Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Fool For Sister Sarah

remaining until the election, the time has evidently come for the right wing to lose what's left of its collective mind. Nowhere is this more in evidence than in the editorial pages of one of America's leading humor publications, The New York Post.

Vying for the title of most unhinged political column of 2008, last Saturday's edition featured an outlandish Ralph Peters defense of the Republican vice presidential candidate, Our Sister Sarah Palin's Anti-Elitist Charm, whose purpose apparently was to elevate her to something resembling sainthood. Like some avenging knight, and armed with a quiver full of hackneyed half-truths, sweeping generalizations and outright falsehoods, an aggrieved Peters sets out to defend Palin from the hordes of ungrateful citizens who dare to commit the unpardonable sin of questioning the candidate's credentials for the high office she aspires to.

"I KNOW Sarah Palin, and so does my wife. Neither of us ever actually met the governor of Alaska, but we grew up with her -- in the small-town America despised by the leftwing elite.

One gal-pal classmate of my wife's has even traveled from New York's Finger Lakes to Alaska to hunt moose with her husband. (Got one, too.) And no, Ms. Streisand, she isn't a redneck missing half her teeth - she's a lawyer.

The sneering elites and their mediacrat fellow travelers just don't get it: How on earth could anyone vote for someone who didn't attend an Ivy League school? And having more than 1.7 children marks any woman as a rube. (If Palin had any taste, her teenage daughter would've had a quiet abortion in a discreet facility.)

And what kind of retro-Barbie would stay happily married to her high-school sweetheart? Ugh. She even kills animals and eats them. (The meat and fish served in the upscale bistros patronized by Obama supporters appears by magic - it didn't really come from living things.)"

It's glaringly obvious from the beginning of this affront to fact-based reality that when it comes to writing about the so-called culture wars, Peters' moronically simplistic take makes blowhard Bill O'Reilly's bloviating seem positively nuanced in comparison.

"Palin has that hick accent, too. And that busy-mom beehive 'do. Double ugh! Bet she hasn't even read Ian McEwan's latest novel and can't explain Frank Gehry's vision for a new architecture. She and her blue-collar (triple ugh!) husband don't even own a McMansion, let alone an inherited family compound on the Cape.

And she wants to be vice president. The opinion-maker elites see Sarah Palin clearly every time they look up from another sneering article in The New Yorker: She's a country-bumpkin chumpette from a hick state with low latte availability. She's not one of them and never will be. That's the real disqualifier in this race."

This selective championing of the common man has been a hallmark of the New York Post since it was purchased by Rupert Murdoch, himself a typical commoner in every way and in no way part of the media elite despite owning something like half the newspapers published in the Western Hemisphere. The right wing and their cheerleaders in this election cannot hope to win by running on the issues, so you get this shameless brand of Bizarro World class warfare, which can only work on a populace as ill-informed and dense as the average Post reader.

"Now let me tell you what those postmodern bigots with their multiple vacation homes and their disappointing trust-fund kids don't see: Sarah Palin's one of us. She actually represents the American people."

Hey Peters, have the guts to come right out and say it: she looks like one of us too, not like that skinny colored fellow with the funny name. Just how the hell is it anything less than blatant racism to suggest that she represents the American people more than Barack Obama does?

"When The New York Times, CNN, the NBC basket of basket cases and all the barking blog dogs insult Palin, they're insulting us. When they smear her, they're smearing every American who actually works for a living, who doesn't expect a handout, who doesn't have a full-time accountant to parse the family taxes, who believes in the Pledge of Allegiance and who thinks a church is more than just a tedious stop on daughter Emily's 100K wedding day."

So much lunacy crammed into just one short paragraph that it stands as a model of cheapshot liberal bashing: the anti-welfare insinuation, the phony populism, the obligatory outrage at the blogosphere, the appropriation of flag and God for one side of the political spectrum.

"Go ahead, faux feminists and Hollywood deep thinkers: Snicker at Sarah America's degree from the University of Idaho, but remember that most Americans didn't attend Harvard or Princeton as a legacy after daddy donated enough to buy his kid's way in.

Go ahead, campaign strategists: Mock Americans who go to church and actually pray. But you might want to run the Census numbers first.

And go right ahead: Dismiss all of us who remember how, on the first day of deer season, our high school classrooms were half empty (not a problem at Andover or Exeter)."

And they say the Internet is full of grudge-harboring, conspiracy-minded kooks. This last sentiment about hunting season is my favorite. I mean, you're writing for the New York Post here, not the Butte Creek Gazzette, so whose high school classrooms are you talking about here? And more importantly, who were those commie wimps who thought learning was a better way to spend a school day than slaughtering defenseless animals? I hope you reported their names to the proper authorities, Peters. The only thing kids at my public school knew about hunting we learned from the "duck season/rabbit season" episode of Bugs Bunny.

"That rube accent of Palin's? It's a howler. But she sounds a lot more like the rest of us than a Harvard man or a Smithie ever will. Why does Sarah Palin energize all of us who don't belong to the gilded leftwing circle? Because she's us. We sat beside her in class. We hung out afterschool (might've even shared a backseat combat zone on prom night). And now she lives next door, raising her kids."

More loaded code words here by Peters ("sounds a lot more like the rest of us, she's us," etc.). I have no idea what a Smithie is and I'm quite sure I've never run into one. And get real here, Peters, the "gilded leftwing circle" is a total fantasy of yours. If the left is so well off, then wouldn't they be more likely to vote Republican, to be calling for even more tax cuts for the super-wealthy? And why are progressives the only ones calling for a minimum wage increase to help the poorest of the working poor out? Just wondering how that squares with charges of elitism, especially when it's the Bible that seems to put a focus on Christians caring for the sick, poor and hungry? I guess only if they happen to live in that shining small town on a hill that hypocrites like Ronald Reagan made a career out of mythologizing.

"For the first time since Ronald Reagan, our last great president, we, the people, see a chance that one of us might have a voice in governing our country. Speaking of Reagan (Eureka College, Illinois), every chief executive we've had since the Gipper snapped his final salute as president has had the imprimatur of an Ivy League university. And we've gone from bad to worse:

* George Herbert Walker Bush: Yale.

* William Jefferson Clinton: Georgetown, Oxford, Yale Law.

* George W. Bush: Yale and Harvard Business School.

The first lacked the sense to finish the job in Desert Storm; the second lacked the guts to go after al Qaeda when it was just a startup - and the third, well, let's just say he disappointed our low expectations."

Ralph, that's an awful big city sounding word (imprimatur) you used there, almost Ivy League itself in its pretension. See how it works: only others' education is a form of elitism, only wealth in the hands of people who don't support McCain or agree with Peters is to be mocked. Peters has no problem with economic elitism, great wealth concentrated in the hands of the super-rich, because only the political right's experience is authentic, only their side has arrived at its positions and viewpoints genuinely. Unlike those liberal progressives, who hate small towns, Wal-Mart and decency.

It doesn't matter that your father was a factory worker and your mother a secretary: if you vote a certain way, you're a part of the sneering, flag-disdaining elite, and as such you're part of the problem. Worse still, you're one of them, not one of us. Got it? Good. Feel yourself getting stupider as you read the New York Post, well, that's the point. Insulting the intelligence and dumbing things down to this depth is no accidental premise in their case.

Peters himself graduated from Penn State University and then a series of military colleges, where he must have majored in low level propaganda. More like low class judging by the following low blow:

"Now we have the Ivy League elite's "he's not only like us but he's a minority and we're so wonderful to support him" candidate, Sen. Barack Obama (Columbia and Harvard Law). Our country can't afford another one of these clowns. Harvard isn't the answer - Harvard's the problem.

So here's the message Palin is sending on behalf of the rest of us (the down-market masses Dems love at election time and ignore once the voting's done): The rule of the snobs is over. It's time to give one of us a chance to lead. Sen. John McCain's one of us, too. He raised hell at Annapolis (quadruple ugh: military!), and he'll raise the right kind of hell in Washington."

Uh, raising hell by voting 9 times out of 10 with the party in power during the Bush years? Yeah, McCain being one of the Keating Five was a real howler! That influence-peddling scandal cost the taxpayers billions of dollars, and that bailout, like this latest one, was a direct result of excess deregulation forced through Congress by the ungilded, ungreedy right wing.

"McCain's so dumb he really loves his country. Sarah Palin's dumb that way, too. How terribly unfashionable."

Didn't we just try the folksy, supposedly down to earth guy for two terms? How'd that work out? We're still paying the price for that and will be for generations. Eight misguided years we'll never get back, thousands and thousands of lives never to return to this mortal coil as a direct consequence of a war that never needed to happen.

You're right, Peters, it would be downright silly to search for solutions to our complex financial problems in our leading universities; better to look for some uncultured hayseed whose manly gut instinct would be free from the unpure taint of effete intellectualism. Ugh! Thinking bad, make head hurt.

But as far as dumb, no one is saying Palin's as ignorant as, say, George W. Bush. Left and right alike now agree that there's no there there. What is becoming clearer about Palin's mock candidacy is that it's one of the most egregious cases of resume padding in the history of the sport. For instance, the former beauty pagaent queen knows as much about foreign policy as Miss Teen South Carolina knows about world geography. If that be sneering, Peters, then by all means make the most of it.

Peters is a retired Lt. Colonel and fashions himself quite the military expert. In fact, you might say he puts the moron in the oxymoron "military intelligence." I know this may shock you, but according to Wikipedia "Peters was a strong supporter of the 2003 invasion and ongoing war in Iraq." By the looks of it, the man has never met a war he couldn't revel in from a distance. He's written novels with fascistic-sounding titles like "The Perfect Soldier" and "Twilight of the Heroes" as well as neoconning nonfiction books like "Never Quit the Fight" and "New Glory: Expanding America's Global Supremacy."

A front-page New York Post editorial in 2007 had Peters trumpeting his charge that anyone opposing the Iraq surge is guilty of treason. Peters really makes no secret of his vision of American supremacy in the Middle East, no matter the cost in American lives. Some might even call it a form of sneering when he blames "the Arab genius for screwing things up" for our trouble in Iraq and declares "it appears that the cynics were right: Arab societies can't support democracy as we know it."

See, Peters is a regular on Fox News, CNN and the like, even PBS, where he espouses racist, jingoistic garbage like this. But of course that in no way makes him a mediacrat or part of the media opinion-making class. How can he even write this stuff with a straight face? More to the point, the future world Peters envisions for the human race is one where, according to this deranged little Dr. Strangelove,
"There will be no peace. At any given moment for the rest of our lifetimes, there will be multiple conflicts in mutating forms around the globe. Violent conflict will dominate the headlines, but cultural and economic struggles will be steadier and ultimately more decisive. The de facto role of the US armed forces will be to keep the world safe for our economy and open to our cultural assault. To those ends, we will do a fair amount of killing."
Ultimately, it's clear that Peters is an alarming exemplar of the warped war groupie so prevalent in the present Republican landscape. He undoubtedly sees Sister Sarah Palin as a kind of stalking horse his War Party can slap some lipstick on and then ride to unlimited defense budgets and an endgame of enduring and unending war, one where his dreamy Perfect Soldier can carry out all the glorious carnage in the name of Pax Americana. And while the bullets fly in faroff lands, the well-connected war profiteers back home are free to get rich off the fat government contracts awarded to firms like Halliburton, Blackwater and KBR. It's in this context that Democrats are portrayed as defeatist appeasers, while Republicans claim the high ground as heroic supporters of the troops. In 2008 America, unquestioning patriotism is the always the first refuge of red-baiting scoundrels like Peters.

Somehow, thinking about a depraved war pig like Ralph Peters brings to mind the closing stanza of another old protest song, one that has never been more relevant.

"And I hope that you die
And your death'll come soon

I will follow your casket In the pale afternoon
And I'll watch while you're lowered

Down to your deathbed

And I'll stand o'er your grave

'Til I'm sure that you're dead

See also:

Still Horrible

Plenty Smart

Thinking makes it so

Post partisan

Rejecting Rudy...

..As You Should

Repugnant Convention

T - 20...

No Reason


Anonymous said...

Can't wait to see Palin debate Biden, I am sure it will be more comical than the Katie Couric Interview

jimithegreek said...

brother, it is political madness & mayhem!!