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Print view: We head off to the sweet sunny south--and Frank Rich says Palin could win
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SOUTH FROM ALASKA! We head off to the sweet sunny south—and Frank Rich says Palin could win: // link // print // previous // next //

To the sweet sunny south until Monday: As the poet mournfully wrote:

Take me back to the place where I first saw the light
To the sweet sunny south take me home
Where the mocking bird sang me to rest every night
Oh, why was I tempted to roam?

Actually, we were born in Boston—or at least, that’s what the government says. That said, we’re on the train to Durham today. This site resumes on Monday.

More regional culture: Then too, you could listen to cut 9, sampling an iconic tune which includes some of our favorite lyrics:

You ought to see my Cindy
She lives way down south.
Lips so sweet the honey bees
Swarm around her mouth.

We always applaud when them singer fellers speak well of their girl friends. Thoughts like these are routinely occasioned by train rides into the south.

SOUTH FROM ALASKA (permalink): Could Sarah Palin end up in the White House? Before we answer, consider a bit of foolishness from Gotham eminence Alessandra Stanley, well-known FOD (friend of Dowd). This foolishness ended her recent review of Palin’s TLC program:

STANLEY (11/12/10): But Ms. Palin is sometimes her own worst enemy, and she is not afraid even of that. Alluding to one of her most mocked mis-statements during the campaign, Ms. Palin poses in front of a mountain range and says, “You can see Russia from here,” then adds with an arch smile, “almost.”

Thus ended Stanley’s review. When Stanley referred to “one of [Palin’s] most mocked mis-statements,” we found ourselves wondering something we often wonder, based on strange things pundits say:

Does Stanley think Palin actually said that you can see Russia from her house? A person might get some such impression from what Stanley wrote. Palin’s actual statement has been heavily mocked—but it wasn’t exactly a “misstatement” at all. That said, many people now seem to think that Palin actually made that apocryphal statement—the statement which actually came from Tina Fey’s mouth.

But so it goes when Gotham’s swells type their predictable piffle. On Sunday, the analysts groaned when they read this pitiful post by Josh Marshall, the most reinvented man of the decade. What happened to the real Josh Marshall, they pleadingly asked, as they so constantly do:

Palin Watching

The new Quinnipiac poll says Sarah Palin is the top vote getter in a hypothetical Republican primary race (but only barely) and would then get clobbered by President Obama.

That was Josh’s entire post. It represented sweet hay for the herd—a trinket thrown to the liberal rubes. But if you click on Josh’s link, you find that the Quinnipiac poll in question shows Palin within eight points of Obama in a hypothetical match-up (48-40). Two years out, that margin is astoundingly slender. But Josh was talking down to the herd, keeping us barefoot and clueless.

Has anyone ever dumbed himself down the way Josh Marshall has done?

Sunday, in the New York Times, Frank Rich asked and answered a question about a possible Candidate Palin. “Could She Reach the Top in 2012? You Betcha,” his headline adjudged. Rich says Palin could beat Obama in 2012 if Bloomberg stages a third-party run. We’d say almost anything is possible now, in part because of the dynamic to which Rich frankly alludes:

RICH (11/21/10): But logic doesn’t apply to Palin. What might bring down other politicians only seems to make her stronger: the malapropisms and gaffes, the cut-and-run half-term governorship, family scandals, shameless lying and rapacious self-merchandising. In an angry time when America’s experts and elites all seem to have failed, her amateurism and liabilities are badges of honor. She has turned fallibility into a formula for success.


It’s anti-elitism that most defines angry populism in this moment, and, as David Frum, another Bush alumnus (and Palin critic), has pointed out, populist rage on the right is aimed at the educated, not the wealthy. The Bushies and Noonans and dwindling retro-moderate Republicans are no less loathed by Palinistas and their Tea Party fellow travelers than is Obama’s Ivy League White House. When Palin mocks her G.O.P. establishment critics as tortured, paranoid, sleazy and a “good-old-boys club,” she pays no penalty for doing so. The more condescending the attacks on her, the more she thrives. This same dynamic is also working for her daughter Bristol, who week after week has received low scores and patronizing dismissals from the professional judges on “Dancing with the Stars” only to be rescued by populist masses voting at home.

In our view, Palin would be a terrible candidate. But she does gain from all the condescension—and today’s liberal world seems to run on that fuel even more than “the Bushies and Noonans.” We liberals love to roll our eyes at the lower-class brood from the north. We can’t stop entertaining ourselves with silly drivel about Palin’s children. All normal judgment is thrown away when it comes to their mamma herself.

At one point, Rich describes the way Palin’s first TLC program showcased “the villainous lamestream media (represented by Palin’s unwanted neighbor, the journalist Joe McGinniss).” Remember how we liberals reacted when McGinniss rented the house next door to the Palins to help him write a book about her (or something)? When Palin dared to comment on this, we took umbrage on behalf of McGinniss! We acted as if his weird behavior was the most normal thing in the world!

On one single day last week, Salon was running two separate, pointless reports about Bristol and Willow. Meanwhile, Josh assures us that an eight-point margin, two years out, means Palin would get clobbered. And Stanley actually seems to think that Palin made that ridiculous statement about seeing Russia—or at least she’s willing to pretend, providing more entertainment. But then, we often see pundits who seem to think that Palin actually said that she can see Russia from her home. At such moments, the dumbness is plain—and it doesn’t belong to Palin.

Could Sarah Palin reach the White House? An eight-point margin is shockingly slim. But we’ve never seen a people so bent on self-destruction as we modern liberals seem to be. We seem to live for the purpose of showing our cultural condescension. For ourselves, we have no idea if Palin could actually win an election. But as Rich frankly said in Sunday’s column: “These insults just play into Palin’s hands, burnishing her image as an exemplar of the ‘real America’ battling the snooty powers-that-be.”

Happy Thanksgiving! Why not salve your wounds by playing the tape of Palin with that pardoned turkey? (Just click here.) Remember how we all enjoyed a good solid laugh about that?