Wednesday, 8 December 2010

An overlooked, important commentary by John Yarmuth about Sarah Palin and her fellow demagogues - Plus: More voices of sanity

The "Mama Grizzly" currently enjoys broad coverage of her various endeavours, for example her attempts to present herself as an expert hunter. In the constant flood of posts and articles about Sarah Palin, some nuggets don't receive the attention they deserve - as it happened yesterday.

Kentucky may be 20 years behind (OLD joke, I know), but it's citizens surely should be happy to have Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth! Yesterday on Huffington Post, he published a commentary which is in my opinion one of the best pieces which have been written about Sarah Palin for a long time. However, it received only 58 comments on Huffington Post!

Rep. John Yarmuth

Well, thank goodness that we have our own blog! ;-)

It appears that the victimization instinct is hereditary. When Bristol Palin used her recent national television presence to verbally flip the bird to all her mother's "attackers," she was not only playing the skilled student of her mother's teaching, she was advancing a strategy that has undermined our ability as a society to have serious discussions about truly daunting and complicated national challenges.

Both before and certainly since the midterm elections, Democrats have been wringing their hands over our apparent inability to get "our message" right. I have firsthand experience with the problem. In the spring of 2009, Nancy Pelosi asked me to coordinate our message on health care reform. I was flattered, but after a short time I realized that she was assigning me to mission impossible. Naïve about the futility I was about to find, I dutifully tried to put out some simple guidelines about themes we House Democrats should employ as we developed what at that point was an unformed proposal.

I said we should talk about the need for reform and the cost of doing nothing, and then the benefits of reform for the people who already had coverage. I figured everyone in our caucus could use those themes, because they did not commit anyone to any specific plan.

Needless to say, virtually no one delivered the message. Many members were already freaked out by the public reaction to other major legislative initiatives we had pursued. And since we were internally divided over concepts like the "public option" that dominated media discussion, the "message" got away from us early on, never to be recaptured.

I know I am burying the lead, but I experienced an epiphany after only a few months, and it relates to the Palins. As I subsequently told a meeting of our caucus, the problem was not our message; the problem was that no one believed us. In short, it doesn't matter what your message is if people won't listen to (don't believe) you.

The American people don't believe politicians. They don't believe business leaders, or Hollywood celebrities, or athletes or other supposed role models. And they certainly don't believe the news media. We have a dangerous dearth of credibility in the United States these days, and when no one has the confidence of a majority of Americans, there is fertile ground for con artists and demagogues.

Sarah Palin understands this. Every time she refers to the "lamestream media" -- which is virtually every time she speaks publicly -- she is engaged in the only tactic that gives her credibility with any audience: she lowers the bar for her ideas (or more accurately, for her rhetoric). Rush Limbaugh understands it as well. If you destroy the credibility of those people or institutions that could undermine your own, you create an opportunity for your voice, however irresponsible or misleading it may be, to gain traction.

And not incidentally, in today's American society, even a small plurality audience can be a ticket to fame and fortune.

The "lamestream media" strategy would be laughable if it weren't so effective. Just what media are Sarah Palin and others talking about? Is she talking about NBC, ABC and CBS, but not FOX? All are owned by large corporations whose interests are not aligned with Palin's political opponents. Is she talking about the New York Times and the Washington Post, or even the Wall Street Journal, which is owned by her FOX News boss? Of course it doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is that people who are attracted to Palin and Limbaugh understand that any media disagreeing with them are lame.

When your voice contradicts reality and truth, the only way to create space for it is to discredit reality and truth. Palin, Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and others have made an art form of convincing far too many Americans to suspend their disbelief, and they have severely damaged the ability of our country to have serious discussions about serious challenges.

And now, arguably the most serious challenge facing our country is figuring out how to have those discussions.

This commentary is simply brilliant, and I would like to thank Rep. John Yarmuth for speaking up. He really sees right through Sarah Palin and her fellow demagogues. He expresses extremely well why America lives in dangerous times: It's for example increasingly difficult to present "sane and rational" ideas, as substantial parts of the media and possibly also the public seem to be driven by a rather unhealthy fascination with demagogues, who often seem to dominate the discussion. I call it "unhealthy" especially because in many instances there is no clear distinction visible between "politician" and "demagogue." It seems for example that Sarah Palin (and her family...) is now an established part of the American mainstream - and although it sounds painful, it also seems that she is "here to stay." This, however, might change, as 2011 surely will being a number of very unpleasant surprises for the grifter from Alaska. The groundwork has been laid this year, by a number of people - and next year, the decisive battles will be fought.


Another voice of sanity who was not afraid to speak up recently was Margaret Cho. This is her on Joy Behar's show:

Margaret Cho - tweet 1

Margaret Cho - tweet 2

Margaret Cho - tweet 3

Margaret Cho - tweet 4

I think Tina Dupuy can add a new name to the "enemy list" soon! ;-)


It has already been mentioned in the comments of our last post that Craig Medred wrote an excellent commentary in the Alaska Dispatch called "Palin's big game hunt not reality for most Alaskans", refudiating "Sarah Palin's reality."


Watching Palin with a firearm is like watching someone who barely learned to ride a bike 20 years ago get back on a bike today. Suffice to say, for the purposes of this analogy, Palin is no Lance Armstrong.

Back when her ex-brother-in-law Mike Wooten was in trouble for illegally using a hunting permit in the name of Palin's sister, Molly, to shoot a moose, numerous sources close to the family said there was a simple reason Wooten shot Molly's moose for her: The Palin women don't hunt.

Watching Sarah handle firearms, this is easy to believe, but give her credit for getting out there and trying to burnish her Second Amendment credentials. She's talked the talk and having done that, she's womanned up to walk the walk.

Alaskans should commend her for that no matter how envious they might be of her rich-folk hunting style.

Suffice to say, that $42,400 figure for travel for Palin, her father and a friend to go hunting -- plus the entourage she dragged around Alaska with her to film "Sarah Palin's Alaska" -- is probably much less than it cost to conduct the hunt she described as lasting "a couple of days,'' which is a long time to spend in a tent if you're not used to it.

Sarah, who thinks charter aircraft costing $350-per hour and up are like taxicabs in Alaska, obviously prefers to do her hunting Midwest style instead of Alaska-expedition style, which requires days just to get the gear organized. Better to hop in airplane, meet up with an outfitter who has everything set up, hike out onto the tundra, pop a caribou and go home.

Substitute a pickup for an airplane; a comfortable tree stand for the outfitter; and this is pretty much how you hunt whitetail deer in Minnesota and Michigan. Shooting deer in those states can be a cost-effective way to put meat on the table. It's not cost effective in Alaska. Palin's caribou was estimated to cost more than $140 per pound, but that figure is surely low, given that it calculated only the costs of lodging and transportation and assumed she got 300 pounds of meat off the little caribou cow she shot.

No way. After gutting, skiing and butchering, the meat on that animal would be closer to 200 pounds, if that, than 300 pounds, which raises the cost of a few caribou steaks, some caribou roasts, and a lot of hamburger to more than $200 per pound -- if the Palins flew all the meat back to Wasilla.

So it can only be a matter of time until Sarah Palin starts feuding with the Alaska Dispatch as well. Sarah Palin's reality is different, and has always been. She has done things that no "normal" person would do, and then had no hesitation to cover them up and to claim the "opposite" of what actually happened, and exploited her version of events for personal gain.

My opinion is that Sarah Palin is a hurt and disappointed woman. Her big love, Curtis Menard Jr., ultimately rejected her. I don't believe that Palin ever "recovered" from this experience. In order to overcome this great disappointment, something "clicked" in her head which forced her to create an image of herself and her family which has only very little to do with the truth. Future generations of psychologists will have a field day with Sarah Palin, because there is just no way that her secrets will be hidden from the public forever. Today, these secrets apparently seem "too big to believe" for the general public. But this will change, although I have great doubts that Sarah Palin herself will ever be able to escape from "her version of reality."


Our Palingates Moneyblast still is a huge success, and you have no idea how thankful we are!

The current total is $ 5655,56 (funny number), with an additional $ 700 pledged!

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So that means that after the "challenge" of our reader and fellow blogger Ennealogic, $ 1597,06 was donated on Tuesday, plus an additional $ 700 pledged!

Just right now, Ennealogic also donated the $ 500 which she had announced!

We are incredibly grateful to Ennealogic and all our other readers for this overwhelming support, which is essential for us.

The Palingates Moneyblast will end today at midnight! :-)

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