Sarah’s Shapely Wits

Everything you need to know about Sarah Palin and the shape of her mind can be found in the following paragraph, culled from a review of her book by Michiko Kakutani in the New York Times:

Elsewhere in this volume she talks about creationism, saying she “didn’t believe in the theory that human beings — thinking, loving beings — originated from fish that sprouted legs and crawled out of the sea” or from “monkeys who eventually swung down from the trees.” In everything that happens to her, from meeting Todd to her selection by Mr. McCain for the Republican ticket, she sees the hand of God: “My life is in His hands. I encourage readers to do what I did many years ago, invite Him in to take over.”

Assuming Ms. Kakutani, the Times‘ Pulitzer Prize-winning literary critic, accurately quoted the former half-governor, then the crawl space between Palin’s ears is filled not with nonsense, but with dangerous nonsense.

Despite the fact her dad was a science teacher, who obviously failed to teach basic science to his daughter, Palin regurgitates the typical fundamentalist critique of evolution, which is in reality a critique of science and of scientific methodology.

The fact is that science, our only reliable and historically productive mode of inquiry, unequivocally understands the origin of human beings in terms of evolution, and the fact is that all life evolved from a common ancestor. 

To deny these facts is to deny the legitimacy of scientific inquiry.

But beyond her denial of otherwise uncontroversial scientific conclusions, is the dangerous notion that her life is “in His hands.” What does that mean exactly, if it doesn’t mean that her mind is sycophantically surrendered to an invisible, unquestionable, unverifiable being?  A being in whose name much evil has been done, some so obvious that even contemporary Christians have disavowed it?

And what does it mean when she claims she has invited this being to “take over” her life? 

Does it mean God speaks to her? 

Does it mean the Bible—to her, the Word of God—speaks to her?

Does it mean she subscribes to a certain view of, say, the Book of Revelation that would inform her foreign policy decisions, especially when it comes to Israel? 

Is Armageddon something she expects?  Is it something in which she—surrendered to God—would see herself as playing a role on behalf of God? 

Thinking people in the 21st century should no longer tolerate such things from our public figures, particularly from someone who at least has had some ambition to become the President of the United States, before she undertook to gather from the gullible as much money as Todd can load on his Iditarod sled.

But I suspect most of the chatter surrounding her book will be about her backstabbing of former colleagues from last year’s campaign, or, God forbid, Levi Johnston.

Newt Gingrich, Ever The Optimist

The Republican Party is now at a point of no return.

Either it accepts what the tea-party conservatives did to Dede Scozzafava in upstate New York and thus become the National Conservative Party, or it, through its “leadership,” condemns those Republicans, like Sarah Palin and Tim Pawlenty and Fred Thompson, who openly and defiantly campaigned against the GOP candidate, and ultimately forced her to quit.

However, it sure doesn’t look like the party is poised to even put up a fight against the tawdry teapartiers, who demand absolute fealty to their particularly doctrinaire version of conservatism.  Such fealty does not allow for even the slightest deviation from the “principles” of the extremists, let alone the relatively wide divergence represented by Ms. Scozzafava.

Here is what the New York Times reported today regarding the Republican moderate’s departure from the NY 23 race:

The Republican National Committee, which had strongly backed Ms. Scozzafava’s candidacy, issued a statement applauding her decision and announcing it was now supporting Mr. Hoffman.

“Effective immediately, the R.N.C. will endorse and support the Conservative candidate in the race, Doug Hoffman,” the party’s national chairman, Michael Steele, said. “Doug’s campaign will receive the financial backing of the R.N.C. and get-out-the-vote efforts to defeat Bill Owens on Tuesday.”

So, it doesn’t appear Michael Steele has any fight in him to maintain some semblance of control over the party he ostensibly heads, and it is quite likely the newly emboldened conservative revolutionaries will run with their success to other parts of the country, demanding obeisance to their philosophy, and commanding Republican attention by their strident, town-hall trained voices.

Oddly, the good news in all of this was expressed by Newt Gingrich, who had supported Scozzafava:

“This makes life more complicated from the standpoint of this: If we get into a cycle where every time one side loses, they run a third-party candidate, we’ll make Pelosi speaker for life and guarantee Obama’s re-election,” said Mr. Gingrich, who had endorsed Ms. Scozzafava.

“I felt very deeply that when you have all 11 county chairman voting for someone, that it wasn’t appropriate for me to come in and render my judgment,” he said. “I think we are going to get into a very difficult environment around the country if suddenly conservative leaders decide they are going to anoint people without regard to local primaries and local choices.”

Gingrich always has a way of finding the silver lining in any ominous dark cloud, doesn’t he?


It is time we framed the issue of how to reform our health care system in moral terms: 

Do we want our health insurance supplied by profit-minded CEO’s, who command huge salaries and bonuses based on their ability to squeeze the life out of the sick, or do we want our health insurance supplied by the same people who supply life-giving health insurance to our senior citizens?

Now that is framing the issue.

Anyway, here is the latest on the Democrats’ sometimes-quixotic effort to bring some morality to our health care system.  Some folks have figured out that Medicare is comfortably popular, and maybe therein lies a way to convince people that the so-called public option is not the death-panel monstrosity that the half-governor Palin said it was.  We can now call it Medicare Part Everybody.  Voila!

The idea that health care reform ought to include a public option, that is, a government-administered insurance program similar to Medicare, has run into stormy seas, and it’s not just Republicans who are weary and seasick, but some Democrats have been queasy over the idea, too.

Now, maybe with the Medicare Part E idea, Democrats can overcome the Palin-Limbaugh-Hannity-Beck-[insert favorite demagogue here]-wing of the Republican Guard and start making some progress in wrestling with the devil of death-bed profiteering.

Look, it’s no secret that the American people generally have a healthy skepticism toward government involvement in the affairs of mankind, preferring the private sector to take care of most of their needs, like supplying Budweiser and bullets.  But what Republicans try to deny, and Democrats often fail to point out, is that when it comes to health insurance, people do want the government involved.  That’s why Medicare is so popular.

It turns out that when it comes to matters of life and death, people who aren’t independently wealthy prefer the discernible hand of government to Adam Smith’s invisible, frequently grifting private hand, which all too often belongs to a health-insurance Artful Dodger, whose focus is on the company’s financial health, not on the health of its clients.

geico-geckoNow, all we need is for President Obama to jump with both feet on the idea of Medicare Part E. 

Who knows, maybe one day Blue Cross will just be a jazzy Christian band gigging at a patriotic Tea Party, protesting government-sponsored auto insurance.

Look out GEICO.

The “S” Word

Thinking that Abraham Lincoln had pretty much put the kibosh on the idea that states had the right to divorce themselves from Western civilization, I was unaware that a significant number among us believe the right of secession exists.

Last year, Zogby found that 22% of American adults “believe that any state or region has the right to peaceably secede from the United States and become an independent republic.” A slightly smaller number (18%) would support secessionist efforts in their states.

Now, I have to admit that until last summer, when I was getting acquainted with Sarah Palin, I hadn’t given much thought to the idea. Gov. Palin, it turns out, was palling around with secessionists, and may actually have been sleeping with one, what with Todd’s membership in the Alaskan Independence Party, which has been historically hospitable to dissolution.

Anyway, I just assumed that the Palins were part of that peculiar northern culture, the sort of people who in comparison would make even McDonald County folks worthy of a feature in Martha Stewart Living. It was inconceivable to me that conservatives, those tireless defenders of law and order, would snuggle up to anyone who, with even the slightest scholastic subtlety, hinted that secession was a viable alternative to our cozy constitutional republic. Real conservatives just wouldn’t countenance such seditious silliness.

Of course, I knew that Rush Limbaugh reserved the right to secede from each of his three wives, but even I believed he and other radioactive conservatives would draw the line at another bloody civil war. After all, isn’t 620,000 dead Americans enough price to pay for dragging Southerners into the civilized world?

Then came the governor of Texas and former Texas A&M cheerleader, Rick Perry, embracing the idea that Texas maintains the right to secede. Conservatives scrambled to defend the governor, never missing an opportunity to turn any conservative crackpot idea into a referendum on Obama and the Democrats.

Limbaugh’s rambling comments on April 16:

Now, this is not insignificant. When the governor of Texas talks about, “We could secede, I don’t think it’s going to happen, I hope it doesn’t, but we could.” When the governor of Texas starts talking about this because of the abuse of government on his citizens and on his state, and forcing his state to take federal money when he doesn’t want it — and I also think, I run into them, there’s still some conservatives who, the Drive-By Media is gospel to them. I say they’re conservatives. They’re not active. They’re not liberals. I’m wondering at some point how much of the excesses of the media are gonna finally start causing other people to have lights go on in their heads, hey, something’s not quite right here when you have the governor of Texas start talking about the possibility of getting out of all this because of the abuse of government. This guy is not a fringe kook. This guy is nowhere near a kook in any way, shape, manner, or form.

But yesterday, Gov. Perry appeared on Sean Hannity’s radio show, now eager to clear the air. He by no means meant to suggest that anyone should take the idea of Texas secession seriously, despite the fact that he had done just that. He and Sean characteristically blamed his predicament on the “liberal” media who “misconstrued” his intentions.

Despite the fact that some conservatives may now want to back away from any talk of Texas secession, I cannot find anything obviously negative about the idea, except that any future Chiefs-Cowboys matchup would necessarily be reduced to an international exhibition game.

And the NFL exhibition season is too long as it is.



Thursday, April 23, 2009, 11:19 AM
Perhaps now you understand my concerns about the fabric of our society expressed in a recent blog. Yes, Perry is a Texan and a Republican, but he is also an elected governor. Hard to put him in the kook category.

He is expressing a deep sentiment of concern about spending that probably reflects that of many, not just the kooks. To raise it to the issue of slavery and seccession is extreme, perhaps. But it is a legitimate concern or should be by any thining individual. How do we pay for a vision that many endorse is the issue, not necessarily the vision itself.

I think the President is making a big mistake by pushing the whole domestic agenda at once. Yes, he currently has a mandate and a congress behind him. But other than political strength, he must show the good financial strength to make it happen. In my view he has not come close to making that argument, yet.

Remarks And Asides

Geoff’s World is growing darker by the hour. On Tuesday he wrote:

40 years of social engineering has not helped a soul in this great nation except for the politicians dishing out the dough.

On Wednesday, Mr. Caldwell popped open his Joplin Globe and found a message from God. In a font fit for such divine decrees, the headline screamed:

Food for thought

Accompanying the article on the WIC program–indisputable social engineering–were pictures of Madison Hembree and her infant son, Charles, as well as four-year-old Donavin Pena. Freeloaders all.

If Geoff’s conservative dreams came true, the nearly 4000 women and children benefiting from the government program each month would have to find other means to supplement their nutritional needs or–more likely–go without.

You gotta love that compassionate conservatism.

Speaking of social engineering, the Right, of course, has its own version. John Putnam, a local environmentalist wacko, is still pressing for severe restrictions on “sexually oriented” businesses through his group, Citizens for a Decent Environment. The group apparently has no plans to restrict sexually oriented churches, some of which have made headlines around here the last few years.

Mr. Putnam and his group may really be concerned that allowing unfettered access to adult entertainment so close to home will endanger the fiscal health of area churches. Dropping twenty bucks on a porn video tends to make one more likely to short-arm the collection plate on Sunday.

It took John Cragin all the way until the last paragraph, but he managed to make his point today , which not surprisingly was to bash Democrats. He referred to Obama not as “our” president, but as “your” president. Apparently, there is property on Snob Hill outside the jurisdiction of the United States.

First it was CPAC, now the Senate-House Dinner. Sarah Palin will be a no-show for the GOP’s beg-fest in June. To demonstrate that the Republican Party is still a fresh and vibrant player in our politics, it has booked…Newt?

There is a God.


Anson writes:
Wednesday, April 1, 2009, 02:50 PM
Duane, check out Carol’s latest blog. You may want to add a comment as well
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