now you would think that the complex negotiations
    between the state, TransCanada and now
    Exxon, would be one of the things that
    would detract from the derogatory nature
    of the title of this post.

  26. 26
    B.Poster Said:
    11:26 pm 

    Exxon is not extremely powerful. We can’t even open up all of our own oil and gas reserves for drilling. Presumably this would help ExxonMobil tremednously if we could yet they can’t make this happen.

  27. 27
    busboy33 Said:
    12:58 am 

    @B. Poster:

    So . . . because ExxonMobil isn’t MORE powerful, that means they aren’t extremely powerful?

    Looks like in 2008 they spent close to 30 million dollars just on lobbyist influence on the Hill.
    http://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/firm_reports.php?lname=Exxon+Mobil&year=2008

    I’d say a 25-30 million dollar annual domestic lobbying budget is pretty goddamn powerful. But as you said, they didn’t command all oil and gas reserves be immediately opened . . . so they can’t be EXTREMELY powerful.

    Since “extremely” is an undefined word here, I can say they are extremely powerful and you can say they aren’t, and we’d both be right. How about we define their power in more quantitative terms?

    They are a metric a$$load more powerful than you and any of your friends and family . . . combined. Then multiplied.

    A fair statement? Or is “b.poster” an alias for “Bill Gates” or “Bill Buffet”?

  28. 28
    Shelby Said:
    1:31 am 

    Hi Rick, well it’s been a long time since I’ve read your site. I think I even saw your name pop up on my Facebook suggestions (I don’t know any other Rick Morans!). I’ve been so busy with school that I haven’t been posting, but I do drop by from time to time.

    Anyway, this is not the first Palin hit piece I have read and I’m sure it won’t be the last. Granted, he seems to make an effort to support his criticisms by explaining what he feels are deep and dark psychological motives on Palin’s part. I get it, I have heard all this before. She is narcissistic. Too ambitious. Riles up crowds. He says she stakes out the “entire landscape of incoherent white American resentment”. Screaming just for the sake of screaming. But how can he accuse someone of all those dark psychological motives and ambitions when he claims she lacks intelligence? All these criticisms kind of sound familiar and it sounds like the same kind of foaming at the mouth criticisms that we all hurled at Hillary Clinton when she was trying to get the nomination. Back then we called her overly ambitious as well, narcississtic, catty, plotting, calculating, artificial, too old, you name it. Except Hillary wasn’t warm. We always criticized her for being a little bit too practiced and rehearsed. We almost found it creepy. Now here we are and Palin can draw a crowd and deliver a decent speech (even though it may be riddled with folksy expressions that the intellectual among us are usually too embarrassed to use in public). And because she can draw a crowd we accuse her of riling up crowds TOO much. Because she can draw a crowd we accuse her of exploiting the crowd’s inner fears to drive herself to power. What is a woman politican supposed to do? I am a woman and honestly I’m tired of reading all of these commentators imagining these off the chart unrealistic fantastical dark plots emerging whenever there is a woman who actually wants to have a political career on the national arena. Why does it have to be like that? It seems like the only acceptable route for a female politician is to just hold a lower office, like perhaps be a senator or congresswoman. You know, something more “safe”, something that isn’t on a national scale. Something where a woman candidate can spend her time talking about some mindless drivel like bringing more jobs to the area, instead of actually criticizing a standing President’s decisions. As soon as a woman goes on a national scale, oh no, she must be up to something. She must be representing the bad wing of her party that is corrupting the system!!! she must be exploiting dumb Americans who can’t think for themselves!! Think about that for a second. We can’t even handle having a First Lady without criticizing everything she does, what she wears, how many assistants she has, etc, etc. It just gets so boring after awhile. It’s like America is having an identity crisis. We’re married to a particular set of views and expectations on what a woman should be, and then women like Palin and Hillary emerge out of nowhere like the “Other” woman, testing our boundaries and fears and making us all generally either extremely squeamish, angry, repulsed, or maybe even at times inspired and jealous. It is an awkward moment for everyone.

    So anyway that is my 2 cents, you can take it or leave it. I know some here pride themselves on looking at both sides of an issue, so here is my side and how it feels to read this stuff.

  29. 29
    smitty Said:
    6:19 am 

    If your overstatement of the animus were any greater, you’d qualify for the global warming team, sir.

  30. 30
    the Dragon Said:
    7:31 am 

    Liberty60,

    Your comments in #24 are EXCELLENT!

    I agree with you philosophically, the question is can your and my aims be achieved with one stroke of a pen? I sincerely doubt it.

    The real question is HOW do/can we move towards our common objective?

    I suspect as a Manager, you often have a handfull of options of how to move forward in any circumstance, I suspect from time to time you choose an option which offers less risk and less reward, rather than an option which fits your basic philosophy which may carry far higher risk with more abundant reward.

    You said “It is insulting to tell us you want to “set government back within its limits” and then tell us that we need to accept a large and intrusive Security State.” I agree with you conceptually, my only question is must this be the first step?

    I am not really sure which problem should be solved first, yet if you don’t start somewhere, one is unlikely to solve any of them.

    Regards,

  31. 31
    jackson1234 Said:
    10:44 am 

    Palin drew fire because her thin resume highlighted Obama’s non-existent one. She will not be nominated in 2012 or come close because the county has been traumatized by and seen what can happen when an incompetent, unqualified buffoon like Obama occupies the Oval Office.

    If the Republicans think it through, they should be able to blow out Obama as they did Carter in 1980. My guess is they do take a serious look at who should be their nominee and it will be someone with both private sector and public sector experience and heft–a sharp contrast to both Obama and Palin.

  32. 32
    narciso Said:
    11:22 am 

    Well there is that, but she saw through the Obama mirage, quite clearly. One should also recall that it was not such
    a sure thing that Reagan would beat Carter even six monthes out. And the likelyhood of Connally or Baker doing it.

  33. 33
    Bruceinsocal Said:
    11:28 am 

    Gee Rick..Palin’s numbers seem to be in the 40’s now. Careful..your head might explode.

  34. 34
    K_McLoud Said:
    2:44 pm 

    Rick,

    Please don’t ever quit, you’re the only writer I’ve read who follows a thought process even remotely similar to my own.

    Do you know any other writers who write about a similar brand intellectual conservatism?

    Keep in mind that by “intellectual conservatism” I don’t mean “moderate”, I mean Conservatism that is well thought out, logically sound, and not tainted by populism or pop-conservatism.

    What can people like us do to propel intellectual conservatism to a prominent place on the national stage?

    finally, are people who think like us really “intellectual conservatives”? or are we “pragmatic libertarians”? or something else entirely?

    Heh - gave up on labels long ago. Used to think I was conservative. Liberals told me I was conservative. Now conservatives are telling me I’m a liberal because I criticize conservatives and don’t conform to every item on their litmus tests.

    Go figure.

    ed.

  35. 35
    Mick Said:
    5:51 pm 

    Rick,
    You are the saddest excuse for a conservative (if you really are one) in the blogosphere. Sarah Palin has realized that her role is as a Lightning Rod for the conservative Constitution loving portion of this country that wants no part of Government control. She realizes that to hold office is to limit that role, since she spent so much time being attacked in that capacity. Now she is free. Duh!! Secondly you besmirch the birthers for wanting to know if the POTUS was born in the US. Although it is really beside the point, since he has already admitted that he was a dual citizen at birth (due to father’s Kenyan citizenship), and thus is not a Natural Born Citizen (the requirement- not just “citizen”), There is no way that the word of an unsworn website (with ties to said POTUS) serves as proof of anything. Of course in this article you fail to articulate exactly what bothers you about Palin, just like any other Leftist site.

  36. 36
    andrew Said:
    8:45 pm 

    When you find yourself praising something written by Matt Taibbi you might as well find a new line of work. You’re lost.

  37. 37
    funny man Said:
    10:43 pm 

    Mick,
    just because you adore Palin and fish around some strange birth certificate pond doesn’t make you a conservative either. I go for substance not Glenn Beck moments.

  38. 38
    Mick Said:
    7:21 am 

    Funnyman,
    You wouldn’t know substance if it slapped you in the face. Never said i loved Palin, only discussed her role. The Constitutional issue of Obama not being a Natural Born Citizen is determined by the already admitted fact that Obama was a dual citizen at birth (due to his father’s Kenyan Citizenship). So obviously you don’t even understand the question. The birth certificate is beside the point. But if you think that it’s posting on an unsworn (and biased) website is proof of authenticity, then you are not only Constitutionally unaware, but willfully blind. Please, You are no conservative, and neither is Rick. You guys are about as conservative as McCain, the other Non Natural Born Citizen (born in Colon, Panama).

  39. 39
    funny man Said:
    12:12 pm 

    Mick,
    personal attacks doesn’t make you conservative either. Aside from this ridiculous issue name one one where I am not conservative (or Rick) in your mind.

  40. 40
    Mick Said:
    8:46 am 

    Funnyman,
    Awww so sensitive. You still have not responded to the issue (typically). Tell me where it says that a Natural Born Citizen can be produced by less than 2 citizen parents on American soil. Then tell me why this issue, which is the Kryptonite of this administration, is not forcefully argued by you supposedly conservative commentators. For the record, the pooh poohing of Palin, who represents conservative principles (but probably goes against your pro-abortion beliefs?) is a perfect example of why you are not a real conservative. I usually find myself getting sick anytime I read one of Rick’s nonsensical Rhino Screeds.

  41. 41
    funny man Said:
    5:49 pm 

    Obama was born in Hawaii and is an American citizen, end of story. BTW, I don’t see where I have a problem with conservative principles e.g. when did abortion come up? Palin just doesn’t have a good grasp on important foreign policy issues and I just don’t want another neocon dumbo as president.

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