Monday, September 08, 2008

What Goes Around Comes Around

Lambert said it, not us, so if it upsets you, don't shoot the messenger, 'kay? Just think about it, as you ponder all those new polls released today and continue to gnash your teeth over what Dems should do between now and Nov. 4:
[I]f it’s legitimate to vote for Obama as a blow against racism, regardless of his policies, then it’s equally legitimate to vote for Palin as a blow against sexism, regardless of her policies. And if it’s legitimate to vote for Obama because of his compelling life story, then it’s equally legitimate to vote for Palin because of her compelling life story. And if it’s legitimate to vote for Obama because he’s charismatic and gives a good speech, then it’s equally legitimate to vote for Palin because she’s charismatic and gives a good speech. And if it’s legitimate to vote for Obama because he’s a media darling, then it’s equally legitimate to vote for Palin if she becomes a media darling. And since the post-partisan schtick can only mean that there’s no intrinsic difference between D and R, that means all the candidates are equally legitimate, so why vote for one as opposed to the other? Eh?

All back to the original sins of the primary, I’d say.

Hm-m-m. Funny, that's what we'd say, too. And the former comp teachers in the house give Lambert an A+ for arguing a point through extremely effective use of the material conditional. Oh, and a 5-point bonus for the nifty bit of recursion there at the end. Well done.

(Image Credit: Real Clear Politics)


  1. Anonymous11:18 AM EDT

    Good pickup, Roxie--I considered posting on it, but decided that I'd rather do some academic blogging this week. Lambert, as always, is clearly at the head of the blogger class.

    Last night, Big Tent Democrat at TalkLeft said, "In essence, Obama opened the door by not picking Hillary Clinton and McCain walked through it. McCain's Palin gamble clearly has worked. He is in the game. And he would not have been if he had not chosen Palin. And McCain would not have chosen Palin if Obama had picked Clinton."

    That sounds about right to me, and maybe it will to you, too. (Link:

  2. Yep, that sounds about right to me, too. McCain's Team is wicked like a fox. It's not that HRC voters are going over to McCain because of Palin (they are by and large NOT doing that). It's that the choice of Palin has Obama, a Presidential nominee, defending himself and comparing his experience to Palin's, a VP nominee. As sexist treatment of Hillary Clinton made Obama look bigger when she was the opposition (see Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own, to get my drift), so BO's comparing himself to Palin makes McCain look bigger. And in the process he belittled being a small town mayor, forgetting that she is now a sitting governor. None of that looks very confident, nor does it indicate good judgment.

    Goose here has done a little research and it turns out that Palin has never actually advocated TEACHING creationism: all I can find is her saying if a student raises a question about it in class, then it should be discussed (if anyone can find quotation marks around her actually advocating it as part of the curriculum, I'm more than happy to be corrected; and I assume we all agree that student speculations should not simply be dismissed but should be engaged so that they are pointed to facts). The NYT had to retract its report that she was a member of the Independence Party. She does NOT oppose contraception (as has been widely reported). I could go on, but those examples are enough: attacking her for positions she has never held does not do any good but in fact rallies people to her support, creates sympathy where there was none.

    I overheard a conversation today where someone was belittling the fact that she is governor of Alaska, such a small state (pop. 670,053). Mmm, I thought to myself, what's the population of Biden's Delaware (843,524) and what's the population of Howard Dean's Vermont (608,827, so SMALLER than Alaska). Unlike either of those small states, Alaska is the 6th wealthiest (per capita income).

    Had Obama picked Clinton as his VP, I would have never looked those figures up, so I suppose I should be happy that I learned something I didn't know before.

    The Dems need to cease and desist from "THEY (the Repubs) are spooky, scary." We all know that already. The voters the Dems need to woo (Independents and other moderates) are not going to be won over by that old saw of an "argument." In my 35 years of voting, the Dems have tried that argument EVERY time, and they've lost more than they've won.

  3. Anonymous7:35 AM EDT

    Actually, if I were a Republican operative, I'd want Palin against Clinton much more than against Biden. It would be much easier to spin. Of course, I want to start by stipulating that in terms of brains and policy knowledge, Clinton wipes the floor with Palin. But in terms of symbol and narrative--and Davis of the McCain camp has said bluntly that the election is going to be about image and narrative rather than issues--Clinton offers too many opportunities to an opponent like Palin.

    You made the point yourself, Roxie, in your Sunday post: Palin is fun; she has fun; she is "well-rounded"--she's not just about policy wonkery; people look at her and see someone who belongs to the "real world." She projects a sense of humor; Clinton doesn't. "Mom" is clearly a big part of her identity; it isn't for Clinton, despite the fact that she has (like Jackie O.) performed an incredible feat: she has raised a daughter under astonishingly difficult circumstances, and that daughter has turned out to be responsible and well-balanced, an achiever, and a young woman who clearly adores her mother. (Teenage girl likes--not just loves, but likes and admires--her mother. That's one heck of an achievement, if you think about it.) Let's also note that Clinton is an honestly devout woman who is never given credit for her religion.

    So back to this alternate universe, where I have had my conscience surgically removed and I have been hired for ginormous sums of money by the Rethugs to handle Sarah versus Hillary. On one side, we have the perky, youthful new-mother plus new-grandmother who snowmobiles, and knows how to dress a moose, a former sportscaster who is comfortable in front of cameras. On the other, an intellectual whose hobby is, um, more wonkery and who thinks cameras are a good way to convey intellectual content? Regardless of how the debate goes--and it will go well for Palin, because she shares Cheney's delight in making up stuff--at the end we have the picture of the happy five-kid-mother, with her faithful, outdoorsy husband, all so proud of her. On the other side of the stage, we have the older woman with her strange, sad marriage (image, image, image!) and her one child. [Yes, we know they'd have liked more--Mrs. C said so in interviews before Mr. C's first run. But--image, image, image--is heartland America sure they tried all that hard? Wouldn't a second child have interfered with career-lady's career?) Here's the line I give Palin: "Yes, it's tough raising four kids. Sometimes, I wonder what I did with all the spare time I must have had when I had just one or two! But I'm grateful to my older children for being such great helps around the house. You know, it's not just about the parents: a family is everyone in that family, and all the kids help each other." The joke is one every parent will get, and the rest of the line contains an implicit--and unattackable--comparison with Clinton with her one child.

    I want the media calling it a "catfight." Clinton's people will bristle. If I'm lucky, Clinton herself will be asked about it and look uncomfortable or find the term objectionable. Because I will have coached Palin to make it a joke: "Oh, I don't care--call it a catfight if you want. But I think this little kitten can hold her own." Or, better, "but you don't want to mess with the kind of cats we have in Alaska!" Photoshop a cat holding a gun and make a few posters.

    Back to those hobbies: Palin's got 'em. Unfortunately, Hillary's hobby is probably something like reading, which doesn't sell well. And thanks to Terry McAuliffe, she now has this hobby: "she loves to sit there, throw 'em back." Oh yes, please, O Alternate Universe God, put that image up against my church-going, outdoorsy hockey mom! Terry, my man, you're going viral!

    Is all of that right, good, proper? No, but those are the facts about the America we live in.

    Biden wasn't high on my list of choices for pres. or veep, but I think in terms of narrative, he can probably neutralize some of what Palin's got. He can talk about respecting her ability to work while raising a family, and his recollections of how hard it was for him to do. He can play the tough but lovable old grandfather (as opposed to the crochety old man who keeps yelling at the kids to get off his lawn--actually, if I were a Republican consultant in this alternate universe, I'd be lying awake at night worrying about the top of the ticket), bringing everyone back to the issues and gently correcting the younger politician.

  4. Anonymous8:49 AM EDT

    And here's a comment from the beagle, who is, admittedly, confused by the whole "natural born citizen" thing: Palin for President

  5. Ah Dudley's Human, you and I see HRC very differently. But that's not even politics; that's life. I take it you've never seen her (HRC) live? (I gather that from the no humor remark.) We'll see; I doubt we would have Palin had Obama chosen Clinton--that was my point. Oh well. And I think all 4 of these have been known to make stuff up (Obama on his grandfather's WWII service, e.g., which he has since corrected; am not certain if he's corrected himself about crafting certain bills he definitely did not, but I assume he has). So neither Palin nor Cheney have the franchise on that. What's astonishing to me is how this has knocked BO off his stride. Every story I've read recently has in some way commented on Obama's clear agitation when talking about McCain/Palin. That does not bode well for someone who wants to face Putin and all the rest. . . .


  6. Anonymous7:16 PM EDT


    I'm sorry. I thought I had made it clear I was speaking, not of my own perceptions, but of what could be made of some perceptions of HRC in a universe in which she was pitted against Palin. I didn't agree with the Swiftboaters' perceptions of Kerry, either--or the perceptions they managed to create in the minds of a lot of people--but just because those perceptions weren't mine doesn't mean they didn't exist.

    I tried to make it quite clear that I regard HRC as both admirable and competent, and I thought I had done so. Evidently not.

  7. No, Dudley's Human, you made yourself quite clear. As Moose patiently explained to Goose on the phone this afternoon, her (Goose's) close reading skills have gotten a little rusty, or perhaps she needs to take her irony-meter into the shop for a pre-election tune-up. We got what you were doing and admire your willingness to travel inside the Republican brain. Even in fantasy, that's just way too scary for us to try. It would disturb our napping.

  8. Anonymous12:15 AM EDT

    Thank you, Roxie. Tapping the Inner Karl Rove is very scary. I don't recommend it, and, although I must, in the nature of my work, do it more than most people, I try to do it as little as possible and only with a crack team of exorcists standing by.

    That said, did you like Dudley's "Palin for President" link? I know, I know, you didn't expect the....


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