Sarah Palin's Poujadist Agenda
October 4, 2008 12:32 PM   Subscribe

Sarah Palin has put a new face and voice to the long-standing, powerful, but inchoate movement in US political life that one might see as a mutant variety of Poujadism, inflected with a modern American accent.
There are echoes of the Poujadist agenda of 1950s France in its contempt for metropolitan elites, fuelling the resentment of the provinces towards the capital and the countryside towards the city, in its xenophobic strain of nationalism, sturdy, paysan resistance to taxation, hostility to big business, and conviction that politicians are out to exploit the common man... Until now, the political leaders who’ve used the movement to their electoral advantage have come to it as outsiders... But the moment that Sarah Palin stepped up to the mike at the Republican Convention in St Paul, and began talking in her homely, mezzo-soprano, Far Western twang, she showed herself to be incontestably the real thing. Americans, starved of völkisch authenticity in their national politicians, thrilled to her presence on the stage...
Cut, Kill, Dig, Drill by Jonathan Raban
posted by y2karl (110 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
We got a big fat helping of this in 2000 with Mr "Jesus is my favorite philosopher" Bush.

Hopefully, we'll fall for it again, since good governance is so boooring.
posted by troy at 12:41 PM on October 4, 2008


This election is going to hinge on Ohio hockey moms who read the London Review of Books.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:43 PM on October 4, 2008 [10 favorites]


No, troy. Bush is not this.
posted by ryanrs at 12:47 PM on October 4, 2008


This election is going to hinge on Ohio hockey moms who read the London Review of Books.

Weren't they one of Mark Penn's groups in Microtrends?
posted by lukemeister at 12:47 PM on October 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


The extreme application of this is what Pol Pot did in Cambodia in the 1970s. Convince the rural bumpkins that progress is to blame for all ills. Then exterminate those responsible for progress (intellectuals, scientists, teachers, anyone wearing glasses ...).
posted by philip-random at 12:49 PM on October 4, 2008 [10 favorites]


The blot on the Alaskan landscape that is Wasilla is the natural consequence of a mindset that mistakes Ivana Trump for culture.

oh SNAP girl you got told
posted by fleetmouse at 12:55 PM on October 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


Sarah Palin is essentially William H. Macy's character in Fargo:

There's a folksy, friendly, non-threatening veneer covering up good-intentioned, but ultimately deplorable plans which are botched by dangerously naïve unworldliness.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:03 PM on October 4, 2008 [34 favorites]


Bush 2000 = Palin 2008.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:08 PM on October 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


I met Ivanna Trump once. She's actually really nice. Horrible taste. But really nice.
posted by tkchrist at 1:17 PM on October 4, 2008


I generally like Jonathan Raban's writing, I subscribe to the LRB, I'm going to vote for Obama, but EMRJKC94's comment nailed it. This reminds me of when Richard Dawkins wrote voters in Ohio in 2004. In grad school we had a cartoon about how any theory sounds better when propounded in an English accent.
posted by lukemeister at 1:22 PM on October 4, 2008


Good article; thanks for posting it. Now I'll go cry...
posted by AwkwardPause at 1:32 PM on October 4, 2008


You know who I feel for? That damned brother-in-law of hers. I don't care whether he's a child tasering drunkard or not, that poor sot must be pissing himself 24/7. Imagine being on the wrong side of some uber-vindictive, simpleminded nutcase, and then imagine that same nutcase getting promoted to greater and greater- no, make that absurder and absurder - positions of power, and consistently using that power to do everything they can to fuck you over. How horrible would that be? "Oh fuck me, the president is auditing me, and she's had my cat murdered, and she's telling everyone in the country I masterbate to Christmas specials." And it wouldn't be paranoid rambling, it would be true! The nervous brother-in-law demographic should be out in the streets protesting.
posted by maryh at 1:35 PM on October 4, 2008 [33 favorites]


MIT linguist Steve Pinker, in The NY Times, today pointed out the difference between performances in a debate and an interview. In the debate, note that the camera is on the person being asked a question and thus we do not see what takes place with the other debater. Here, though, Is the use of a split screen to show us what Palin was doing while grabbing the essence of what Biden was saying:

http://thinkprogress.org/2008/10/03/palin-can-read/
posted by Postroad at 1:38 PM on October 4, 2008


brooks last nite!
Mark mentioned small-town values when talking about Michigan. You know, I think Sarah Palin did very fine last night by her own standards, but this has become -- the Republican Party has become a small-town party, running against -- as Sarah Palin did last night -- against big cities, against the East Coast, to some extent, against newspaper readers.

I understand why they're doing it, running against Washington. This is the way Republicans do populism. But in the long run, it's poisonous and self-destructive. You cannot be a majority party in this country if the coasts don't like you and people who read newspapers don't like you.

And they have narrowed themselves. And I thought McCain was going to be a chance to reach out beyond the traditional red, rural America. And he's not taking that up. And with Sarah Palin, short-term gain last night, but long-term turning people off.
there were a lot of hockey moms in michigan :P
posted by kliuless at 1:42 PM on October 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


First we Godwin (völkisch!), then we Wendell. So it goes.
posted by MarshallPoe at 1:55 PM on October 4, 2008


Somebody on Reddit the other day described Palin's down-home performance during the debate as "high fructose corn pone". I thought that was brilliant.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 2:01 PM on October 4, 2008


Postroad...from the site you linked to:

"Marc Ambinder reports, "Debate rules prohibited candidates from bringing any pre-prepared material with them. Only blank paper and writing utensils were provided. So to the extent that Palin seemed to be reading, it was because she had, during the course of the debate or during Joe Biden's answers, written down some notes.""

Not that I like the twit, but I thought it was fair to mention this.
posted by HuronBob at 2:02 PM on October 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


The common folk have a legitimate grievance against the materialist-reductionist ideology of the cultural élites. Obama should make clear that he, too, opposes this, that he opposes the Harvard Business School ideology of unfettered markets that has led to the current financial crisis, that he opposes the reductionist scientism that turns everything on this planet into a commodity, that he rejects the purely materialist approach to the common welfare that denies any place for idealism.
posted by No Robots at 2:02 PM on October 4, 2008 [5 favorites]


I think we may end up discovering the national crazification factor this election. I assume it's somewhere around 35-40%.
posted by empath at 2:16 PM on October 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


I was wondering if Metafilter would ever have a post about Palin.
posted by Bonzai at 2:23 PM on October 4, 2008 [8 favorites]


The common folk have a legitimate grievance against the materialist-reductionist ideology of the cultural élites. Obama should make clear that he, too, opposes this, that he opposes the Harvard Business School ideology of unfettered markets that has led to the current financial crisis, that he opposes the reductionist scientism that turns everything on this planet into a commodity, that he rejects the purely materialist approach to the common welfare that denies any place for idealism.

Uh, that's some awful high-falutin' talk there. I don't have much confidence in its helpfulness.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:30 PM on October 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


You know something, though, I can understand why some folks are so mistrustful of the intellectuals. ...Just take a look at how much we're picking on them in here.

Seriously. Look, Sarah Palin is not "dumb." Sarah Palin, of all people, reminds me of my Mom -- common-sense, trying to be perky, not too well-read in foreign policy and governance, but very experienced in keeping a home together. THAT DOESN'T MAKE HER DUMB. It makes her inexperienced in a field, but inexperience in one given field doesn't make my Mom dumb. My mom isn't dumb just because she's fuzzy about where the Republic of Georgia is on a map. Just like I'm not dumb because I can't change a diaper. Or Dr. Jonas Salk wasn't dumb just because he couldn't make souffle. Or J.K. Rowling isn't dumb just because she can't do neurosurgery.

So Sarah Palin isn't dumb. Woefully inexperienced and unprepared for the job to which she has been nominated, absolutely. But not "dumb."

And yet what do a lot of us do? We harp about how dumb and silly and stupid and idiotic and backward and hokey and doltish and idiotic she is.

Well, a lot of people don't really warm to the fact that some people think they're "dumb" just because they don't get what the connection is between global warming and the kind of light bulb you use. And so they say "well, fuck you then. I don't want a President who's from the party filled with people who think I'm dumb. I won't listen to people who think I'm dumb, because why would I want to talk to someone who doesn't respect me? And who are they to think I'm dumb anyway! I'll show them..." and that's how we get this anti-elite sentiment.

Not that the elite are CAUSING this sentiment -- but we sure as SHIT aren't helping dissuade it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:35 PM on October 4, 2008 [17 favorites]


The common folk have a legitimate grievance against the materialist-reductionist ideology of the cultural élites. Obama should make clear that he, too, opposes this, that he opposes the Harvard Business School ideology of unfettered markets that has led to the current financial crisis, that he opposes the reductionist scientism that turns everything on this planet into a commodity, that he rejects the purely materialist approach to the common welfare that denies any place for idealism.

Yes, he should, but in words of one, or at most two, syllables.
posted by orange swan at 2:35 PM on October 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


The common folk have a legitimate grievance against the materialist-reductionist ideology of the cultural élites.

The common folk get some serious coin from those East Coast elites. Think of all the government largesse and farm welfare (excuse me subsidies). Look at corn ethanol.

If those homespun anti-government do-it-yourself farmers and ranchers want the government out of their lives, fine with me. Half of them will be migrating to the cities looking for work in half a decade. Then they'll whine how they need relief.

As a native New Yorker, whose city was the FIRST CAPITAL of this country, I am getting a bit prickly about this.
posted by xetere at 2:36 PM on October 4, 2008 [6 favorites]


So Sarah Palin isn't dumb. Woefully inexperienced and unprepared for the job to which she has been nominated, absolutely. But not "dumb."

The dumb part of Sarah Palin isn't the ignorance. It's the thinking that ignorance is OK because she's "regular folk".
posted by DU at 2:48 PM on October 4, 2008 [11 favorites]


Seriously. Look, Sarah Palin is not "dumb." Sarah Palin, of all people, reminds me of my Mom -- common-sense, trying to be perky, not too well-read in foreign policy and governance, but very experienced in keeping a home together. THAT DOESN'T MAKE HER DUMB.

If your mother were running for vice president on the basis of those qualifications, I would consider her stupid as well.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:54 PM on October 4, 2008 [14 favorites]


The dumb part of Sarah Palin isn't the ignorance. It's the thinking that ignorance is OK because she's "regular folk".

Well, if people's only examples of intellectualism are people who ARE snobs, then why WOULD they want to shed that ignorance? "Better regular folk then a stuck-up snob who thinks they're God's gift to everything, right?"

Not that I think it's better to stay ignorant, but JESUS, could we stop confusing ignorance for unintelligence? They're both really different.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:56 PM on October 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


If your mother were running for vice president on the basis of those qualifications, I would consider her stupid as well.

And you would be wrong about that. I'm sorry, but you'd be wrong. "Stupid" and "unprepared" are two different things. Just as "stupid" and "inexperienced" are.

So are "stupid" and "arrogant." Now, "arrogant" I can give you.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:58 PM on October 4, 2008


She's the kind of woman a man's glad to go to bed with at night after a couple of beers, but man, you don't wanna wake up the next morning and find out she's the Vice President.
posted by jamstigator at 3:10 PM on October 4, 2008 [3 favorites]


The fact that she let the words "all of them" escape her mouth when asked what newspapers she reads really is a sign of stupidity. If that's the best thing she could think of to say, she really is dumb.
posted by Potsy at 3:10 PM on October 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


"Stupid" and "unprepared" are two different things.

Stupid is not knowing you're unprepared. When someone calls you up and says "I'm offering you the job of Vice President of the United States," the non-stupid say to themselves, "I'm unprepared for this task," and politely decline the offer.

Those who are both stupid AND unprepared say "Um, OK."
posted by chimaera at 3:16 PM on October 4, 2008 [16 favorites]


What's most disconnecting about all of this is in everyday life, even the hickiest hick in hicksville wants people smarter than him to do things for him. You don't get your tractor fixed by calling the guy who knows less than you do about it, you don't get your leaking pipes fixed by someone who knows less about plumbing than you do, hell, these people go to church to listen to someone who has thought more deeply about their god than they themselves have.

And yet when it comes to one of the most important things, good government, they happily vote for people who are literally dumb as posts when it comes to knowing how to govern. It's fucking ridiculous.
posted by maxwelton at 3:21 PM on October 4, 2008 [7 favorites]


Not that I think it's better to stay ignorant, but JESUS, could we stop confusing ignorance for unintelligence? They're both really different.

Being willfully ignorant but not necessarily stupid doesn't mean you're smart. It means you're cunning. And that's a pretty dangerous combination.

A person who lacks the capacity to learn is, in most respects, no different than the person who willfully and purposefully lacks the desire or interest to learn. Except that latter person knows this fact about himself, turns it into a virtue, and concentrates any personal motivation he has into the acquisition of power.
posted by deanc at 3:23 PM on October 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


And yet when it comes to one of the most important things, good government, they happily vote for people who are literally dumb as posts when it comes to knowing how to govern.

The difference is that everyone thinks they could do a good job as president, even if they know they couldn't fix their own tractor.
posted by deanc at 3:24 PM on October 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


The difference is that everyone thinks they could do a good job as president, even if they know they couldn't fix their own tractor.

See, I know I would be a far shittier president than anyone the Democrats had in the running this year and, to be fair, probably everyone the Republicans nominated, minus Hockey-san.

We're all told from an early age "anyone" (please go to the back of the line, though, if you're not a male WASP) can be President--without mentioning that is true just like anyone can be an astrophysicist--all it takes is smarts (hopefully), perseverance, money and years of training.
posted by maxwelton at 3:35 PM on October 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


And you would be wrong about that. I'm sorry, but you'd be wrong. "Stupid" and "unprepared" are two different things. Just as "stupid" and "inexperienced" are.

You miss my point. She is stupid because, despite being unprepared to be VP, she still thinks she can do it, in the same way that I would be stupid if I thought that, despite never having a day's lesson in flying an airplane, I honestly thought I might be able to take control of a Cessna.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:38 PM on October 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


Just like I'm not dumb because I can't change a diaper.

actually, yes, that does make you dumb
posted by pyramid termite at 3:43 PM on October 4, 2008 [6 favorites]


Sarah Palin Debate Flow Chart
posted by y2karl at 3:48 PM on October 4, 2008 [3 favorites]


If your mother were running for vice president on the basis of those qualifications, I would consider her stupid as well.

In fact, I'd wager that if someone asked your mother to be VP, she'd say no, because she KNOWS what she is qualified for. Palin does not.
posted by graventy at 3:49 PM on October 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


A few months ago I changed job and landed into an office populated with researchers from all over the country and also from historically disadvantaged (read, quite more poor than other) areas. What we certainly have in common, aside from being humans, is some level of education and a slowly drilled in habit of analyzing data, comparing and contrasting them, checking out if a chain of thoughts holds , in a word we are a lot used to do a lot of "studying".

Yet outside of the work hours, we are quite different. With respect to the lunch-hour political "debates", I think that what is keeping us from thumping our opinions as if they were the received truth from some god is the realization that we have to wort togheter and, probably, also the habit of at least trying to make some sense of what the other person is attempting to say without jumping immediately to conclusions.

There's quite a wide spectrum of opinions and, to an extent not surprisingly, quite a number of contradictions between expressed opinions and actual behaviors. For instance, there's the guy who is constantly complaining (and now without reason) about his salary, quite low both in relative and absolute terms. He was the first to express satisfaction at the failure of a company as he perceived its employees to be a bunch of grossly overpaid blue collars. His callous disregard for them and for the fact he doesn't know jack about them, yet feeling glorious schadenfraude, appears to be incongruent with his everyday behavior : he is the first to lend an hand to his fellow coworkers when requested to and he sympathizes with those who are determined to do a good job, difficulties notwithstanding.

Then we have another man always complaining about money, moonlighting at a restaurant yet he is often found eating at rather unexpensive in absolute , but relatively expensive with respect to his income restaurants and playing lottery, losing rather regularly, a basic understanding of statistics notwithstanding.

It seems to me he believes and hopes in luck, as one of his remarks was about marrying some rich women he doesn't care about or really feel for, yet he also talked about tobacco being an hypocrite state monopoly that forces to print "smoking kills" while obtaining a nice revenue stream from tobacco sales. I wonder what would he do if he was given that stream.

This very little social experience of mine leads me to think that the reason behind so much diversity and expressed tought-behavior incongruence being easily observable is due to the fact my town attracts people from all over the country ; in smaller villages, I think we could expect less variation expecially because people are more likely to know meet and know each other better and may, to an extent, be subject to social pressure to conform or not to dissent too much, much like as it happens in a office.

As I previously worked in a work of pretty much like-minded, city born-and-raised group of aquaintances, I didn't have the opportunity to spend enough time with a very diversified group of people, expecially people who come to live from relatively far away places.

If the differences in education, disposable income, culture are so great in US of A as I read from various places in the web, I can only wonder how difficult could it be to deliver one consistent and resonant political message all over the country. Probably the most watched national networks are the most important providers of culture of the country.

But they appear to operate primarily to entertain rather then educate people to, for instance, appreciate the complexity of a political debate and carefully verify the assertions of the candidates, I doubt that the debates of these days will be watched but as yet another entertainment show. As the the "debate season" is quite short and with too few episodes, getting a complex but very reasonable message across could prove to be extremely hard if not impossible. In such a setting, Palin could even look better.
posted by elpapacito at 3:56 PM on October 4, 2008


So Sarah Palin isn't dumb. Woefully inexperienced and unprepared for the job to which she has been nominated, absolutely. But not "dumb."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:35 PM

This is dead on, and if I could change the wording of a post I made last week wherein I called her dumb I would surely do so. EmpressCallipygos nailed it in the above sentences. And it doesn't show that she is dumb to attempt to apply for and interview for a job that is much larger than her abilities; it shows that she is ambitious and hungry and foolish. But not dumb.

In 2000 I took a job managing electrical engineers and extremely bright software and hardware designers and developers and their supervisors making bombproof computers for the telecom industry, an industry I knew absolutely nothing about. Zip. Nada. But I wanted the bread. I wanted the challenge. I didn't want to turn down a job that I was courted for because of my past successes at jobs which I was prepared for and was experienced in. I was ambitious and hungry and foolish.

And I looked every bit the ass that Palin looks like, my weaknesses showed again and again, month after month, day after day, meeting after meeting. Like Palin, I had all the buzzwords stuffed into my head, and I am a quick study, but these people were at these gigs for decades, it was clear that I didn't know shit, no matter how hard I worked and how much time I put in. And I did work hard and I did work long, long hours, doing all I could to learn it all on the fly.

It was a horror show. A very bad joke. Mercifully, in the downturn the company took as everything tanked after the dot.com bust, I was laid off. I was relieved and so was everyone who worked around me.

The point of all this blather -- I know a little bit about what Ms. Palin is up to right now. She's in way over her head but doing her damndest. We have to hope that she won't make it to Washington, because there's no one to fire her if she does -- four years of hell for her and for us, and, sadly, for the world.

Palin isn't dumb. She's sharp as a razor when it comes to reading people and the systems that she needs to manipulate to get what she wants. She's not only sharp as a razor but fights with them also; she ruthless and bloodthirsty. She was great in Wasilla -- I don't mean she did great things or was good at it, but she knows all about knife fighting and she goes for the jugular. She carried that show to The Big House in Alaska, knife fighting every inch of the way, blood in her wake, and carrion. And she is a good politician, by which I mean she knows who she needs and courts them and them alone. She wants this so much that if suddenly all the baptists went lust-crazy and demanded she do a porn show with dogs she'd do it gladly, and well, with lipstick on, spitting out her buzzwords as she fake-orgasmed for the cameras, her glasses askew.

Last. Saying she isn't dumb doesn't mean that she isn't crazy. Putting her anywhere near The Big Chair in Washington, her crazy (also not dumb, but crazy) jesus jumper friends urging her to hurl missiles about, it's really a horrifying prospect. I'm really interested in this one, more than any other in my life.
posted by dancestoblue at 4:56 PM on October 4, 2008 [7 favorites]


wow, dumb folk sure do have themselves a complex about it.
posted by bonaldi at 5:16 PM on October 4, 2008


Palin isn't dumb. She's just hard of speaking.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:20 PM on October 4, 2008 [7 favorites]


I don't care if she's a Mensa members, just as I don't care if John McCain loves and respects women. If McCain consistently votes in ways that are bad for women, as he does, I am going to come to the conclusion that he's not really concerned with the rights of women. If Palin consistently behaves in a manner that is stupid, I don't care if the reason is that she is incurious, overambitious, crazy, and naive. She has behaved in a manner consistent with stupidity.

It's like when people argue that Bush isn't dumb. Who cares? Maybe he's a towering intellect. But he behaves in a manner consistent with that of a moron, and that's what I'm making my judgement from.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:21 PM on October 4, 2008 [15 favorites]


Sarah Palin has turned out to be this nation's inkblot test. Do you look at her and see:

Someone just like you, a mom with 5 kids?
A sexy, hot librarian in three inch heels?
A ruthless, power-mad back-stabber?
A small town girl who makes good?
A big dumbass who doesn't have any idea of what the V.P. actually does?
A calculating cutie who could charm the socks off of Putin?
An idiot choking on her own vomit of nonsense?
A born-again Christian woman with a big heart and purity of soul?
An anti-abortionist?
A small-time hustler who won the lottery?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:17 PM on October 4, 2008 [7 favorites]


You miss my point. She is stupid because, despite being unprepared to be VP, she still thinks she can do it, in the same way that I would be stupid if I thought that, despite never having a day's lesson in flying an airplane, I honestly thought I might be able to take control of a Cessna.

...Eh, I have a feeling this is all boiling down to semantics, because I personally would call that "arrogant." My own conception of "dumb," though, is more defined by "taking an IQ test would give them a score of under 75."

Being willfully ignorant but not necessarily stupid doesn't mean you're smart. It means you're cunning. And that's a pretty dangerous combination.

True. Let me clarify -- I'm not saying Sarah Palin is "smart" as such, I'm just saying that calling her "dumb" pisses off people who are intellectually similar to her. I wouldn't call her smart either. I just ALSO wouldn't call her dumb.

And last - to pyramid termite --

"Just like I'm not dumb because I can't change a diaper."

actually, yes, that does make you dumb


...How so? No one has ever taught me how to do that. No human is born with innate knowledge of diaper changing. How is it that not knowing how to do something that no one has ever taught me how to do makes me dumb?

Can I call you dumb because you don't know how to fly the space shuttle? that would make as much sense.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:30 PM on October 4, 2008


She's the kind of woman a man's glad to go to bed with at night after a couple of beers, but man, you don't wanna wake up the next morning and find out she's the Vice President.

All I can say is that it's shitty enough that you've called EmpressCallipygos' mom dumb, but this is just a little over the top to say about someone's mom.
posted by leftcoastbob at 6:41 PM on October 4, 2008




When they come in a christian evangelical flavor can we call them Poujahideen?
posted by BrotherCaine at 7:01 PM on October 4, 2008


Sarah Palin has turned out to be this nation's inkblot test. Do you look at her and see:

Mussolini cheerleader
posted by vibrotronica at 7:01 PM on October 4, 2008 [3 favorites]


Things one ought to know if one has Presidential aspirations:

* American and world history - to avoid past mistakes.
*Geography
* Names of current heads of state, VIPs, etc. - having met some in person can't hurt.
* Rhetoric, as in logical reasoning/debating
* Current events
* Economics, particularly comparisons between 20th-century systems.
* Enough science to make informed decisions about the many science-based issues we face.
* Spanish and Latin certainly, additional languages if possible.
* An advanced degree, from a good University. Constitutional law would be a good area of concentration, as protecting the constitution is key to the job.
* Familiarity with and curiosity about arts and culture.
* The range of skills we call being a "people person". That would include proper English usage, manners, rudimentary psychology, and more.
* Perhaps someone in the military can chime in on what it really means to be an effective "commander in chief", which every candidate has laid claim to. Is that something a mid-level officer can just waltz into? What about someone with no military experience whatsoever?

A college teacher once mentioned that as a child in grade school, there were things you could be laughed at and called "dumb" for not knowing. Lack of intelligence and ignorance are two different things, but let's face it - the standards have dropped.
posted by AppleSeed at 7:06 PM on October 4, 2008 [7 favorites]


> How is it that not knowing how to do something that no one has ever taught me how to do makes me dumb?

There's probably a misunderstanding here. (Disregarding the "squirming baby control" aspect of it), diaper changing is a simple task. Furthermore, I'd be very surprised if the diaper manufacturers did not insert diaper changing instructions in with some of their diapers.

You are dumb if you've previously received diaper-changing instruction and are still utterly unable to change a baby's diaper.
You are not dumb if you have never received diaper changing instruction, but could probably figure it out with a little help.

Or to generalize it: dumb people fail at genuinely simple tasks, regardless of how much instruction they receive.
posted by simoncion at 7:07 PM on October 4, 2008


MetaFilter: a folksy, friendly, non-threatening veneer covering up good-intentioned, but ultimately deplorable plans which are botched by dangerously naïve unworldliness.
posted by bowmaniac at 7:09 PM on October 4, 2008


> * Perhaps someone in the military can chime in on what it really means to be an effective "commander in chief"

It's my understanding that the best Commander in Chief has very little military background.
The Commander in Chief is the head of the Executive Branch. It is -theoretically- his job to execute the will of the people. The Joint Chiefs of Staff are his military advisors. He expresses the people's desires to the Joint Chiefs, who then help him understand when, if, and how to use military force.
posted by simoncion at 7:22 PM on October 4, 2008


Perhaps someone in the military can chime in on what it really means to be an effective "commander in chief", which every candidate has laid claim to. Is that something a mid-level officer can just waltz into?

Commander-in-chief is titular head of the military, putting control of the military in the Executive instead of Congress.

It does not imply eg. Hitler decamping into the Ukraine to run the operations of Army Group A.

Clinton fucked up by making gays in the military one of his first issues he acted on as president.

I don't know the constitutional theory, but IMO the President's job is to execute Congress' will faithfully within the confines of the Constitution, not be a third or fourth power bloc weilding unitary and undemocratic powers.

In military terms this means the House & Senate military committees should have major say on how the military is organized, funded, equipped, and committed. It's the People's army, not the President's.
posted by troy at 7:23 PM on October 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


In 2000 I took a job managing electrical engineers and extremely bright software and hardware designers and developers and their supervisors making bombproof computers for the telecom industry, an industry I knew absolutely nothing about.

She's trying to get a job in an industry she supposedly knows something about--government. She's a governor. She should at least know something about the vice presidency, what a big position it is (no matter how stupidly the press treated Al Gore in 2000--e.g., the New Yorker reporting in a profile that people felt startled and a bit icky when he described them as friends, as if he were an exec who'd gone through a nasty a divorce and was now a homeless, part-time janitor with a crack habit). She's not going into cardiology or nanotechnology or something now. What's with this analogy?
posted by raysmj at 7:38 PM on October 4, 2008


No one has ever taught me how to do that.

of course they have - you weren't paying attention at the time, due to immaturity and lack of focus - it was demonstrated hundreds of times to you and you just laid there drooling - subconsciously, it's been impressed on you as innate knowledge ...

but seriously, if a person can figure out how to fuck, they ought to be able to figure out how to change diapers - (i don't have to explain why, do i?) - and if they can't, they're dumb - and going to piss off their partner with the "i don't know how" routine

---

Furthermore, I'd be very surprised if the diaper manufacturers did not insert diaper changing instructions in with some of their diapers.

they do - in pictures, so the most slack-jawed, slow-witted, illiterate trailer park inhabitant can figure it out for themselves, which they do

of course, out here in overthink a plate of beans land, it takes people longer
posted by pyramid termite at 8:10 PM on October 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


raysmj: "
She's trying to get a job in an industry she supposedly knows something about--government.
"

Government is an "industry" ? I didn't think it was supposed to work like that, really.
posted by NikitaNikita at 8:18 PM on October 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


She's sharp as a razor when it comes to reading people

With the exception of Katie Couric, who as all politicians (and celebrities, chefs and diet experts, etc., who appeared on the "Today Show") know has this force field around her that says, "You can't read me. I will kick your sorry ass and hand it back to you after tying it into a sailor's knot." But really what is says it ineffable. You have be near the great Katie the Konquerer to understand.
posted by raysmj at 8:20 PM on October 4, 2008 [4 favorites]


NikitaNikita: Well, industry comes from the Latin word industria, meaning “diligent activity directed to some purpose." On the other hand ...
posted by raysmj at 8:23 PM on October 4, 2008


I don't know that I'd say she's smart. She's shrewd. She's calculating. She's a good actress. To me, humility is involved in intelligence somewhere - not really sure how, maybe it's about being smart enough to know the limits of what you know. She just may possess that quality, but certainly it won't do for a candidate for executive office to admit to it. It wouldn't do for her to say "The complexity of policy decisions that I would be called upon to make were I to ascend to the Presidency is deeper than anything I've ever confronted in my life. But vote for me anyway!" (wink, wink). I'd suggest that, if that thought is occurring to her on some level, somewhere in her psyche, then she may have a shred of intelligence.

Interestingly, though, she's presenting herself as dumb as a brick - unblinking, not stopping to consider for a minute the implcations of her decisions, shooting from the hip, etc. Somewhere in our political discourse, deliberation became a bad thing. So some candidates choose to present as dumb - at least the way I'd define it. I guess that, for some, it's more of an act than for others. Not sure which camp she falls into.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 8:51 PM on October 4, 2008


Thank you y2karl . This is an excellent analogy to the phenomena that is Sarah Palin. I am originally from the midwest and it is freaky how well she plays there among the regular folks, even union members and the like. I think people like this feel somewhat powerless on the national political stage, they see it dominated by Ivy League educated, wealthy politicians of all political stripes, with a few unsophisticated urban minorities thrown into the mix (not that I agree with their view on this), none of which they particularly relate to. They may not even really relate to their own congressman. I remember them voting out of office the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, a very powerful man who brought home the bacon again and again, in large part because he was no longer one of them. These people recognize Palin's deficiencies; they really are not fools in that respect. They just choose to ignore them because they feel so under-represented. Well that and she gives a lot of goober guys a woody. Politics is not just about getting someone into office that will advocate for the same issues that you seek, but is often about getting someone into office that represents your whole lifestyle (even if some of the political positions may vary from yours). It's an emotional, not necessarily a rational, connection.

I think in the end the Obama machine will roll over Mr. Alzheimer and his six college sidekick, but the failed T1 unit will be followed by an improved T2 unit. The regular folk recognize her intellectual limitations and that limits her power. Take Ms. Palin and provide her with a stronger intellect and a deeper background in national politics and you have one formidable political candidate
posted by caddis at 9:00 PM on October 4, 2008


This is a slight derail, but AppleSeed above at 10:06 PM raised the interesting question:

* Perhaps someone in the military can chime in on what it really means to be an effective "commander in chief", which every candidate has laid claim to. Is that something a mid-level officer can just waltz into? What about someone with no military experience whatsoever?


Not mentioned in this campaign is the interesting datum that twenty-five years ago or so, the United States Navy's promotion board explicitly told Captain John S. McCain: "We don't think you have what it takes to be an Admiral. We have plenty of guys in line ahead of you, and you will never make the grade".

(Other POWs - Stockwell, for one - did come home and were promoted to flag rank.)
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 9:28 PM on October 4, 2008 [5 favorites]


No,Palin really is dumb. A smart person would have been able to deal with Katie Couric, to give an answer that at least makes sense. A smart person would be able to adjust to a changing situation and adapt. Palin has shown no ability to do that.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:42 PM on October 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


Wait, wait, wait. The "dumb" thing is a complete derail.

"Sarah Palin is being attacked by Liberal Intellectuals (e.g. for being dumb, uncultured, whatever)" is a TALKING POINT. Meaning it is BULLSHIT.

Meaning that if you get into a discussion about it you have already lost, because the point of bringing it up was to take control of the agenda by manipulating your emotions.

Post-Rove American politics is *exactly* like Usenet. Don't feed the trolls, people.
posted by facetious at 9:48 PM on October 4, 2008 [9 favorites]


Please. Just about any job interview has a central question behind it: Is this person smart enough to do the job? It's perfectly normal and valid to discuss whether Palin, Biden, McCain or Obama are smart enough for the job.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:44 PM on October 4, 2008


Sarah Palin has turned out to be this nation's inkblot test. Do you look at her and see:

Anne Baxter in All About Eve.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:49 PM on October 4, 2008


She's an idiot.
posted by fullerine at 1:17 AM on October 5, 2008


That last comment is why we should never, ever discuss this again. It makes us stupid.
posted by MarshallPoe at 5:45 AM on October 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


http://www.metafilter.com/user/23518maryh: "12You know who I feel for? That damned brother-in-law of hers. I don't care whether he's a child tasering drunkard or not...

Latest polls indicate that child tasering drunkards support Obama 10 to 1.
posted by Rafaelloello at 7:02 AM on October 5, 2008


More than Palin?
posted by matteo at 7:08 AM on October 5, 2008


I read this yesterday in the LRB and thought at the time that it was a perfect post for MetaFilter. Raban is a hypnotic writer. As a Brit who was baffled by the choice of Palin for McCain's VP, I was able to put her into some kind of political context after reading this piece.
BTW, it's good to have y2karl around and posting again.
posted by MinPin at 8:11 AM on October 5, 2008


Palin and Bush speak in the same tongue. It's a very special language that only national conservative politicians (and toddlers) speak. It's called "gibberish" and there's something about it that certain people in our country find very reassuring to hear in the mouths of those who are running for the most powerful job in the world.
posted by madamjujujive at 8:53 AM on October 5, 2008 [2 favorites]


Palin isn't stupid. She's not a "soccer mom." She's not "folksy. She is not "cute" or a "sexy librarian." She is Evil. Seriously. She's a Cylon skinjob let loose in the fleet.

She is a fracking Republican politico, and as evil and truly anti-American as any Republican fundamentalist can be. She doesn't need any ideology: she simply needs the power of political office. She doesn't need to speak any truths - because an informed voter is a mere tool of democracy in her Republican eyes, and an informed democracy is "elitist." She's a commisar of the Republican Part, a cadre of corrupt Cheyney-Bush-Rovism, and as such she has no need of your democratic checks and balances, she only needs to trick some of the less informed into not voting her off the "Survivor Island" reality show that this very important campaign has devolved into at the hands of her Repug overlords.

I think I'll have that little drinkie now.
posted by zaelic at 9:22 AM on October 5, 2008 [11 favorites]




Intelligence is also knowing, trying to understand, your limitations and weaknesses.

FI when I was 25 I thought I was really smart. But I was really pretty dumb and made horrible mistakes all the time. Now that I know I'm kinda dumb and don't make those mistakes, I'm actually kinda smart.

Palin is dumb. Like Bush. She can't recognize her weaknesses so she won't be able to correct them. And at their age that is unforgivable. And this is a completely legitimate thing to discuss because it does matter.
posted by tkchrist at 12:00 PM on October 5, 2008 [3 favorites]


I still think Raban's article is lame. It draws an analogy of Palinism with Poujadism, but not in an illuminating way. It's just very well-written confirmation bias.
posted by lukemeister at 12:11 PM on October 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


An interesting story on the culture of Alaskan politics -- with Palin's former allies turned detractors and those who still revere their popular governor:
"I had been to Wasilla. It didn’t come highly recommended, and for the most part the town failed to exceed expectation. The New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd dubbed the town “a soulless strip mall,” but that seemed a facile dismissal of this grim warren of sanitised neon storefronts glinting in the utter dark, nondescript clutches of buildings as disposable as the items dispensed through their doors and drive-through windows, dwarfed by the snow-crowned mountain peaks that disapprovingly framed the distance. The trivial held in the palm of the profound."
posted by sloweducation at 2:41 PM on October 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wait, wait, wait. The "dumb" thing is a complete derail.

Sorry, but I've got to go with Brandon Blatcher here: it is the opposite of a derail. It is core to the question of competency.

How on earth George W Bush managed to skate through with his clearly limited intellectual faculties (I'm trying to be nice here) is a question for the ages. I am inclined to hope that the abundant evidence pointing to what a mistake that was will make it less likely that many Americans (if not their media outlets, who will continue to dredge up any lame justification that will allow them to keep talking) will make the same one again.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:51 PM on October 5, 2008


Palin isn't stupid. She's not a "soccer mom." She's not "folksy. She is not "cute" or a "sexy librarian." She is Evil.

It is always a mistake to confuse stupidity for evil. It lends an air of menace to what is, in fact, pitiful. It gives more power to those who are unqualified to wield it. And it allows us to hate, which makes us into a mirror image of those we accuse.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:53 PM on October 5, 2008 [1 favorite]




How on earth George W Bush managed to skate through with his clearly limited intellectual faculties

He can fly a military jet. I can't. Can you? How about throw a strike in front of 50,000 fans from a major league mound in the wake of the worst terrorist attack ever on American soil? In my opinion, the President has the most singular, harrowing, thankless, and under-compensated management job ever created by humankind. Every 4 years we choose between two substandard candidates because the most qualified are no longer selfless enough to throw their hats into the ring for the inevitable abuse, premature aging, and lack of fulfillment that goes with the job. Somehow I think the most significant, albeit sad, accomplishment of this generation will be an ever-enduring (and from now on, expected) disrespect for not only the holder of the Office of the President of the United States, but the post itself. Sad.
posted by Rafaelloello at 7:20 PM on October 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


So why did these seven employees change their minds about the subpoenas?

...a grass roots group spontaneously emerged, calling themselves Alaskans for Truth.

This group, organized a rally in part to demand the resignation of Talis Colberg for telling state employees that they didn’t need to comply with legislative subpoenas issued as part of the ethics investigation that has become known as “Troopergate.” This smacked a little too much of Alberto Gonzales and Harriet Meiers for many Alaskans, and 2000 signatures were toted down to the Governor’s Anchorage office and presented to Palin spokesman Bill McAllister, (when Lt. Governor Sean Parnell chose to remain in the comfort and safety of his office).

The rally and the petition drop-off were covered quite well by our local news media, and thanks to this and the efforts of several determined and ticked-off bloggers, it got some national play as well. Multiple complaints have been filed against Colberg to the Alaska Bar, and despite a lawsuit claiming the subpoenas are illegitimate, a judge’s ruling this week said, basically, “I don’t think so.” An emergency appeal was filed with the Alaska Supreme Court which will be heard this coming Wednesday.

posted by leftcoastbob at 7:43 PM on October 5, 2008


Somehow I think the most significant, albeit sad, accomplishment of this generation will be an ever-enduring (and from now on, expected) disrespect for not only the holder of the Office of the President of the United States, but the post itself. Sad.

I'm sure nobody will ever respect the office of president as much as... say.... you did when Bill Clinton held it.

It was awesome the respect and esteem exhibited by the Right to the executive during Bill Clinton or Jimmy Carter's tenure. An shinning example or patriotic dignity to us all. I mean only made a few thousand t-shirts with pictures of their daughter on them that said "White House Dog." And only occasionally used nationally syndicated talk radio to claim Hillary was an accomplice to murder AND a lesbian. And it was only a few hundred million dollars of tax payers money they wasted down a rabit hole of fruitless trumped up investigations that went absolutely no where. Such a show of respect for the office holder we shall never see again.

BTW bush scored int he 25% on his pilots test. Um. He logged 336 non combat (IE: training) hours in an F102. And was only promoted once. He refused overseas service got bumped ahead of 500 applicants into the Air National Guard during war time and consistently failed to meet attendance requirements as set by DOD regulations.

Yes. He's a surely a yet blossomed unrecognized genius deserving of our respect.
posted by tkchrist at 9:58 PM on October 5, 2008 [3 favorites]


He can fly a military jet. I can't. Can you? How about throw a strike in front of 50,000 fans from a major league mound in the wake of the worst terrorist attack ever on American soil?

True, those skills are essential in someone leading an entire country. How silly of us to forget.

Troll feeding time is over.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:13 PM on October 5, 2008


tkchrist: "84Somehow I think the most significant, albeit sad, accomplishment of this generation will be an ever-enduring (and from now on, expected) disrespect for not only the holder of the Office of the President of the United States, but the post itself. Sad.

I'm sure nobody will ever respect the office of president as much as... say.... you did when Bill Clinton held it.

It was awesome the respect and esteem exhibited by the Right to the executive during Bill Clinton or Jimmy Carter's tenure. An shinning example or patriotic dignity to us all. I mean only made a few thousand t-shirts with pictures of their daughter on them that said "White House Dog." And only occasionally used nationally syndicated talk radio to claim Hillary was an accomplice to murder AND a lesbian. And it was only a few hundred million dollars of tax payers money they wasted down a rabit hole of fruitless trumped up investigations that went absolutely no where. Such a show of respect for the office holder we shall never see again.

BTW bush scored int he 25% on his pilots test. Um. He logged 336 non combat (IE: training) hours in an F102. And was only promoted once. He refused overseas service got bumped ahead of 500 applicants into the Air National Guard during war time and consistently failed to meet attendance requirements as set by DOD regulations.

Yes. He's a surely a yet blossomed unrecognized genius deserving of our respect.
"

Thank you for proving my point.
posted by Rafaelloello at 10:13 PM on October 5, 2008


dirtynumbangelboy: "85He can fly a military jet. I can't. Can you? How about throw a strike in front of 50,000 fans from a major league mound in the wake of the worst terrorist attack ever on American soil?

True, those skills are essential in someone leading an entire country. How silly of us to forget.

Troll feeding time is over.
"

I am Richard Weed, and I approve this message.
posted by Rafaelloello at 10:16 PM on October 5, 2008


He can fly a military jet. I can't. Can you? How about throw a strike in front of 50,000 fans from a major league mound in the wake of the worst terrorist attack ever on American soil?

Oh, FFS. What does either of these things have to do with being able to run the country? Not a damn thing, actually. Are we supposed to give the man a pass because he can pitch a ball? Seriously, that is all kinds of ludicrous and I can't believe anyone would say that with a straight face. 4,000 dead soldiers and a war that costs 341 million dollars a day, and we're supposed to be shamed into respecting the President because he can fly a jet and throw a baseball.

Do you know why the World Trade Center and the US Bank Tower in Los Angeles were both considered as targets? Because of the significance of America and it's economy in world affairs. And under George Bush, pilot, pitcher, massive fuckup, our economy has foundered in an unprecedented way. It really doesn't matter now if 'victory' is declared in Iraq; President Bush has played a key part in ensuring that the terrorists won this round. Forget our standing in the world, forget about military victories, spreading democracy or any of the other battles we wage; we've lost the economic battle at the moment and for the foreseeable future. Because the man refused to listen to anyone who disagreed with him, the plan to knock America off it's economic pedestal has succeeded beyond the wildest dreams of any Saudi refugee skulking in a cave. We can thank the president for his ignorant and egocentric collaboration in our downfall. He never even saw it coming. Nor can he save us by throwing a baseball.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:17 PM on October 5, 2008 [2 favorites]


Every 4 years we choose between two substandard candidates

ah - so you admit that bush was substandard
posted by pyramid termite at 10:30 PM on October 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


DUHbya flew a plane. Well. Gosh. A monkey orbited the earth. ELECT HIM PRESIDENT.

And oh! LO the lack of respect for the office of the presidency! I gnash my teeth and wring my hands at you kids these days. It's not like it was during the Nix... er... okay... yeah Watergate, I forgot. Well we really respected the President back when Kenne... oh yeah... they shot him... well, FDR was respec... oh that's right he was blackmailed, they called his wife a dyke and there was nearly an attempted coup. But at least back in John Adams day they... oh yeah... there political cartoons of him in a dress... I guess George Washington was respected.

TROLLING, TROLLING, TROLLING. KEEP THAT RIGHT WING TROLLING. AND RUN AND HIIIII-YEEEED! YEEEHAAA!

By the way I can fly a plane. Not so good on navigation by instrument yet. But I'll get my license one of these days if I can afford it. Give me 336 hours of taxpayer funded training and access to the jet and I bet I could figure out an F106. It's not that big of deal. Really. It takes more balls than brains. My brother in law is a top gun and and I'm smarter than him. Unless you're talking about landing on a carrier. That's just pure insanity. The OPPOSITE of brains.
posted by tkchrist at 10:46 PM on October 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Plenty of people think they can get by with a "fake it until you make it" strategy in their careers. They might exaggerate their credentials and hope that the boss doesn't detect their incompetence long enough for them to learn some coping mechanisms.

I've seen plenty of people fake their resume in order to get a job that's somewhat beyond their skill and experience level. On some occasions they actually manage to succeed. However applying for a middle management position at some corporation is not trying to get a job as the number two in the United States government.

The simple fact of the matter is that Palin is unprepared, incompetent and is trying to get into a new job based on faked credentials (Foreign experience = Having Russia across the Bering Strait). While you might get by with that on the local and even state level to think you can get by with that on the national level is pure hubris and quite simply idiocy.

The sad thing is that for a while there it actually seemed like people were going to buy into the bullshit surrounding her. I believe this illustrates just how deeply rooted the "aw shucks, local boy or girl done good" and the "intellectuals are inferior to people with street smarts" narratives are in this country.

I think if liberals really want to end the cycle of cynical "downhome" culture warriors who keep coming to power on the national scene they need to work at dismantling those narratives and establishing a narrative built on "government should attract the best and brightest" and that it's not harmful to trust the experts on occasion.
posted by vuron at 6:37 AM on October 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


Wildly unrelated, but a VP thread seems like as good a place to bring this up as any:

You know what the next vice-president could do that would be most beneficial to the country? Crusade tirelessly against executive power. Really. I would happily vote for any party whose VP candidate ran on the platform of 'I should not be able to do any of the crazy shit that Dick Cheney has been doing for the last 8 years.' Biden kind of brushed against this in the VP debate last week, but it was in more in the context of 'OMG the Republicans are evil and if you let them back into office they'll be hanging kittens from nooses again in no time.' Which, while true, doesn't begin to address the salient point: the VP is not intended to wield any power. It's an office predicated on being a figurehead who gets to cast the tie-breaking senate vote on that one occasion every three years or so where it's actually a 50-50 split in the Senate. Other than that, the job description is really 'keep things civil on the Senate floor, and sit around and hope no one gets a clean shot at the guy in charge.'

But just imagine if the VP were to style him/herself as the wagger of stern fingers every time time the sitting president were to come up with some harebrained abuse of executive authority. If Biden were to go on national television and absolutely rake Obama over the coals for making a signing statement, or if Palin were to spend her first six months working tirelessly to propose legislature to systematically criminalize every abuse of power Cheney tried. It could be an office of constitutional vigilantism!

All I'm saying is, these guys will have a lot of downtime. Might as well make the best of it. But, no, I'm confident that half the country will instead vote for the one who likes to spend her waking hours methodically tracking down and smiting her loser brother-in-law.

Also, a pony. I would like one of those too.
posted by Mayor West at 6:44 AM on October 6, 2008


I don't care whether he's a child tasering drunkard or not, that poor sot must be pissing himself 24/7.

Wooten was extremely stupid in how he handled the taser, but the context from an Anchorage Daily News article indicates that Wooten's stepson specifically requested to be tasered, because he wanted to show his cousin, Bristol Palin, that he wasn't a mama's boy:

One day -- maybe a year or two before the investigation -- Wooten showed his stepson his Taser. He had just been to Taser instructor school. Wooten told Sgt. Wall that the boy was fascinated and pleaded to be tased.

"So we went in our living room and I had him get down on his knees so he wouldn't fall. And I taped the probes to him and turned the Taser on for like a second, turned it off. He thought that was the greatest thing in the world, wanted to do it again," Wooten told the investigator. The boy flinched but nothing more, he said. The boy was about 11 at the time.

In his interview with troopers, the stepson said it hurt for about a second, according to Wall's report. The boy said he wanted to be tased to show his cousin, Palin's daughter Bristol, that he wasn't a mama's boy. The probe left a welt on his arm, he said. His mother was upstairs yelling at them not to do it, the boy said.

posted by jonp72 at 7:12 AM on October 6, 2008


stavrosthewonderchicken: It is always a mistake to confuse stupidity for evil. It lends an air of menace to what is, in fact, pitiful. It gives more power to those who are unqualified to wield it. And it allows us to hate, which makes us into a mirror image of those we accuse.

But replace stupidity with willful ignorance and I have no problem with calling it evil. Being willfully ignorant is stupid. It always amazes me when people take pride in the not knowing.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:43 AM on October 6, 2008


but seriously, if a person can figure out how to fuck, they ought to be able to figure out how to change diapers - (i don't have to explain why, do i?) - and if they can't, they're dumb - and going to piss off their partner with the "i don't know how" routine

*sigh* Alright, fine.

"The fact that I don't know how to waterski doesn't make me dumb." Does that metaphor meet with your approval?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:49 AM on October 6, 2008




In her defense, she probably didn't get the memo from the McCain campaign about what was off limits and what wasn't. It seems that not much is off limits to the Wolverine With Lipstick. (Except her family*.)

*Other than when they are being used as props.
posted by leftcoastbob at 9:56 AM on October 6, 2008


Biden kind of brushed against this in the VP debate last week, but it was in more in the context of 'OMG the Republicans are evil and if you let them back into office they'll be hanging kittens from nooses again in no time.' Which, while true, doesn't begin to address the salient point: the VP is not intended to wield any power. It's an office predicated on being a figurehead who gets to cast the tie-breaking senate vote on that one occasion every three years or so where it's actually a 50-50 split in the Senate. Other than that, the job description is really 'keep things civil on the Senate floor, and sit around and hope no one gets a clean shot at the guy in charge.'

Uh, that's actually damn near exactly what Biden said in the debate.

But just imagine if the VP were to style him/herself as the wagger of stern fingers every time time the sitting president were to come up with some harebrained abuse of executive authority. If Biden were to go on national television and absolutely rake Obama over the coals for making a signing statement, or if Palin were to spend her first six months working tirelessly to propose legislature to systematically criminalize every abuse of power Cheney tried. It could be an office of constitutional vigilantism!

Except that A) Who picks the VP again? and B) that's not the VP's job. What you are describing is what the Legislative and Judicial branches are supposed to do. It's that system of checks & balances, remember? The VP is, as Biden pointed out, explicitly Executive; as such, Congress and the Supreme Court are supposed to expect a power trip and keep it from getting out of hand. When they turn a blind eye: Congratulations, it's a Cheney!
posted by Sys Rq at 10:04 AM on October 6, 2008


TROLLING, TROLLING, TROLLING. KEEP THAT RIGHT WING TROLLING.

This election is so unlike the last--you don't see any latter day equivalents of Faze or dhoyt or Paris Paramus or Midas Mulligan this year .Those that so valiantly waved for Mission Accomplished Missing In Action GI Barbi George are not so valiantly waving about GI POW John and Stepford Barracuda Caribou Barbie. The wingers are flying cloaked this year.


Hereabouts, McCain/Palin love is the love that dare not speak its name. Small wonder, too....
posted by y2karl at 11:12 AM on October 6, 2008


That's a good point, y2karl. I know a number of my neighbors are dyed in the wool conservatives, yet I haven't seen a single McCain bumper sticker and there's exactly one house in my entire town with a McCain banner out front. Granted, I do live in southern California, but by October in 2004 there were Bush/Cheney stickers and lawn banners all over my neighborhood. Why, it's almost as though McCain supporters fear being perceived as racist and/or looney... why would that be?
posted by maryh at 12:29 PM on October 6, 2008


I know a number of my neighbors are dyed in the wool conservatives, yet I haven't seen a single McCain bumper sticker and there's exactly one house in my entire town with a McCain banner out front.

I just came back from a fly-fishing trip in South Eastern Idaho. Two very remarkable things. A distinct lack of McCain signs and stickers and a surprising number of Obama stickers and signs. And my die-hard Republican cousins were voting Obama! In frigg'n Idaho. That made me feel slightly better about this election.
posted by tkchrist at 1:43 PM on October 6, 2008


I just came back from a fly-fishing trip in South Eastern Idaho.

*commits the deadly sin of envy
posted by caddis at 1:58 PM on October 6, 2008


I just came back from a fly-fishing trip in South Eastern Idaho. Two very remarkable things. A distinct lack of McCain signs and stickers and a surprising number of Obama stickers and signs.

It’s the same here in Eastern Washington, normally a bastion of conservative pride. Even our Republican candidate for governor is ashamed of his party affiliation.
One other thing I’ve noticed, a lot of the independent voters I know told me last year that if it looked like the democrats would retain control of the legislative branch they’d vote for the Republican presidential candidate in an effort to maintain gridlock. Most have shed their cynicism and thrown their support behind Obama in the last few months.
posted by Tenuki at 2:04 PM on October 6, 2008


Sure, the Republican candidate for Washington governor isn't running as a "Republican" but as "GOP". He is, however, supporting the same old same old as George Bush did and he's wildly popular in the Eastern part of the state, isn't he, Tenuki? How dumb is that?
posted by leftcoastbob at 5:09 PM on October 6, 2008


You know what the next vice-president could do that would be most beneficial to the country? Crusade tirelessly against executive power.

Matt Gonzalez
posted by mrgrimm at 5:54 PM on October 6, 2008


*commits the deadly sin of envy

AS far as the fihsing, bro? Don't be. Fish just were not there for some reason. Even on the Blackfoot narrows.

The entire experience was like I was an extra in the movie The Bucket List. My partners were all my dad's old cronies. Not a one of them under 65. Now I'm not complaining about the company. Those old farts were a HOOT.

But they have five hundred years of Fly fishing experience between them. Which means non-stop commentary on how awesome the angling was in 1968, etc:

"Oh. Are you using brown leeches? 'Cause you had better be using leeches.

No. God-damn it. Gnat fly!

Get that fucking lure on the surface. More PLAY!

No! Less play!

Hey isn't this the same reservoir where Gnute Sproderskün shot his-self? Right there fell over on that fence line. Snagged his shotgun on the cattle wire?

No. He killt himself and made it look like an accident so Marta would get the INsurance.

Jesus. H. Christ. I got a piss.

I'm Hungry.

Hey that's a helluva Brownie on there.

That's a cut throat you senile dipshit.

Jesus these damn red-necks around here and thier god-damned brand new pick up trucks. LOOKIT!

He's parking that sumbitch right there next to the bank instead up on the road. Oh. Yeah you got four-wheel drive we GET it. I CAME HERE TO FISH NOT SEE A PICK-UP TRUCK PARKING LOT YOU ASSHOLES!

Forget it that fucker will be repo'ed by the time we put on a new lure.

I havn't caught a goddamned thing. Not like back in..."

You get the point.
posted by tkchrist at 5:54 PM on October 6, 2008 [3 favorites]


Sarah's doodles (includes hi-res PDF).
posted by =^^= at 7:40 PM on October 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


And here are a couple of sweet, sweet sentences from the hands of James Wolcott of Vanity Fair:
...I don't want the Republican Party simply defeated in November, I want to see it smashed beyond all recognition, in such wriggling, writhing, anguished disarray that it can barely reconstitute itself, so desperate for answers that it looks to Newt Gingrich for visionary guidance, his wisdom and insight providing the perfect cup of hemlock to finish off the conservative movement for good so that it can rot in the salted earth of memory unmissed and unmourned in toxic obscurity.

I really don't think that's too much to ask, even in these frugal times.
Let The Heironymous Bosch Worm Dance Begin!
posted by y2karl at 8:03 PM on October 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


Maybe some sweet, sweet Voter fraud?
posted by Rafaelloello at 2:09 PM on October 7, 2008


Oh, my God, we can't have people voting while black!
posted by y2karl at 9:03 PM on October 7, 2008


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