Saturday, March 19, 2011

Foreign Polimicy! (Today's Helping of Word Salad)

So, He®self was in India to collect the benjamins,* and since they don't have a Lamestream Media there,** she deigned to answer a few questions from "India Today Editor-in-Chief and Session Chairman Aroon Purie."

Purie asks her what she would do with India in regards to Pakistan. “We can’t go back to that hyphenated days of, no we need to and can work together in working with Pakistan, and we have our issues there, too, and in a sense we do, but we need to work with Pakistan, but that’s one of those issues that we need to work on, as we strengthen our allies, there…”

Also, she said that the reason "candidate Obama" won in 2008 was because?

“I wasn’t the top of the ticket!”

Unknown what expression she had when she said that, so we'll go with this:

Palin smells something bad


(h/t: Hunger Tallest Palin | pic. source | x-posted)



* NYT:

Ms. Purie [Kalli Purie, the director of the conference] would not disclose the fee Ms. Palin earned from the speech, but said the group paid what Ms. Palin’s representative at the Washington Speakers’ Bureau, a booking agency, sought.

So, probably another $100,000 or more.

** [Added] Well, not much of one, maybe!

15 comments:

tom said...

Also, she said that the reason "candidate Obama" won in 2008 was because?
“I wasn’t the top of the ticket!”


I think this summary (and I've seen it elsewhere) is slightly unfair to Palin. Some additional context:

Speaking at the India Today Conclave in New Delhi, Palin was asked why the GOP ticket did not defeat then-Sen. Barack Obama (D). Palin said that Obama ran a strong campaign and effectively billed himself as a change candidate.

Pressed by India Today editor Aroon Purie that she also represented change, Palin replied, “I wasn’t at the top of the ticket, remember?”


The bolded stuff is somewhat mitigating, in my opinion, of the charge that she (bluntly) claimed she would have won, had she been at the top of the ticket.

Feels weird to be offering even a weak defense of Palin, as I consider her presence in politics outside (or in, for that matter) of Alaska to be entirely based on farce, bullshit, and a revolting strain of identity politics... but I'm pretty sure I would call this story misleading if, say, a Clinton/Obama ticket had lost to Chris Cristie and Obama said something like that.

On the other hand, this is an interesting swipe at McCain from a woman who would still be a relatively insignificant governor of the most socialist state in the union, were it not for McCain's reckless "hail mary" decision to bring her on board.

Brendan said...

Strictly speaking? If I were a reporter being paid to deliver serious coverage of the event? I agree with you -- that line was somewhat ambiguous, at least without seeing the event for myself.

I will say, though, that she has a long and thoroughly documented history of seeing everything in the world as all about her. In particular, the tone she's given off since 4 Nov 2008 leave no doubt in my mind who she thinks was the most important figure in that campaign. She has on numerous occasions dropped blatant hints that things would have been different if only those McCain staffers had let her do things the way she wanted to. Let's not forget that this was the person who pitched a fit when her demand that she be allowed to give her own speech prior to McCain's concession speech on Election Night was denied.

Even from the perspective of just wanting to be snarky, I actually felt that "top of the ticket" bit wasn't enough, in and of itself, to call attention to. If that had been the only thing that caught my eye in reading reports of her latest grift, I wouldn't have bothered to do a blog post on it. It wasn't funny enough. My main purpose, as you'll note from the post title and what I led with, was to pass along her babble on the relationship among India, Pakistan, and the US. If you've read this blog before, or if you're familiar with what I pass along on the Bhtv forums, you know that I do like to collect (e.g., e.g., e.g., e.g., e.g., e.g.) examples of Palin word salad. The bit about the top of the ticket was just kind of a throwaway, for another laugh.

tom said...

Strictly speaking? ...I agree with you...I will say, though, that she has a long and thoroughly documented history of seeing everything in the world as all about her.

Our positions are more or less identical on this. I intended the scope of my reply to be very narrow (and did understand that the line I challenged was not the priority of your post).
I had seen the same quote on LGF earlier in the day, but have never bothered to sign up during his "registration windows", so it seemed worth expressing the thought here. There is, of course, so much material with which to indict Palin even while remaining maximally charitable towards her that I try to speak up when I see something that gives the Malkin/Continetti internet squads a fair enough (if trivial) reason to point and say "see!", as if it validates their whole narrative.

Brendan said...

You're to be commended on blowing the whistle. Though I feel fine about how I cast this particular bit of nonsense, I highly appreciate people willing to take exception with me. Keeps me in line. I wouldn't ever want to become a node in the echo chamber, even about someone as objectively reprehensible as Sarah Palin.

I agree that too many of my comrades in the USUALLY reality-based community made more of a big deal about this one line than was warranted.

LOL @ the LGF registration window. I have from time to time wanted to comment on that site, starting from back in the days when Charles was considered a leading light of the rightosphere. Every time I noticed mention of the ostensible window, it seemed like it was slammed shut before I had finished reading the announcement of the opening.

Finally, I am delighted to hear someone else speak disparagingly of that Continetti character. (Equating him with Malkkkin is spot-on.) I worried for a short time about his star rising -- seemed like another one of those glib, non-foaming wingnuts of the Jonah Goldberg ilk that the SCLM was going to fall over itself to embrace. He seems to have missed the brass ring, though. Let's hope lots of that had to do with his unbelievable fluffing of He®self.

Brendan said...

In re my penultimate paragraph in the previous comment, I meant to add that I have no particular problem with Charles Johnson's exclusivity regarding commenting privileges. I generally think, "Your house, your rules." And further, in his case, I see that he typically gets hundreds of comments per post, and seems to make a laudable effort to read them, so if my getting a shot to babble on his turf feels as remote as winning the lottery, that's fine. It's on me for not noticing him before he became a blogospheric superstar. And besides, I have this here slice of the Web where I can say anything about him that I might care to.

tom said...

I'm not yet sure what to make of Continetti. My reference was specifically to his ridiculous book, and he shares at least a few unflattering attributes with Malkin, though he seems to be much less of an asshole.

Yet his one other book is devoted to chronicling a decade or so of corruption in the GOP - contrast that with Malkin, who (for example) kept so quiet about the DOJ scandal during the Bush years but released this paper-thin polemical hatchet job for a huge group of people happy to part with $28 for permission to say out loud that Obama is corrupt.

Continetti was also way ahead of the curve (relative to other right-leaning journalists) in calling out the hysteria peddled by Glenn Beck every night; this was long before Beck lost nearly half his audience and the spats with folks like Kristol began. So while even the more "down to earth" right wingers like Jonah Goldberg were pretending that Beck is an admirable and sane populist conservative bringing hard truths to prime-time, Continetti was sticking his neck out to say reasonable things like this:

Whatever you think of Theodore Roosevelt, he was not Lenin. Woodrow Wilson was not Stalin. The philosophical foundations of progressivism may be wrong. The policies that progressivism generates may be counterproductive. Its view of the Constitution may betray the Founders’. Nevertheless, progressivism is a distinctly American tradition that partly came into being as a way to prevent ideologies like communism and fascism from taking root in the United States. And not even the stupidest American liberal shares the morality of the totalitarian monsters whom Beck analogizes to American politics so flippantly.
...
Read and watch enough Glenn Beck, and you realize that he is not only introducing new authors and ideas into public life, he is reintroducing old ideas. Some very old ideas. The notion that America’s leaders are indistinguishable from America’s enemies has a long and sorry history. In the 1950s it led Robert Welch, the head of the John Birch Society, to proclaim that President Dwight Eisenhower was a Communist sympathizer. For this, William F. Buckley Jr. famously denounced Welch and severed the Birchers’ ties to mainstream conservatism. The group was ostracized for decades.


That was last June.

Anyway, this post is way too long and lacking a clear position. But I do think that Continetti might be a sharper and more substantial character than most of his colleagues.

tom said...

(btw: the quotes around my description of Goldberg are very much intended. Though I greatly prefer him to an Althouse or Malkin, I find a lot of the stuff he defends to be anything but down to earth.)

Brendan said...

... though he seems to be much less of an asshole.

Well, okay, yeah. "Much less of an asshole" than Michelle Malkkkin is not something I'd dispute for virtually any human being. But, sheesh, talk about your low bars.

This is why I expressed the worry that I did above, that Continetti seemed momentarily as though he'd be seen as one of those oh-so-reasonable-conservatives™, and so would slither into a slot on NPR or some op-ed page or whatever.

That you say he "was sticking his neck out to say reasonable things" fairly well says it all as far as the RWNM goes, don't you think? I mean, Flying H. Spaghetti Monster, do we live in a "reasonable" country if it's considered risky to say that Michelle Malkkkin is an asshole and that Glenn Beck and John Birch are/were loons? That Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson are not automatically to be considered as tantamount to Satan himself?

My view is that in a truly reasonable country, we would not even be able to conceive of calling these positions "reasonable." It'd be like saying, I dunno, it is reasonable to believe that the sun may appear to rise in the east.

It is a measure of how unreasonable our country is that we are forced to play along with the trope that "reasonable people can disagree" on these matters.

(*takes breath*)

Please do not apologize for your post being too long. I would far rather have someone struggling to articulate a notion take more space than less.

In the abstract, at least. But in all honesty, I do have to say that there is no purpose that I can imagine in trying to flesh out a thesis like "Continetti might be a sharper and more substantial character than most of his colleagues." I mean, I'll give you that, up front and for free, but I can't help but follow up by saying, "So effing what? In other news, there are some people who don't smell quite as bad as Rush Limbaugh's bunghole."

Brendan said...

As to preferring Goldberg to Althouse or Malkin, I am not sure. If we were at some sort of endpoint, if this was as far as it was ever going to go, I might agree. But I don't think we're at an endpoint.

I think the wingnut right shows no signs of awareness that they're at any sort of endpoint. I think, rather, that they continue to think of the extent that they've moved the Overton Window as just another click of the ratchet. And so, in this light, I am inclined to think of people like the Pantload (and the Continetti) as in fact more of a threat than people like Althouse and Malkkkin. As I probably have already made clear above, I think these Reasonable Conservatives™ are actually more insidious than the full metal wingnuts. I believe their smooth talk lets them gain access to mainstream platforms, and that people who aren't paying attention are prone to view them with a sense of relief; i.e., "at least they're not as shouty as those others. And now, as a good liberal, let me take Very Seriously what they have to say."

But the truth is, they're selling the exact same shit.

tom said...


...

(*takes breath*)


Venting to the choir, but yes.

I do have to say that there is no purpose that I can imagine in trying to flesh out a thesis like "Continetti might be a sharper and more substantial character than most of his colleagues."

Fair enough, that's a pretty vapid formulation. What I ought to have said is that I'm pretty open to the idea that Continetti is a sincere thinker who actually means the things he says, and isn't just trying to
a. make a buck by demonizing the other side in the most extreme terms available,
b. create an information cocoon where those who share his beliefs engage in bouts of hysterical tribalism
c. create an alternative reality by willfully misrepresenting events, policy issues, and individuals so as to place political outcomes before intellectual honesty.
etc.

I know relatively little about him, so I suppose I could abandon this position pretty easily. But if he's not a hack in this way, then even if he's wrong about lots of things, he might still be worth a read. He might still have an argument or a point worth considering. This is the distinction I meant to draw with Malkin, who does not write or argue in good faith, or Althouse, who I suspect of being so dim and deluded that good faith is almost beside the point.
Honestly, even Goldberg will formulate clear arguments and attempt to defend them; I've found his discussions with Beinart instructive at times, though I think he's terribly misguided. I learn nothing from an Althouse diavlog, or perhaps better to say I learn no more than if her side were muted, as she doesn't even pretend that her arguments need clear and rigorous defense, or require a substantial correlation to reality. (Her discussion with Wright last month, and subsequent appearance in the comments are a perfect example of what I mean.

The point is that even if I end up lumping Continetti in with the other hacks, the above distinction is what I was attempting to get at when I contrasted him with Malkin or the majority of his colleagues: not merely to say that he is 'less bad than terrible'.

It's probably past due for me to read some more of his work, rather than talk in circles about the precise nature of the provisional defense and criticism I made based on a few limited data points. (A brief look at his site shows mention of an appearance on Hannity... I guess authors will take whatever exposure is available but that does not bode well.)

As long as we're off on tangents, I'm curious to know what writers you find most compelling or instructive despite your own disagreement with them (perhaps "right of center" writers, but there are of course other dimensions of disagreement that don't map onto a left-right paradigm).

Brendan said...

Sorry your comment didn't appear immediately. False alarm by the comment-spam filter.

Too out of gas to respond right now. Later today, hopefully.

tom said...

No rush. I ought to be asleep anyway. I appreciate you taking the time to respond; I do a lot of reading online but not a lot of interacting.

Brendan said...

In response to your earlier comments, Tom ...

I'm not familiar with anything Continetti has done since he was spending all of his time fluffing Palin. Since he has stopped appearing on Bhtv, and seems no longer to attract the attention of the snark bloggers, I tend not even to think of him. So, I can't speak to anything he's done lately.

I'll take your word for it that he comes off these days as sincerely believing the positions he holds, and is not just a hack, although I will say every times I saw him on Bhtv, he struck me as someone who hoped to grow up someday to be a regular on FoxNews. He never struck me as willing to consider that there might be any place where his side's dogma was a little suspect.

As for the Pantload, well, we'll just have to disagree. I've never heard anything from him that I'd call instructive. He's the nadir of pseudointellectualism, as far as I'm concerned.

I grant that there likely got to be a point where the latest dumb thing he'd said up till then flipped a switch for good in my mind, such that I just automatically tune him out now, except when mining for lulz. I suppose I could grant that the possibility that he (and Continetti) are not as vapid as Althouse, but you know -- as with not being as much of an asshole as Malkkkin, talk about your low bars.

I don't have a list that I can rattle off in response to your closing question, and I'd hate to put a few names down just to be saying something, because they'd likely not be very representative. You'll just have to take my word for it that there are plenty of people I disagree with, some more often than others, all over the political spectrum, and there are lots among them who I can find compelling, even as I disagree with them.

tom said...

As for the Pantload, well, we'll just have to disagree. I've never heard anything from him that I'd call instructive. He's the nadir of pseudointellectualism, as far as I'm concerned.

I grant that there likely got to be a point where the latest dumb thing he'd said up till then flipped a switch for good in my mind, such that I just automatically tune him out now, except when mining for lulz.


While that same switch hasn't quite been thrown for me yet, my opinion of him is similar to yours. A while back, I saved this description from DonZeko (on Goldberg's defense of D'Souza) because I thought it was so apt:

But I suppose I should have realized that, since Jonah is a hack who pays the bills by making far-right insanity seem slightly intellectually respectable if you squint and look at it from a distance, he can't very well point it out when someone else does the same thing in a less subtle way with more noxious far-right conspiracy theories.

But what I had in mind was not so much that reading Goldberg tends to be instructive, but that he's sane and reasonable enough that it can be instructive to watch a (capable) interlocutor engage him. (Whereas Althouse is so self absorbed and flaky that it's less instructive than watching Ali G interview a politician.)

I don't have a list that I can rattle off in response to your closing question, and I'd hate to put a few names down just to be saying something, because they'd likely not be very representative. You'll just have to take my word for it that there are plenty of people I disagree with, some more often than others, all over the political spectrum, and there are lots among them who I can find compelling, even as I disagree with them.

Just in case I came across the wrong way in my request: I wasn't issuing a challenge to your open-mindedness and inviting you to prove me wrong, or anything like that. My question meant to grant a tacit assumption that your influences are not homogeneous. Which conservatives (in particular) you find worth reading seemed a natural offshoot from our agreement that most right-wing media figures are not deserving of serious consideration. But I'm content to get a sense of your answer to this question over time from your blog or BHTV comments, as opposed to a single response here.

Brendan said...

I can't honestly say that Goldberg in conversation is any less useless to me than Althouse. They're both so far below the cutoff point where I decide that any further listening is a complete waste of time that it's moot, to me, to rank them. I sat through enough of Jonah's diavlogs, with Beinart and others, to be convinced that if it wasn't Teh Left this and Teh Left that, it was name-dropping from a CliffsNotes-level of understanding. And as far as a capable interlocutor goes (which excludes Beinart, who always seemed more interested in being agreeable than in calling bullshit), this just means a whole lot of thrashing, sputtering, and back-pedaling. Watch the one with Rosa Brooks asking about his Very Serious Thoughtful Book, if you haven't already.

As to which conservatives I do find worthwhile, I've given up making these lists, since it tends to produce nothing but assertions that X is NotARealConservative. So yes, thanks, I'd prefer that you just pick up who I do have respect for as various names happen to come up.

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