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Palin, Your Time Is Up.

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Sarah Palin had plenty of opportunity to jump into the ring, and make hay in Iowa at the expense of her lookalike Michelle Bachmann. But with the Iowa Straw Poll this Sunday in Ames, IA, it looks like she’s gonna continue to be a no-show in this race, despite the fact that poor Barack just can’t seem to catch a break, and Sarah is running second without running at all. It’s beginning to look like she’s not stepping up.

Thereisnoplan is surprised. Not because she’s missing a golden opportunity to show us the ‘real’ Sarah Palin, but because this campaign was a great big BP fastball for a rampant egotist like Palin, and the consequences of not running might seem to be too horrific to imagine for someone like the ‘cuda. A retreat to post-celebrity status for an ego like that would seem to be fate worse than death.

We’re going to have to make do with Bachmann, it seems. But at least we have her outrageously not gay husband to keep us all amused in the coming months.


Written by coolrebel

August 7, 2011 at 12:40 pm

There’s Fire In Her Belly – Palin’s Opportunity

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Things are getting a little desparate in the GOP presidential field when people are bemoaning the departure of Mitch Daniels from the running. Widely regarded as one of the most boring and technocratic faces in American politics, he joins Mike Huckabee as among the wise few who realize that pending some crushing blow Obama is pretty much unbeatable. Among the so-called sensible candidates, we’re left with Romney, a man who gives dripping insincerity a bad name, Newt, a man of wit, great intelligence and Tourette’s syndrome, Tim “Who”-Lenty, a man defined only by his crushing ordinariness, and the Silver Mormon Jon Huntsman, a relatively moderate voice in an otherwise rabid mob with a resume that includes working for that Muslim Kenyan guy.

Then there are the loons, like Ron Paul, Michelle Bachmann, Rick Santorum, and that Pizza dude. And the late maybes like Jeb “Son of a” Bush, Chris “Fatboy” Christie, and Rick “Texas McMiracle” Perry.

Am I forgetting anyone?

Oh, yeah. Sarah Palin, formerly the star of 95% of all known news stories. She of the famous tweets, content-free bestsellers, reality shows, and Fox News contracts. Remember the days when her ridiculous “Death Panel” Facebook post defined the attack on “Obamacare” and very nearly sank the whole enchilada? She used to be quite a big deal. Could she be again?

Answer: You betcha. If she wants to be.

Palin is the only potential player in the GOP field with “serious” candidate credentials, who fits neatly into the “loon” category too. She can command a Tea Party crowd with a flash of her shiny red pumps, and with a little coaching could even be credible in these days of diminished credibility requirements. She knows better than anyone how to toss out the red meat and as Nate Silver showed the other day, she gets more hits on Google than all the other candidates combined. I wouldn’t fancy the chances or Bachmann, Santorum, or Paul – either alone or as a tag-team – in a catfight with Palin. She’ll maul them but good.

Palin also has the huge advantage of bottom-feeder expectations. We know she can gussy up the knuckledraggers, but if she strings a few words together that actually make sense she’ll be hailed as a genius, and although she’s not known for her bookwork, it’s at least possible that she’ll get a few hours of quality schooling in if the White House beckons. Lets face it, for an ego the size of Sarah’s nothing else will do.

These are utterly facile political times. Don Trump, a man who’s utter absurdity knows no bounds was doing pretty nicely in the Cracker poll-of-polls until he bowed out when he realized the reality of having to drop his reality show. To say that is a sad commentary on the state of our politics is a gross understatement. But it’s good news for Palin. She’s got the looks, she’s got the sass, she’s got some gal who writes her tweets and she’s got the star appeal. Heaven knows one needs little else these days.

And if she runs, she doesn’t need money. She’ll have free media coming out of her ears. Every time she coughs, someone will parse it. And then, of course, if she gets traction, the money will come, and the oh-so-amenable and preternaturally calm ads will follow. Big donors might start to think, hey we can run this gal. Maybe it won’t be so bad for the Street or the Chamber. Maybe she can even beat the big man. I mean, we’re probably going to get our lunch handed to us anyway. Why not do it with style? Doubts about the other boring farts will begin to gnaw at them. Heck, wackier things have happened in American politics, which is already way, way stranger than it’s ever been.

Sarah also has a problem. If she doesn’t run she’s finished. Her career is going nowhere but down if she doesn’t get the facetime that’s offered by the big show. She already knows the devastating nightmares that can happen to a celeb if they stay quiet. People stop giving a shit. So she needs to get in or essentially retire. Maybe she’ll take the latter path, but my gut says she loves the big time, and would rather swing and miss than not go up to the plate at all. If she doesn’t, she faces obscurity, which for Sarah Palin is probably a fate far worse than defeat in a Presidential election, which she’d no doubt suggest was just a ‘little fun to pass the time between memoirs’. That “fire in the belly” comment she made was pitch-perfect. I ain’t in. I ain’t out. But if I go for it, I go all out.

With Huckabee hanging them up, Palin has an opening in Iowa as a late-comer who fires up the State Fair. She can work the social conservatives, and play debt-diva on the side if the need calls for it. She’s 99% history in New Hampshire, but if she can put in a decent showing she wins anyhoo. The key for SP (and everyone else) is South Carolina. Even if she runs second in Iowa, she can stay very competitive going into Super Tuesday with a win in SC, where the more shameless and outrageous you are the better. Down there she also has a big ally. The SC Governor Nikki Haley owes Sarah her career. Maybe it’s payback time. State GOP footsoldiers might give Sadie the edge.

Palin’s dirty laundry is just about all public knowledge, so the nasty, campaign-ending discovery factor is low. Her name recognition is a non-issue too. She can hit the ground running, and she’s hired Mike Glassner as an early campaign manager, a guy who worked for Bob Dole for decades and knows a little about being, well, reasonable, which is worrying. That hire tells me she ain’t as dumb as she looks. She knows what she has to do. Play up to know-nothings in the primaries, then turn on a dime, and appear reasonable and moderate and inclusive for the General. People will laugh at me for saying this, but I genuinely believe that with the right svengali, she can do it. And as for whether the people will buy it, I only have this to say. If they buy Trump’s threadbare doormat of a hairdo, they’ll buy Sarah being a compassionate conservative.

Of course there’s still Barack to face in the big show if she makes it that far. But there hangs the problem. She’d play the girlish victim to a tee, lash out with sharp red nails when she can, and disarm the gentlemanly President with her oddly compelling charm. And if she learned to spout ‘moderation’ and mean it (which nobody but me thinks she could) people would soon forget that she’s a nutjob with a gun and a witchcraft problem. In short, the poor, dignified prez would always be on eggshells. She could really cramp his style, and mess up his latest Madison Avenue Masterplan. He might even – you know – make a mistake for the first time ever, which would be huge. And there’s this. When Barack was running against McCain it was legit to not even mention her name. But if she was the candidate, that stuff ain’t gonna fly no more. Finally, Obama would have to steer clear of the insidious racism inherent in the confrontation. How dare a black guy beat up on the little white gal? It’s total BS, but if he got medieval on her for one moment. Ouch.

Finally, Palin thrives on being hated. She eats it up. And it’s a great quality in a politician, which actually gives her a great deal of wiggle room with the GOP establishment. Unlike Newt, who buckled under to their insanity the first time he talked sense on the Ryan plan, Palin couldn’t give a rat’s ass what the grandees think. And history is on her side too. The GOP establishment hated McCain and he ran roughshod over them to win. They truly hate Palin too, and maybe, just maybe she has it in her to take them on.

Is she up for the fight?

Thereisnoplan says she’ll go for it.

Written by coolrebel

May 23, 2011 at 12:58 pm

The Tea Party and History: The Mythmakers Go to Work.

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One of my favorite stories about American history is about the original Tea Party, in 1773. It goes like this. The British wanted to find a way to boost the sagging fortunes of the East India Company. The brain trust in the Colonial Office in London came up with a genius idea. Dump cheap Indian tea on the American colonies at a great price, to boost the EIC’s bottom line. The way they decided to do it was to reduce the duty the colonies paid on the tea. That pushed the price down just below the price that American smugglers charged for the Dutch East Indies tea they distributed in America.

Pretty sneaky. But it gets more amusing. The smugglers were enraged. After all this was just another classic example of Britain’s wanton use of its prerogative over the Colonies, who wanted “no taxation without representation” (even if the taxes were, umm, lowered). ┬áThe British said they wouldn’t back down and insisted that the tea be shipped. The smugglers took matters into their own hands in Boston Harbor.

Of course, the modern Tea Party are less concerned with Royal prerogative than they are with lower taxes, which are sacrosant. So if they were discussing this in the coffeehouses of Philadelphia and Boston would they have supported the smugglers and their higher prices, or the East India Company and it’s shall we say ‘competitive’ pricing?

Demagogues love history, or at least a simplified, sanitized highly convenient version of it.

The truth about history is never so simple. It’s complicated and full of contradictions, because it’s human just like us.

The Tea Party throws around the Constitution like it’s going out of style (which it should be but won’t). But they don’t even understand that at its core its based on a profound compromise that defined this country until the final blood-letting of the Civil War. They support the document as if it’s set in stone, but conveniently ignore the fact that it was built to be updated, and has been 27 times.

The Tea Party is making a very solid bet that the people won’t actually take the time to scrutinize the history and constitutional law they supposedly hold so dear. And they’re right. People don’t want history, they want myths or partial historical truths that fit into their world-views.

It’s incredibly difficult to combat the impressionistic power of the “Mythmakers”, and it won’t be the first time that American history has been whitewashed and molded for propaganda purposes, but that doesn’t make it any less tragic and debilitating for our public discourse.

Written by coolrebel

January 29, 2011 at 12:02 am

The State of the Union: People Don’t Care About The Details

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Captain Sensible gave a cracking performance out there tonight.

Every crafted word was about as rational and considered as it can be, threading the needle, professionally, professorially, as usual. The GOP and Tea Party responses, by contrast, came from the other side of the sanity spectrum, somewhere between total delusion, and crushing ignorance.

And yet, it’s the GOP in all its lies, puffery and vanity that scored big in the Mid-term elections last November. The Klingon forces of darkness zapped President Spock and his army of sane and sensible Democrats but good. Usually the good guy wins, but the rules were thoroughly shattered last time out.

All the wonks, from top to bottom tell us that the Obama Administration had got it right. The stimulus package put a million-plus to work, health care reform will cut the deficit, and the economy is growing at a good clip. So what gives? Why are people were so ungrateful?

The answer is simple.

The details mean nothing to 90% of the American people. Only those wonks and New Yorker readers and regular tweeters take this State of the Union stuff seriously. Most other people – I’d say 90% – make their superficial judgments about government and policy based on their own experiences, and a few shreds of news and information. They grab onto ‘bites’, they form strong opinions based on little understanding of government, taxation, economics, and policy making, In other words, most people ‘feel’ their political positions, they don’t ‘think’ them.

That 90% is hurting bad. Their jobs are on the line or gone, their houses are under-water, or under threat, their kids are at failing schools, and their middle class lives are being squeezed by outsourcing and crushing debts. Their response? Lash out. I mean the 90% is only human.

Barack Obama was elected in the eye of the harshest economic storm to hit America since the Great Depression. It truly was a historical moment. But instead of going on the offensive with the wind and Congress at his back, he called for calm. He took a studied bi-partisan approach to government and tried to steady the nerves of the 90%. He made deals, on the Stimulus package, on Health Care, on Financial Reform. He made sense at a time when people wanted someone or something to blame.

That opened the door to the bad guys. The GOP, and the FreedomWorks and Koch boys saw their chance to outflank Obama by appealing to the public anger in a way President didn’t have the foresight or stomach to do.

It didn’t matter that the GOP and Tea Party positions were (and are) total nonsense. They sound tough, they’re easy to understand, and they fulfill the need that the 90% have for enemies. And so the enemy instead became the deficit (for some bizarre, totally fatuous reason), and everyone believed that was now the problem. No matter that tax revenues have fallen through the floor. No matter that we’re paying for two wars, no matter that without a stimulus we’d have gone into a wholesale depression. The deficit was and is the new enemy. but it’s a bad guy that serves the anti-government right rather well.

If the public had cared even a jot about the facts, they would have rejected the GOP and Tea Party positions on public spending as the utter piffle they are. But they don’t. The GOP rhetoric ‘felt’ right. It fulfilled a deep, psychological need. The details weren’t important, even the really really big ones.

It didn’t have to be that way. Instead of letting the right lie their way into the hearts of the 90%, Obama could have provided them with real rather than imagined enemies; like Wall Street and the Financial Sector that got us into this mess, got bailed out and is still earning handsomely from our misery, like Un-American American companies that export jobs overseas, and reap the benefits in profits at the expense of the American worker, like China, which steals our technology, takes those jobs, and fixes its currency too. All good enemies that the 90% could ‘feel’ were not on their side. and all enemies that serve a Democratic rather than a Republican agenda.

It was a big fat hanging curve just waiting to be driven out of the park. But Captain Sensible whiffed.

The results are plain as the powder on John Boehner’s nose. A large and fired-up Republican majority in the House, hungry to tackle that deficit with the inchoate support of the 90% who are angry enough to support the idea.

Which left Captain Sensible with a big problem tonight. How to ‘do something’ when you have to cut discretionary spending to satisfy the 90%. So tge Prez talked about innovation and education and R+D and out-competing China all that other stuff at the same time as saying he was going to freeze spending for five years. Uhh? No matter that China Inc, our number one “competitor”, is actually a command economy that can and does pump trillions into its economy on the say so of the Communist Party Central Committee. No need to worry about mixed party seating in the Chinese Parliament, because there’s only one party, so naturally a consensus of opinion is not too hard to reach.

In short, after oh so reasonably backing half-baked so-called landmark legislation that lacked the punch to connect with the 90%, and keeping cool when he should have been pointing the finger at our real enemies, Obama has reasoned himself into a corner, having to innovate and cut all at the same time.

It could have been so different, but instead it was just another State of the Union speech, full of promises, full of inconsistencies, full of the usual bi-partisan BS. In other words another speech that will quickly be forgotten by the 90%.

Meanwhile, the angry GOP just keep on pounding.

Written by coolrebel

January 25, 2011 at 3:39 pm