We all created Sarah Palin

sarahpalin1210

In August, 2008, John McCain was looking for a quick fix to turn his campaign around. He saw Barack Obama was black, Hilary Clinton was a woman and a woman almost beat the black man to the brass ring. But, in his assessment, Hilary was too much of a man to be a woman candidate, which is why she lost.

“If I can install a woman that was a woman, then I can scoop up the female vote, get the conservative males to vote for her… I mean me, and whoosh, right into the White House.”

The plan didn’t work for a lot of reasons, but not because that reasoning was flawed. It was the objective, superficial observation of a reality that is fast becoming what America is. John McCain hit it dead on, only he was probably four years too early.

Smart and thoughtful is out; quick and single-focused is in. Newspapers with their page after page of boring news are out; Twitter with its fast-paced, unconfirmed news bytes is in. And when you need sales, dip into quick, cheap stereotypes to sell stuff, like JC Penney and their Beware of the Dog House Web site. Because it looks like gender stereotypes are back on their way in again.

There’s a reason Mad Men is so popular. We’re seeing an increase of hot, young “conservative” women who espouse traditional-gender value roles, a large pool of emasculated momma’s boys who fantasize about living the playboy life of Don Draper and an even larger pool of older white Americans who see their country’s history rapidly fading away. The election of a black president was all the proof they needed to see a country driving itself over a cliff.

And along comes a plain-speakin’ women who looks hot in red, has five kids, a powerful job but doesn’t think or read too deeply. She’s just the right mix of hot and stupid for men to swoon and the right mix of mom and powerful executive for women to admire.

She engages us by using Facebook and Twitter (even though she slammed bloggers a mere year ago), she “wrote” a book and gets her op-eds published in the Washington Post.

Sarah Palin may be what Americans want in 2012; a quick, easy fix for what ails us. Not too strong, not too deep, nothing that makes us think a whole lot or work too hard. With that, I have every confidence Sarah Palin will deliver.

Palin 2012. When stuff just gets too complicated.

Never confuse ‘clear thought’ with crap

Last Saturday, Mark Lilla, a professor of humanities at Columbia University, wrote an article in the WSJ titled The Perils of ‘Populist Chic’, What the rise of Sarah Palin and populism means for the conservative intellectual tradition. It was well-thought out and objectively argued. In short, it explains why presidential candidates need to go bowling and drinking beer, why smart girls get teased in math class and why nobody like a know-it-all. Kinda.

Anyway, I tell you this so that you are intriqued enough to read the article and draw your own conclusions, but also to introduce Mr. Peter Noel Murray, Ph.D who wrote a letter to the editor, saying, among other things:

Prof. Lilla proves that highly educated minds can be small and prejudiced when he describes Gov. Sarah Palin as “ignorant” and “provincial.” What this Columbia professor really means is that she isn’t Ivy League educated and isn’t from New York City.

Well, I’m just a mutt that grew up in the Frogtown area of St. Paul and graduated with a BA in English from the public university, the University of Minnesota and even I think Sarah Palin is ignorant and provincial. Moreover, I think she is rather stupid in that she does not show a capacity to learn as evidenced by her more recent interviews (still reading the keywords off the notecards!) Furthermore, she exhibits distain for others around her and appears incapable of empathy. 

But mostly, she is stupid. No, really she is.

The president should be really smart, almost geeky smart. The fact that we have a smart president-elect who is also a great orator and empath is a giant plus. Let’s stop “mocking him” through sneers, jokes and sarcastic asides. After all, he did what Sarah Palin and John McCain could not.

Posted by email from rufus’s posterous

No party for old men

It is sad what the Democrats are doing to Joe Lieberman. The only “sin” Sen. Lieberman committed was having opinions that did not quite align themselves with the new leadership. 

I looked up the Senator Oath of Office. It reads:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.

There is no mention of party loyalty, no mention of suspending personal beliefs and opinions when taking the oath, no mention of “with us or against us.”  To paraphrase from several Obama speeches, there is no Democratic Senate or Republican Senate, there is the Senate of the United States of America.

I want my senators to think for themselves. I want my senators to take risks. I want my senators to have the freedom to have liberal opinions on social reform, but conservative views on national defense. I want a healthy, authentic discussion of ideas in the US Senate. That was the mandate we gave Barack Obama, not a mandate to further divide the country with the “victor” handing out spoils of war. 

Joe Lieberman knew the risks he was taking, but I think at some level — perhaps naively, perhaps with more hope than was pragmatic — that this election cycle held two candidates, each had the ability, political capital and personal stones to rise above partisan government and lead a country. That he chose to back John McCain who eventually did not prevail is incidental to the academic argument.

President-elect Obama needs to show strong leadership with Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. He need to put a face of cooperation, but firm leadership, on the “New Democratic Party.” All three are at a crossroads at this very moment, with Joe Lieberman being the turtle in the road.

If you have not yet read The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, read it now. Focus on the turtle. The question remains; will the Democratic Party be the truck driver that swerves to try to hit the turtle for sport or Tom Joad who shelters the turtle in his jacket. (Spoiler: the turtle prevails, despite setbacks…)

These are the tests that determine the character of a man. I hope Obama passes.

Posted by email from rufus’s posterous

Brought to you by some upstanding, God-fearing Christians

Put up before Halloween and remains in the front of the house.
Put up before Halloween and remains in the front of the house.
The family down the street flies the flag every day, even puts a light on it at night and takes it in during the rain. At Christmas time, they decorate their house with a large Nativity star, a manger set and a large sign that reads “Jesus is the Reason for the Season.”

It makes me sad that they chose to put up a ghost in a sheet, with a large sign that reads “BOObama” to show their displeasure with Barack Obama. While their intent might have been merely to illustrate the “scariness” of Mr. Obama’s political policies, the ghost is just a tad more than racist. I will think better of them and choose to believe that they might just be merely ignorant of this nations’ cultural history.

Showing support for your candidate is always ok. Tearing down the other candidate just doesn’t seem like the Christian thing to do.

105 feet… so close, yet…

The letter of the law, but not the spirit.
The letter of the law, but not the spirit.

This was outside my polling place in Ohio. Notice that the McCain/Palin sign is as close as the law allows. Clearly, the letter of the law is being invoked, but not the spirit. I’m pretty certain that an over-eager supporter put this there, but this really is not helping put your candidate in the best light.

Joe Mamma?

First, just watch the video. All the way to the end.

I know Alaska is part of these United States, but how ignorant of racism is Sarah Palin? It is almost as surreal to watch as John McCain singing “bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran” to a Beach Boys tune! Before she can lead America, she needs to understand that Real America is made up of many different cultures. And what works as a long-standing line to a “knock-knock type” joke by African Americans is used as a slam by whites to demonstrate how ignorant and inarticulate Blacks are.

For those of us who perhaps did not grow up in the ’60s-’70s when Black culture was taking hold, the joke goes something like this:

“Hey man, Joe was looking for you.”
“Joe who?”
“Joe mama!”

Or alternatively,
Hey man, I was getting it on with Joe last night”
“Yeah? Joe who?”
“Joe mama!”

The sign was not cute, adorable or in any way clever. It was racist. By not really knowing that, Sarah Palin has once again demonstrated her inability to learn and lead.

A conundrum of massive proportion

My paper shredder just crapped out on me. In this economy, I can’t afford to buy a new one. But, in this economy, I can’t afford to have my identity stolen either.

Barack and John, these are the kinds of things that we “Joe the Dog” living on “Main Street” have to worry about. And while we are talking paper shredding, please quit mailing me stuff. I got the Internet, I know what your positions are on issues. I got it, I got it.

But, if you could swing a paper shredder, send it on over. You already know my address and since I live in Ohio, a paper shredder for me means a vote for you!