Oct 5, 2010

"A jaw-droppingly incompetent, mean woman"

"The Democrats have moved to the center, but the Republicans have moved into a mental institution. I'll take the Democrats." — Aaron Sorkon on CNN's Parker Spitzer Show

Sorkin also called Sarah Palin "an idiot, come on.... a remarkably, stunningly, jaw-droppingly incompetent, mean woman," at which point he was challenged by Kathleen Parker. "What is your evidence for that?" A difficult question, to be sure. We form our impressions of people pointillistically, over a period of time, from many sources. Unsurprisingly, he flunked it, instead rounding on the one statement of hers — about "real America" — he he found most obnoxious. A shame, not because it isn't obnoxious but because there is plenty of evidence of her meanness: the grudge matches, the vendettas, the scorched earth policy with regard to almost all of her old colleagues. Apart from her ignorance, it's the most worrying thing about her: the absence of long-term working relationships that haven't ended in mutually assured destruction — everywhere she looks, brunt bridges, the charred remnants of former alliances — although as I keep reassuring my wife, it's more worrying for Palin than it is for us. It suggests basic incompetence as a politician, not a person, although I do also think it would be pretty unpleasant to have personal dealings with her.


  1. After Palin's GOP convention debut, which impressed a lot of people, including me, I joined in an online discussion about her as a rising star. A friend who's a former Washington lobbyist said bluntly, "Y'all are passing the bong around here. This woman is insane." I said, "sure, her POLICIES..." and my friend said "Not her policies. HER." I said, well, back it up, and my friend would not, beyond, "You'll see. Crazy-cray. Nucking futz."

    It was less than a month before my apology hit my friend's inbox. Response: "Told you. I work in this town. I don't call just anybody crazy."

    But as for Palin's limitless ability to make enemies being some sort of liability, doesn't the name "Richard Nixon" give you pause? It does me.

  2. Hmm. It should give me pause, although Nixon had his eye on the white house decades before to got there — plenty of time to hone and refine his strategy. I get the impression with Palin that she only thought about the presidency seriously after she was thrown into the spotlight by McCain. So not even her ambition feels like the real thing — it's just opportunism and balls, bounced around on a second-by-second basis in accordance with whatever crazy shit Fox news allow to say this week. I don't detect the ability to conceive and carry out long-term strategic goals. Something in my gut tells me that woman will never be president. The fabric of space-time will rip, and elephants cartwheel on the moon, before that happens. Her nomination, even as just vice-president, is to be fervently wished-for.

  3. I used to be a sort of optimist, based on the salutary experience of growing up liberal in Alabama. Beleaguered is my middle name. "Nothing lasts forever in politics," my father would say, "not even George Wallace." (Judges, he would add, were another matter.) But 2004 done broke my heart and now 2010 is about to stomp on the fragments. And lately the electorate seems to be completely in thrall to Nixonian grudge-mongering. If Puritanism is the haunting fear that someone, somewhere is having a good time, then Tea Party politics is based on the haunting fear that some unworthy someone somewhere is getting something, and you're not.

    All this is to say, I want to believe you, and in a better frame of mind I might. But it could happen. President Palin, in the White House, lock, stock and Naughty Monkey pumps. I remember my mother in the late 70s, looking at Reagan on television and muttering, "No way that man is going to be President..."