Thursday, September 04, 2008

Sarah the Moose Hunter



The Democrats approached the Republican convention in their usual way, full of a deceptive self confidence. After all, their party had just concluded a convention that would have made Nero blush. The stadium in which Democrat presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama accepted the nomination of his party dwarfed the ancient Roman coliseum several times over, nor were fireworks available to the Romans at the Circus Maximus.

Democrats have a very attractive presidential candidate in Mr. Obama, who had just put away Sen. Hillary Clinton in a bruising primary. Prior to the ascendancy of Mr. Obama, the Clintons, Hillary and Bill, were the face of the Democrat Party. Most pundits agreed that Mr. Obama had conducted a very shrewd campaign from which he emerged as an agent of change and the Main Stream Media’s Main Man. Leftist bloggers also were solidly in his corner. His oratory sent chills up the quivering leg of longtime political commentator Chris Mathews. News reports were glowing. Mr. Obama graciously complimented Mrs. Clinton after he had stomped her into the ground; Mrs. Clinton graciously accepted the stomping.

It may have been difficult under these circumstances for Democrats not to feel they already had vanquished the Republican opponents around whose necks they had so successfully hung the albatross of an unpopular Republican president whose favorability ratings were only slightly higher than the plummeting favorability ratings of the Democrat controlled congress.

Clearly, after the Democrat convention, happy days were here again. Things were looking up. In the post-Katrina period, a few hurricanes were on their way to re-wreck New Orleans, causing filmographer Michael Moore to beam with pleasure that the anticipated flooding surly meant there was a Democrat God in heaven. Anarchists assaulted a 87 year-old wheelchair bound Connecticut Republican outside the convention.

The day after Governor of Alaska Sandra Palin accepted the Republican nomination for Vice President, US Reps. Rosa DeLauro, John Larson and other true bluers appeared in a major newspaper to denounce Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman for having wandered into enemy territory, the second such story to appear in the paper on the subject of Lieberman’s defection.

That was the general lay of the political land prior to the foreshortened Republican convention.

The Republicans, of course, admired Lieberman’s independent spirit. He had all the right enemies. It was to Lieberman’s credit that he did not wish to see Israel disappear in a mushroom cloud created by that end-of-times mullah puppet, Iranian President Mamoud Amadinijad, who takes orders from Osama bin Ladin’s God.

Leftist bloggers often operate on the assumption that Israel, like Lieberman, is dispensable, and they resent a Jew who defends that besieged democracy. Lieberman is as programmatic a Democrat as is likely to be found anywhere, but his support of Israel is the hump on his back. The man certainly has the courage to put his job where his mouth is.

Americans like courage and independence. So, apparently, does Mrs. Palin. In this sad world, you are what you like; those who like Republicans are Republicans; those who like Democrats are Democrats. The independents may be a bit leery at voting for a charismatic Democrat who has less executive experience than Mrs. Palin. When a Democrat strays into the Republican camp, the hatchets come out. When a Republican – like former Governor and Sen. Lowell Weicker – strays into the Democrat camp and begins to fraternize with the enemy, the plaudits come out. Weicker is a Maverick; Sen. John McCain, who has also fraternized with the enemy, is a goose that needs cooking.

And Palin?

Her teleprompter went kaput on the most important speech of her life. No problem. Someone fetched out of an aide's pocket a rumpled, discarded copy of the speech, which was pressed under a book. And it was that speech, part of which was improvised – “What’s the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? The lipstick – that Mrs. Palin read to a wildly enthusiastic convention.

Everybody has seriously underestimated this woman. That too is nothing new under the sun. People have been underestimating women ever since Eve bit the apple.

15 comments:

Hod said...

"Leftist bloggers often operate on the assumption that Israel, like Lieberman, is dispensable, and they resent a Jew who defends that besieged democracy."

That's bull. Sarcasm is one thing. Stretching the truth like a day-old piece of gum just to feel a frisson of superiority is really the work of a cad. Cut it out.

Don Pesci said...

Hod,

"That's bull." No, this is bull.

Chris MC said...

Don -

I can tell you definitively that the site you are linking to represents the very strongly held views of a single individual. Her concerns are not leftist per se.

Don Pesci said...

It's the best hate America, hate Israel blog on the planet, and probably not too representative in these parts. Some people resent Joe because he's a defective Democrat and departs from the Democrat line in matters of peace and war. But at some point the Jew connection is made in the commentary sections of a few liberal blogs. Gotta watch that anti-Semitism; it creeps up on you.

Chris MC said...

This one starts with the concern about the plight of the palestinians, and everything gets filtered through that lens, and it goes down hill from there. It's not meaningfully connected to anything else in any other way, really.

Don Pesci said...

All sadly true. The attack on Lieberman from extremist quarters will be… well, extreme. Many of her blogs are lifted wholesale from anti-semetic quarters such as al Jazera. But these sorts of things tend to filter down (or up?) into more responsible publications. As a student of things journalistic, I’m interested in the filtering process. And on my own blog I’ve commented on that process from time to time. This vetting of ideas, most of them half baked, can be seen most plainly in the attacks on the presidential candidates. The similarity between the attacks on Obama’s putative Islamic background (very shallow) and Palin’s Pentacostal background – she was raised a Roman Catholic, joined a pentacostal church and left it six years ago for a generic, and inoffensive, protestant church – is striking. It is possible to defend them both, at the same time, from these politically motivated and vicious attacks on their faith. Why is it not done? Why does it never happen that the whole journalistic enterprise in Connecticut – like Rhode Island, a refuge for those persecuted on religious grounds – should rise up and, with one voice, condemn this religious bigotry on the part of smarmy practical atheists who are writing for newspapers and other publications? I do not think that this is an impertinent question. I’ve asked it many times.

Chris MC said...

"But these sorts of things tend to filter down (or up?) into more responsible publications. As a student of things journalistic, I’m interested in the filtering process."

I hear you, but I'll believe it in this case when you can show it to me. I won't say more than that...

"The similarity between the attacks on Obama’s putative Islamic background (very shallow) and Palin’s Pentacostal background – she was raised a Roman Catholic, joined a pentacostal church and left it six years ago for a generic, and inoffensive, protestant church – is striking."

I honestly think that there is a difference. In Obama's case, the allegations are a pure and calculated smear. There was never any basis for them, and even if there had been, the supposed affiliation would have been chosen for him by adults for a brief period in his childhood. In Obama's case the media and his opponents (both parties) have been vetting him for two years.

In Palin's case, she herself chose to join a congregation that espouses in literal terms a belief that the end is near. I know people who hold these beliefs, and I don't have a problem with them. But it is a different story if someone believes such things and is potentially in a position to actually bring them about; believing that God speaks directly to them. If you sincerely believe that Armageddon will bring the Second Coming of Christ, you might be capable of embracing it.

But more practically, she is a new addition to the national mix, and she's running for Vice President - she hasn't been vetted yet. More specifically, if she is getting support from these elements of the religious right based on these beliefs, whether she (still) holds them or not, that is a legitimate topic for journalism.

"Why does it never happen that the whole journalistic enterprise in Connecticut ... should rise up and, with one voice, condemn this religious bigotry on the part of smarmy practical atheists..."

Well, wouldn't that be hypocritical of them? In effect, they would be advocating censoring of speech.

Isn't there some quote from one of our forefathers about defending the stuff that is really offensive being the real task if we are to protect our freedom?

Don Pesci said...

I appreciate your comments, which are very well reasoned.

The easy stuff first: “Isn't there some quote from one of our forefathers about defending the stuff that is really offensive being the real task if we are to protect our freedom?”

Not sure, but if there isn’t, there should be. Politicians do have a way of channeling important issues (say, the collapse of the home mortgage industry) into areas that are distracting (does Obama wear boxers or briefs?) I exaggerate, of course.

“Well, wouldn't that be hypocritical of them? In effect, they would be advocating censoring of speech.”

Not sure that hypocrisy is sin numero uno. Neither was the guy who said that hypocrisy is the compliment vice pays to virtue, which means this: The hypocrite believes in virtue but does not practice it (the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak). Let’s say the virtue is truth telling. Who would you place lower in Dante’s circles of Hell, the hypocrite or the pathological liar who really does think truth telling is for saps?

To decry the viciousness of what Jaques Maritain calls “the practical atheists” (not the same thing as principled atheism) is not to engage in censorship; it is to practice free speech. We are interested in saying the truth and avoiding hypocrisy, aren’t we?

“In Palin's case, she herself chose to join a congregation that espouses in literal terms a belief that the end is near. I know people who hold these beliefs, and I don't have a problem with them. But it is a different story if someone believes such things and is potentially in a position to actually bring them about; believing that God speaks directly to them. If you sincerely believe that Armageddon will bring the Second Coming of Christ, you might be capable of embracing it.”

Amadinijad is one of them, and the Pentacostalists don’t have nuclear tipped weapons – only free speech.

It is true that Palin chose as an adult to join a Pentecostalist church; it is also true that the same adult left the church, which Obama, after twenty years of Wright's harangues did not do, until he was forced to do it by (my guess) practical atheists who put the pressure on. What does this mean?

Chris MC said...

I said:
“Well, wouldn't that be hypocritical of them? In effect, they would be advocating censoring of speech.”

Don Pesci said:
Not sure that hypocrisy is sin numero uno. Neither was the guy who said that hypocrisy is the compliment vice pays to virtue, which means this: The hypocrite believes in virtue but does not practice it (the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak). Let’s say the virtue is truth telling. Who would you place lower in Dante’s circles of Hell, the hypocrite or the pathological liar who really does think truth telling is for saps?
That is truly ethical hair splitting, and you've got a rhetorical straw man or two in there as well. You're still entitled to your preference, but what is it worth if you can't get the rest of the rabble to conform? Another bromide is brought to mind here as well - the road to hell is paved with good intentions. And where is your truth if hypocrisy is acceptable?

To decry the viciousness of what Jaques Maritain calls “the practical atheists” (not the same thing as principled atheism) is not to engage in censorship; it is to practice free speech.
I can probably agree, but that isn't what you were saying.

I said:
If you sincerely believe that Armageddon will bring the Second Coming of Christ, you might be capable of embracing it.”

Don Pesci said:
Amadinijad is one of them, and the Pentacostalists don’t have nuclear tipped weapons – only free speech.

So you agree that they share a very similar world view, albeit differing on the particulars of which side Allah is on. My point then is that, while we do not have electoral means of keeping the Iranian end-of-times'er away from the Persian bomb, we can keep the American end-of-times'er away from ours.

It is true that Palin chose as an adult to join a Pentecostalist church; it is also true that the same adult left the church, which Obama, after twenty years of Wright's harangues did not do, until he was forced to do it by (my guess) practical atheists who put the pressure on. What does this mean?
It may mean a number of things. One of the things I think it means is that she either:
A) Is not fully matured in her faith journey (distinct from complete, which one never is), or
B) Has subjugated her practice and public expression of her true beliefs to the realities of her chosen field of endeavor - politics. Neither is a particularly attractive alternative. But while I am responding to your question, that is not my point.

My point is that there is an identified bloc of voters, which was key to delivering at least one Presidential election (2004), which goes to the polls on the basis of - to use the Rovian adjective - values. Palin's principal value to McCain is the motivation of this bloc, and that makes close examination of her beliefs and her relationship to this community fair game.

Obama, in contrast, has renounced the statements of the Rev. Wright, and distanced himself from the incendiary and divisive rhetoric that Wright continued to propound even after Obama disavowed them. He has done so in undeniable terms.

If Palin in fact now eschews the beliefs in question, let her say so in terms as clear and unequivocal as Obama has.

If she does not, I feel, and the vast majority of the electorate would feel (I assert), that she is not fit for the office for which she is nominated or might ascend to if elected.

Don Pesci said...

“That is truly ethical hair splitting, and you've got a rhetorical straw man or two in there as well.”

Not sure what you mean by a straw man, but there may be a misunderstanding here. I am NOT saying that the hypocrite is inoffensive. Jesus, for what it’s worth, calls the hypocrites “whitened sepulchers” and “the tombs of the prophets.” I agree with him. I am simply saying that the hypocrite is redeemable; he is the man who does not practice what he preaches. But this is corrected when he does practice what he preaches. It’s not so easy for the pathological liar for whom lying is not viewed as a sin. That’s all. Sometimes journalists act as if there were but one offense to which one should take offense – only hypocrisy. I don’t know that any of this applies to Palin or Obama. It may, but that was not the general point I was making.

"So you agree that they share a very similar world view, albeit differing on the particulars of which side Allah is on. My point then is that, while we do not have electoral means of keeping the Iranian end-of-times'er away from the Persian bomb, we can keep the American end-of-times'er away from ours."

No, they do not share a similar “world view” except on the point of the second coming, and even here there are important differences. Allah, in the mind of the Salafist, is not Jesus in the mind of the Christian. And Christianity, in other points, is very different than Islam. To take but one example. Mary, the mother of God, in the Christian faith is respected in Islam, but no one in Islam would consider her the mother of God because in Islam Jesus is a prophet, not God. But that is too large a subject for us. I think it is important that Amadinijad is who he is, believes what he believes, and has, or soon will have within his grasp, the means to bring about what he considers the “endtimes.” The chief difference between him and the Pentacostalists is one of means and not, no pun intended, ends. The Italian facists used to ask sneeringly "How many divisions does the Pope have?" I would argue that Pentacostalists have no divisions and no nuclear tipped missles.

“It may mean a number of things. One of the things I think it means is that she either:
A) Is not fully matured in her faith journey (distinct from complete, which one never is), or
B) Has subjugated her practice and public expression of her true beliefs to the realities of her chosen field of endeavor - politics. Neither is a particularly attractive alternative. But while I am responding to your question, that is not my point.”

I would be inclined to be a bit more charitable to both Obama and Palin. I understand you are speculating here. My point is that whatever is true of one MAY BE true of the other in this regard. Speculation must cut both ways in similar circumstances. Is it not possible to speculate of Obama as well that he has not matured in his faith journey and that his true beliefs may be tied to the realities of politics? In fact, Wright said something of this kind about Obama: “He is a politician FIRST.”

I’m sure I’m in the minority, but I am hesitant to draw political conclusions from people’s faiths – with one notable exception: Islam is a political faith as well as a spiritual faith. It is a faith that holds that everything belongs to Allah, including what belongs to Cesar.

"If Palin in fact now eschews the beliefs in question, let her say so in terms as clear and unequivocal as Obama has.

If she does not, I feel, and the vast majority of the electorate would feel (I assert), that she is not fit for the office for which she is nominated or might ascend to if elected."

You’ll probably have to wait for the biography. But possibly if she is pressed hard enough, she may recant. Something in human nature does not love recantation, eh?

Chris MC said...

Don Pesci said:
No, they do not share a similar “world view” except on the point of the second coming, ....I think it is important that Amadinijad is who he is, believes what he believes, and has, or soon will have within his grasp, the means to bring about what he considers the “endtimes.” The chief difference between him and the Pentacostalists is one of means and not, no pun intended, ends. ... I would argue that Pentacostalists have no divisions and no nuclear tipped missles.
You've evidently missed the point of my comment. If Palin does in fact believe in the end of times, and she were in the Presidents chair, she would have the divisions and the nuclear tipped missles. None of the other particulars you are contrasting between the two beliefs is pertinent. They share an identical world view - THAT IT IS COMING TO AN END, AND THEY CAN'T WAIT. To the extent that she believes such things, she is disqualified from the VP/Presidential office.

Don Pesci said:
Is it not possible to speculate of Obama as well that he has not matured in his faith journey and that his true beliefs may be tied to the realities of politics?
In a word, no. The last of my comment already addressed the argument you are advancing here: "If Palin in fact now eschews the beliefs in question, let her say so in terms as clear and unequivocal as Obama has. Obama has renounced Wright and his beliefs. If Palin is as clear as he, she can say so. Any time now.

Don Pesci said:
Islam is a political faith as well as a spiritual faith. It is a faith that holds that everything belongs to Allah, including what belongs to Cesar.
I respectfully suggest you do not understand the Christian right. I do. Some of my friends belong to these congregations. They believe precisely this.

Don Pesci said...

"You've evidently missed the point of my comment."

You are right. I did indeed misunderstand. I'm pretty sure the constitution itself forbids exclusion on such grounds: No religious tests for office. Such Strangelovian prospects are a little too fanciful for me to entertain. But I suppose anything is possible.

... including the presence of Sharia law in the Christian belief system. I just don't see it there though. But, as I say' hypothetically anything is possible. In a hypothetical universe, pigs could fly and the moon could be made of green cheese. In the real world. Mohammed made no distinction between the things of Cesar and the things of God, which is why Islam, in addition to being a faith, always has been a political praxis. Christianity, not so much any more.

The attack on Palin for her religious beliefs, whatever they may be, strikes me as somewhat hysterical. I feel the same about the attack on Obama on religious grounds. Obama and Wright are not the same thing, and in any case it was Wright's political ideas that struck some as being overwrought. Most Christians do believe in a second coming of Christ, a belief that surely is no more strange than a belief in the incarnation. I usually point my endtime friends to that portion of scripture i which Christ addresses the question: Of that hour man knoweth not.

Amadinijad? He knoweth. And he's got missles.

Chris MC said...

Don Pesci said:
I'm pretty sure the constitution itself forbids exclusion on such grounds: No religious tests for office.
Don't try to retreat into a fanciful argument over the proper interpretation of establishment of religion in the constitution. What I am saying has nothing to do with that.

The attack on Palin for her religious beliefs, whatever they may be, strikes me as somewhat hysterical. I feel the same about the attack on Obama on religious grounds.
A false equivalency, as I've pointed out in the thread above.

Further, I am not attacking her on her religious beliefs. I am saying that IF she believes certain things, I and a lot of other people will consider her unfit for the office she seeks. Just as David Duke was unfit for (any) office for his beliefs - whether you characterize them as essentially religious or not.

...I usually point my end-time friends to that portion of scripture i which Christ addresses the question: Of that hour man knoweth not.
Yet they remain unpersuaded. As long as they don't make foreign policy, command the US military, or have their finger on the button, that's not a problem. But, this isn't about you and me. It's about what is best for us as a country and the world we as a people lead.

Amadinijad? He knoweth. And he's got missles.
A false choice, and a poor strategy. Implying that Obama is a McGovernite or a Carterite is disingenuous. Justifying bellicose foreign policy and ignoring the dangerous belief it is predicated upon, religious or otherwise, is a proven failure. George W. Bush is its personification.

If you believe dangerous stuff, irrespective of your purported source material or which convention you use to justify your belief, you are subject to the judgment of the people at the polls.

Don Pesci said...

I sense the commentary is about to tumble off some distant and unapproachable cliff. As a courtesy, I leave you with the last word.

Anonymous said...

thank you don fish fish. I lost interest after the first 3 idiotic paragraphs... did you ever get to the point of Palin being a joke of a nomination?