Monday, July 19, 2010

Mouthy Women are Winning

Feisty Tammy Bruce. There’s no one quite like her. Smart, willing to listen (mostly), and stomps on political correctness when she sees it. Even when it costs her, as it did when she moved from left to right on the political spectrum.

Ms. Bruce is commenting on a phenomenon that I’ve seen plainly, even given my inattention to the political infighting as people jostle for position in the coming elections: the boys are not being nice. In this podcast, she makes her point:


None of the guys like Sarah Palin at all. I’ve wondered sometimes if it’s not just plain ol’ jealousy because McCain didn’t pick any of them to be his running mate. Instead, he reached waay down the ranks to elevate this unknown Alaskan governor. As we all remember, she was an instant hit with the yobs, and an equally instant target for the intelligentsia.

She is also poison meat for the Republican machine, which, frankly, is their loss. Too bad, given how few of them actually attract strong positive public attention. Not one of them comes close to her ability to attract an enthusiastic crowd.

Ever since the presidential campaign ended, Palin has continued to be a magnet for a large portion of the dissatisfied, with whom she appears to establish an easy rapport.
- - - - - - - - -
But she is also increasingly a magnet for the haters, both right and left. From the little I’ve observed, she’s slowly learning to take the vitriol in stride. Given the level of acrimony and its incessant roar, I can see why she’d have had a difficult time finding her bearings.

The Left is easy enough to figure out: she’s not a socialist, she’s against abortion, and she doesn’t hang with the Ivy League elites. To them her credentials (or lack of the “correct” ones) automatically place her in the default position they’ve set up for the un-cool kids. Thus, they can be depended on to proclaim her lack of intelligence, her ignorance, and her naïve cluelessness. They reliably, predictably spend their energy in a concerted effort to marginalize her, echoing one another’s talking points with their trademarked snobbish lack of civility. If Palin were really as deficient and evil as they claim, she’d have to kill herself just to break even.

Miz Sarah needs to bleach her hair so she can come down to the level of the expectations set for her: a ditzy, clueless blond. And I don’t mean the expectations of the Democrats. It’s the Republican leaders who have been frantically busy distancing themselves from Palin. Deathly afraid that what the political insiders think of this woman, and fearful some of the blather will stick to their skirts, pols like Gingrich and Romney dismiss her as “divisive” or “superficial”, etc. Choose your favorite word weapon to cut her down to size. Either that, or say nothing, hoping that the Mamma Grizzly will disappear from view, a fizzling political fad. Only if that were to happen will they be spared the awful prospect of having to face off against her in 2012, in some form or other.

Here’s Tammy’s introductory prophecy on the subject:

…four days after my warning and right on cue, the Mitt Romney campaign launched a depraved sexist, personal attack on Sarah Palin. In a Time Magazine article with a title also meant to dismiss: “Beyond Palin: Assessing the Rest of the GOP Presidential Field,” Romney advisers and a Republican operative flail about like Alfalfa and the Our Gang kids panicking that Darla might come knocking on their clubhouse door…

At this point in her post, Tammy Bruce quotes from that essay in Time, to point out Romney’s gibes. However, I found the Time‘s authors’ assessments regarding these fellows even more to the point than the dismissive remarks by Romney’s aides [my emphasis below]:

Some of the other would-be candidates and their senior advisers have known Palin over the years, primarily from her days as governor, but most have never met her or had a substantive talk with her. That is a strange situation, to say the least; it forces them to evaluate her without any direct insight into her strengths and weaknesses.

This “strange situation” is a common enough both in the media and among professional politicians, especially those not currently in office. They’re too busy to, say, process the gargantuan legislative porridge cooked up by Congress, but they’re never too busy to give their opinions on same. The era of “Too Big to Read” has produced politicians who are “Too Busy to Lead”. Never fear; the lacunae in their knowledge and understanding are not impediments to their ambitions. Too bad for us.

These fellows would have us believe they’re better than Palin. But based on what criteria beyond their own opinions? And these opinions are second hand and shopworn by now.

The essay in Time points out that our former vice-president is plumping for Mitch Daniels. National Review recently had a laudatory essay on Daniels, and no doubt they will have them on other Republican candidates. But to their credit, they also have one on Nikki Haley (see further down the page for snips from the essay on her).

Meanwhile, back at Tammy’s, there is Mitt Romney’s hit job on Palin in Time to dissect:

Here’s a word of warning to all the establishment politicians who think dismissing or denigrating Sarah Palin will pay off. The tactic has been tried and has already failed. The same smear was tried by Nikki Haley’s opponents, and it helped propel her to victory. Why? Because the American people are sick and tired of gutter-tripe tossed at women who dare to pursue their American dream.

For those who don’t keep up with politics at the state level, Nikki Haley is another first-generation American Indian. Her parents are Sikhs. As so often happens with the children of immigrants, she married a non-hyphenated American.

In this video, she was facing a primary run-off, which she won resoundingly:


Haley’s story is similar to that of many women politicians. She joined the Chamber of Commerce because she was disgusted with the anti-business attitude of government, with its red tape and taxes. Her experience as a small business owner (with her parents) left her dissatisfied with the obstacles being placed in the way of what had been the American story: becoming successful as your own boss and providing jobs and income in your locality. As she says, in her late twenties she was focused on business, not politics:

The itch to enter politics finally came in 2004. “People said that I should run for the school board or county council, that there was a rank I would have to go through, and I just would not accept that,” Haley explains. “I had no interest in that path - I wanted to change state government. My motivation came from my frustration about how hard it was getting to make a dollar in South Carolina and how easy it was for the government to take it…

That’s just one thing which makes this woman different. She jumped straight into the murk of state politics. It was probably much worse than she’d realized, but they taught her well about stepping out of line. She ran against the incumbent and she won. Then she learned how South Carolinians play political games.

From National Review [this is probably still behind the subscription wall. It will be out shortly]:

Then, as now, Haley was challenged on numerous fronts. Her religion - she’s a convert to Methodism who values her Sikh heritage - was called into question. So was her conservatism. Nothing stuck…I saw how dirty state politics can be,” she says. “Even if you go into it with the best intentions, so much can get turned around.

And she won a second term, too. But her attempts to clean up the club cost her dearly:

“What bothered me was how it always seemed to be about the power, the money, and the committee chairmanships. It was arrogant.”

In her second term, Haley decided…it was time to take a knife to the symbol of Columbia’s clubby cronyism: anonymous voice votes, which allowed lawmakers to give themselves perks, ladle out pork, and increase taxes without having their individual votes recorded. In April 2008 she introduced a bill to require roll-call votes and became a pariah almost immediately…

Haley’s efforts finally led the state house to adopt a bill this March that would change the rules to require more on-the-record votes. While this bill was an improvement…the senate has taken no action. Meanwhile…[I] was stripped of all of my legislative power. I lost my position as whip and they put me on a lower committee”…

So now you know why she was motivated to run for governor as a conservative “Republican”. And why she got such high marks from good government groups.

But the national machine ignored her in favor of the club members who were running in the primary against her: a congressman, the attorney general, and the lieutenant governor. She should’ve been eaten by the machine and spit out…except…

Except she got a surprise endorsement from Sarah Palin. Palin’s support totally, and quickly, changed the equation of that primary. As The National Review reported, “within a week, Haley jumped to a double-digit lead in the polls”.

That wasn’t the end of it. There were ludicrous attempts to bring her down, including two “boorish” claims from men who said they had affairs with her. Sure they did. If you can’t win on the merits, call her a slut, right?

It didn’t work. With Palin’s support, her numbers increased substantially, though she lost the four-way primary contest by one point. But Haley went on to win the run-off resoundingly. No doubt the slut stuff will come up again with the Democrat’s campaign as they get closer to November. Maybe those two boors will be the October non-surprise, who knows?

One thing is sure: the sclerotic Republican machine, both the national and the local versions, had better get with it or get out of the way. They hate Palin because she has such power and she's so obviously middle class America. They loathe the Tea Parties because they can't control them. Rather than attempting to negotiate with Palin, or finding a way to build a rapprochement with the Tea Party people, the machine politicians are looking for ways to discredit both phenomena. If not suicidal, this 'strategy' is surely dumb. They so badly want to join the cool kids that they can’t see the ways in which their fear is marginalizing them.

Newt Gingrinch appears to believe he has a chance at the presidential nomination. Now that is some high-octane delusional thinking. His moment came…and it went. It's so long gone you can't even see the dust trail on the road anymore. He’d better learn to be a gracious eminence grise because Newt's not presidential material in anyone’s eyes but his own.

Mitt Romney has far too much baggage. Not as much as Gingrich, but enough. Massachusetts’ universal health care, for which he is responsible, will disqualify him among conservatives. Don't forget it is now the conservatives whose large numbers will decide the coming elections. Without Obama on the menu, many of those who showed up to vote for the first time in 2008 won't be at the polls in 2010. But those self-described conservatives? They surely will be there, and in large numbers. There is a lot of house-cleaning to be done in November. It's doubtful that the New Black Panther Party's trash talk or the corrupt "community organizing" by ACORN will make a dint in the determination of those who are ready for real change. They've run out of hope, you see, and they don't believe the lie that incalculable government debt will get their jobs back.

The ones the Big Boys are backing for 2012, Mitch Daniels for instance, would be well-advised to make nice with Sarah Palin simply because she is the locus of so much power. Even she must be surprised at the depth of the continued response in her favor. If the rest of them continue to hold their noses and back off, they’ll lose respect from the average voter. And then they'll have to try to fly solo, sans the altitude Palin could easily supply. Good luck with that flight plan, guys.

It’s time for the “professionals” and the elites in charge to understand that the rules of the game have changed profoundly. The reasons for the changes are complicated, but certainly Obama’s disasters have had a huge impact on politics at all levels.

Here's the thing, guys. First, stop whining. It's time to learn to get along with Sarah and her Momma Grizzlies (soccer moms, like Newt, are soo 1990s). Either you overcome your distaste, or you start writing your memoirs. There aren’t many other choices. So put on your seat belts Republicans; there's a sharp learning curve ahead.

Adapt or die.

18 comments:

Zenster said...

Clearly, Tammy Bruce has purchased a clue. Her challenge to the American political system's Conspiracy of Silence™ is long overdue.

A Spanish woman journalist once said:

Ater a while, silence is no longer consent. To remain silent is to lie.

Leadership on both sides of the aisle have long used damningly faint praise − or, as Bruce notes, just plain silence − to discredit or malignly neglect awkward issues and people with important but uncomfortable agendas.

Thanks to the Internet and web sites like Gates of Vienna, the American voting public can no longer be so easily swept under the campaign rug.

Rather than attempting to negotiate with Palin, or finding a way to build a rapprochement with the Tea Party people, the machine politicians are looking for ways to discredit both phenomena.

Good luck with that. America's career politicians and their recently forged (in every sense of the word), one-party-system of the almighty dollar has given the Tea Party a push-start that will see it climb Capitol Hill with an ease neither anticipated nor readily counteracted.

Newt Gingrinch appears to believe he has a chance at the presidential nomination.

It's pretty safe to say that any hopes he may have harbored regarding that unlikely scenario were strangled in the cradle, and rightfully so, by his appearance with Al Sharpton.

Gingrich might just as well have been caught with a live boy or dead girl for all the good his ill-thought-out dalliance with race baiting wannabe warlord poverty pimp Sharpton did for him.

Frank Kitman said...

Dont be so harsh on Newt. He would be a great president, and get ten times more work done than Palin or Romney.

But he is scarred by the decades of rough political experiences and sadly does not have much of a chance. People are far too eager to project their own wishes into the vacuum of knowledge surrounding newbies.

I for one would be very careful in assuming that Palin or Romney would seem any better than newt, if they had had 30 years in the spotlight.

The Poster Formerly Known as Gordon said...

I recently formulated the following test for tea partiers regarding racism:

Would you be equally upset today if Hillary Clinton had become president instead of Barack Obama? If not, then you are a racist, because Hillary Clinton would have espoused the same policies as President that Barack Obama is espousing.

So here's my test for leftie sexism:

Would you be equally upset today if Senator Jim DeMint had been selected as McCain's running mate in 2008, and was now a media celebrity and potential 2012 Presidential candidate? If not, then you are a sexist, because DeMint would be espousing the same positions that Sarah Palin is espousing.

Being a heterosexual male, I personally would much rather see Sarah Palin as the leader of the far-right rather than Jim DeMint. But, being moderate politically, I would be equally appalled if either of them became President.

Novaseeker said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dymphna said...

Nova-- Please read the comment rules posted above the box. If those aren't clear, click on the link for further explanations.

Name-calling isn't permitted, and courteous disagreement is encouraged. Many homeschooled kids read our blog and we want them to see examples of critical thinking. Nodrog's comment in this thread follows those rules, though that wasn't always the case. In fact, at one time he was banned from commenting here at all, but these current remarks deserve attention.

It would also help to back up your assertions with examples.

Thanks.

Dymphna said...

Frank Kitman--

Newt carries the baggage of deserting his former wife. While not any more ethically challenged than the current kleptocrats, he had his 'questionable-ethics-moments'. Besides, there really is a "time and tide in the affairs of men" and unfortunately for Newt, that tide is at a permanent ebb. It's not coming back.

---------------
Formerly Gordon--

That one would require some thought...anyone would seem an improvement over this man. He continues to plumb new depths in the "empty suit" department.

OTOH, Hillary knows more of the usual suspects and could've possibly done more damage than he has. Neither of them plays well with others.

However, I'd want to see who her financial advisers would've been. Larry "Castrati" Summers and Little Timmy Geithner, the world's cutest elfin tax cheat -- being the Keynesians they are -- still have me in shock.

The racists in the room and Obama & wife. I'd hoped he would be "post-racial" but that’s a FAIL. The fact that he thinks the Civil Rights Act didn't go far enough because it didn't include reparations shows his level of grievance.

I don't like Clinton's friends & associates (Mark Rich for starters). But Obama's pals (Resko and Bill Ayers) aren't any more palatable.

Obama's autobiographies are fascinating. That such a young man thought we deserved two separate volumes? The depth of his thin-skinned narcissism was a neon billboard. This is a man in search of an identity...untethered.

Hillary's bio was unreadable. Obama wasn't experienced enough; she’s too experienced. Her stint as SecState has proved people's reservations about her ability to govern.

Neither of them is any good at playing with others. In addition, they both see government as the solution. Many voters see it as the problem. Haley was motivated to run for office by her own experience as a frustrated small businesswoman. The club didn't want her sunlight solution to their earmarks and crony governance. Her meteoric rise was quickly brought to earth as they removed what power had been bestowed upon her.

As for being appalled at whomever is in office, Clinton the First cured me of worrying about it. We deserve what we elect. Doesn't mean we can't complain about what's on offer. I voted for Clinton in his 2nd term, but I more or less knew what I was getting back then.

In 2008, McCain wouldn't have been qualitatively better, though having him as counterweight against the BIG spenders in Congress would've avoided the worst of the excesses in our current mess. His disgust with earmarks has to be balanced against the McCain-Feingold monstrosity.

I'm curious, Nodrog. What does it mean to be a "moderate" in real life? Anyone who crafts a legislative program is going to have a point of reference on particular issues. What they end up espousing is either/or. "Moderate" sounds attractive but mythical.

Could you explain the positions a moderate takes on various issues? What would a moderate do about the unfunded mandates that face us? What would a moderate propose re partial birth abortions? How would a moderate resolve the current fiscal crisis? Does a moderate believe in more debt as a way out of the current mess or does he prefer deep cuts in spending?

A "moderate" political philosophy adheres to the ideas of which thinkers in particular? Col West, a conservative, says Bastiat influenced him. Obama, a redistributor of wealth, finds Saul Alinsky's ideas congenial, so much so that he taught them to others. Hilary was offered a job by Alinsky.

So what thinkers do moderates admire and why?

Novaseeker said...

Okay, here's another try without words which seemed to offend the rules.

Palin comes across as undereducated and underintelligent to the elite educated people of the left and the right. She just does. That doesn't make her an evil person, but it does make her very unattractive to the elites -- whether those are conservative elites or liberal/progressive elites. Elites have much more in common, culturally, with each other than they do with the kind of folks who seem enamored with Palin, and are more or less united in their disregard for her -- and, importantly, pack a much more powerful punch than average when it comes to campaign contributions, media access and so on.

The Poster Formerly Known as Gordon said...

Well Dymphna, the definition of a moderate is someone who is in the middle of the road. And people in the middle of the road tend to get run over by drivers on both the left and the right :)

As for your specific questions:

Abortion is the easy one. I disagree with Roe v. Wade in that I don't believe abortion is a constitutional right, and is a matter for legislative decision-making. As a legislator, I would support unlimited abortion rights in the first trimester, much restricted rights in the second trimester, and non-existent rights (except to preserve the LIFE of the mother) in the third trimester - this includes prohibiting partial birth abortions. Others may differ, and that's why we have legislators and elections. As a moderate, I refuse to take either of the "all-or-nothing" approaches of the pro-lifers or the pro-choicers.

The harder question is the one related to how to get out of our economic mess right now. I can honestly say I don't know the answer - a study of the work of economists, and the response to past recessions and depressions, gives such wildly conflicting solutions, both of which are quite plausible. All I can say is that I'm glad I don't have to make the decisions on this.

As for entitlements, the answers are easy, even if the political will is hard. On social security, raise the retirement age to 70 - people live much longer than they did in 1940, and our social security system should reflect that. If there's still a deficit in the system, reduce pension payouts.

You didn't ask about it, but on health care I support what the Congress just passed, based upon the fact that virtually every other developed nation in the world has figured out how to provide better health outcomes, at the same or lesser cost, than we have, through the imposition of government control or regulation of health care. I don't support single payer systems such as Canada and Britain because I support greater choice for health care consumers, but many national health care systems (Germany, Switzerland, Japan) do that.

Thanks for asking, Dymphna.

Frank Kitman said...

@dymphna - You are right. I just wanted to point out that Newt would probably be a much better president than the others, although he doesn´t seem like it.

I believe that the next american president is gonna have to face some unusually rough and unpopular decisions, and has to be someone who is WISE and passionate about DEFEATING the enemy.
There is little doubt that Newt is such a person,

I can´t say that about the others with the same certainty.
To be honest, I almost find it disturbing that everybody assume that Palin or Romney would do such a marvelous job... on what basis?

I have a really hard time finding the justification for these high expectations. So if you have a link to the text or speech that really convinced you, I would love to follow up on it.

EscapeVelocity said...

Im a fan of Newt, even though I dont always agree with him (and his support of Scozzafava was terrible).

He led the GOP (and Conservatism) back from Oblivion in 1994....did some positive things. In fact his exit as Speaker of the House was a disaster for the GOP (and Conservatism).

I think Newt would make a great POTUS, however, he could also be very effective in a Cabinet position, or White House staff.

Anonymous said...

The key problem with Sarah Palin’s performance in 2008 (setting aside questions of whether she is the right person or right on all issues) was preparation – you either need someone who genuinely loves to read/debate/argue/present a negative frame of their opponent, or you need a lot of practice to be able to handle anything the left throws at you, and turn it back against them.

Part of the problem was likely a lack of legwork, preparation and support on the part of her team.

The right in general (particularly the right blogosphere) needs to present solutions more – people already know what a lot of the problems are and it gets depressing after a while.

To walk the walk, I’ve got a future post on a specific libertarian-conservative strategy for Social Security (and an existing post “Room at the Top”, on how the right can win despite changing demographics). Pardon the plug, but I like that Gates of Vienna has previously written actual strategies regarding Islam, and thought some might find it interesting.

Best,
Escapist

Anonymous said...

I don't think Sarah Palin will be a candidate for President--ever. I think she realizes she is much more powerful and useful doing what she is doing. After all, Tom Paine is given great credit for helping start this country, and never ran for office.

@escapistart--Have you read her autobiography. It would appear that much of the problem with the Republican campaign was the campaign "professionals" who think that packaging is more important than message. There are, of course, other versions to the story, but I tend to believe hers.

@PFKasGordon--Why do we not hear about how good the German, Swiss, or Japanese health care systems are if they really are better?

EscapeVelocity said...

Why do we not hear about how good the German, Swiss, or Japanese health care systems are if they really are better? --- Bill

Here you go...

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/sickaroundtheworld/


That being said, I dont support the craptastic Obamacare. Though I do support Health Care Reform, and indeed some form of universal health care socialization.

Paardestaart said...

"Republican leaders have been frantically busy distancing themselves from Palin"

Funny - this happens everywhere: politico's on the 'right' - as far as it exists - are bending over backwards to avoid the slurs and the cordon sanitaire against what is called the 'extreme right' by mainstreamers, to such an extent that it really makes no difference which party you vote for: what the people seem te want just isn't acceptable to those in power. It's very worrying that serious politicians and media pundits are so terrified of being ostracized by the cool kids that they dare not be really conservatives

Dymphna said...

Escape Velocity--

Once I noticed that was a PBS url, I didn't scrape it out and paste it. WGBH in particular is infamous for giving the DNC its mailing list to use in voter campaigns. Illegal, yet they were never prosecuted. The left wing media is bad enough, but the tax-funded socialist radio & TV stations are unreliable for robust stats (just wait till the Dems lose big in Nov. & see all the homeless stories pop up suddenly on your local NPR stations).

Most studies conflate different values -- e.g., the US has a higher infant mortality rate because we count still births together with live births; other countries don't. Thus, no useful comparisons.

John Goodman is part of the National Center for Policy Analysis. He also writes an award-winning blog on medical care in the US. He says (my emphasis below):

For more serious care, only 8 percent of patients wait more than four months for surgery in the United States, compared with more than one in three patients in Canada and 41 percent in Britain.

In making international comparisons, however, one must be careful because:

We basically pay doctors in the United States the same way Canada pays its doctors; as a result both countries have similar problems: no telephone or email consultations, very few electronic medical records, etc.

In the United States, we pay only 13 cents out of pocket every time we spend a dollar on health care (about the same as the average European country!); as a result, we ration our doctors’ time by waiting as well.

Almost half of our health care dollars are spent by government; and Medicare, for example, exhibits the same political pressures evident in Britain and Canada – for example, covering inexpensive items and leaving seniors exposed to catastrophic expenses.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that many of our Medicaid patients wait as long for specialist care and surgery as Canadians wait.

In comparing our system to others, we are mainly comparing private sector socialism to public sector socialism.

For a theory (as opposed to a random accumulation of facts) of how waiting works under our system, see my “What Is Consumer-Directed Health Care?”...


Goodman is an excellent resource. And he's been doing this for more than thirty years. It was he who created the idea for Medical Savings Accounts.

What will continue to kill people unnecessarily in the US is the incredible regulatory red tape. It will only get more "craptastic" as the new rules imbed themselves in our system.

Even Obama has finally come clean and admitted that this health care bill was deliberatly designed as a huge tax.

urah2222 said...

I will make this Short and Sweet.
WHO Among Us would NOT feel safer tonight with Sarah Palin as President rather than Barack Obama?
I certainly would. To me, that is End of Argument. -S-

no2liberals said...

"she’s not a socialist, she’s against abortion, and she doesn’t hang with the Ivy League elites."

You mentioned several of the reasons why I'm in love with "Super Sarah." Some additional reasons are she shoots, hunts, fishes, has run a business and got into politics for reasons other than her ego. She broke up the "good ol'boys" game in her own party while Governor and during the '08 election, she was the only candidate for Prez or VP that had actual executive experience.
Her current role as a "King or Queen Maker" fits her very well.
In a recent poll from the liberally reliable PPP, Super Sarah is even with Øbama.
Also, during the primaries eight of the twelve candidates she supported won. To date, the current resident of La Casa Blanca does not have such a magic touch with those he supports.
Personally, I don't care if she runs for Prez or not, I just want her to stay engaged in getting ordinary citizens involved. What I would love to see, more than her as Prez, would be to see her serve as the Secretary of Energy or in charge of the EPA. The resulting exploding liberal heads would be most entertaining.
As for Romney, he has waffled and flip-flopped more than Sen. Kerry. I would rather see any true conservative defeat him in the primary. We definitely don't need a GOP establishment candidate like him, as we did in '08.

rickl said...

America needs Sarah Palin right now, or else someone who is so much like her as to be a virtual clone.

She is an unapologetic patriot, and a believer in American Exceptionalism. In terms of her optimism, cheerfulness, and love of traditional American values, she is closer to Reagan than anyone else out there. I don't see any other Republican candidate coming close to her as an inspirational leader.

The fact that the ruling class elites of both parties disparage her is a plus, in my opinion. And it's been obvious since early September 2008 that the Left is absolutely scared senseless of her, with good reason.

I've said elsewhere that she may turn out to be America's Joan of Arc, rising to a position of leadership just when the situation seems hopeless. (Hey, she's already been burned at the stake by the media, so at least she's gotten that part out of the way.)