Thursday, September 04, 2008

Personally, I didn't see much lipstick.

Well, look, she did a good job. A terrific job, really. You gotta give her that. Now, I do think that how you felt about Sarah Palin's performance (and here again, I'm being quite deliberate in my use of the word performance; more on that in a moment) depends on how you feel about sarcasm and negativity as rhetorical devices. Picking right up where her lead-in, the always hilarious Rudy Giuliani, left off, she skewered Obama/Biden in memorable line after memorable line. Even as a staunch Obama man, I had to chuckle at the perverse cleverness of observations like, "Being a mayor is a little bit like being a community organizer...except with actual responsibilities."* Nor can I deny that I found Palin likable and engaging despite all those stiletto-heel sound-bites. (This is where she appears to have it all over Hillary Clinton and most other notable women in our culture, which is so unforgiving of strong females: Palin can say snarky things without having people dismiss her as a "bitch.") The overnight polling suggests that America-at-large felt much the same way. In fact, about halfway through the speech, I was reminded of something highly astute NPR commentator Michele Martin said on Bill Maher's show the other night: "The Democrats underestimate Sarah Palin at their peril." It is now clear that this woman lives up to her self-applied label and then some: a pitbull with lipstick.

But right around the time Palin was wrapping things up, bringing her (stunningly beautiful) family on-stage and getting ready to embrace her surprise guest, John McCain, I was reminded of something else: My mind flashed to the movie Simone
. If you haven't seen it, the plot focuses on beleaguered auteur director Al Pacino, who revives his career and becomes the toast of Hollywood after unveiling his latest female find: the title character. Fans fall in love with Simone, the media is captivated by Simone, and Pacino himself is smitten, all of which is perfectly understandable save for one detail: She doesn't exist. "Simone," you see, was a bit of digital sleight-of-hand that Pacino perpetrated on the public and the Hollywood media: a virtual diva "born" on his computer.

What brought Simone to mind was the knowledge that those canny zingers Palin kept coming with, line after line, were not her own. Her speech was written
by star Dubya wordsmith Matthew Scully, and at times it was painfully obvious that she was just reading boilerplate that had been prepared for her. This was especially the case when she got to those "in-passing" references to various nations and their associated pitfalls and crises. Though this was meant to counter Palin's early image as a lightweight in foreign affairs, I think the tactic backfired because she seemed so awkward, so outside her normal demeanor, in delivering that portion of the speech; indeed, it was the one place where she flubbed a line or two and appeared to take a second glance at the TelePrompTer before continuing. So yes, she gave a bravura performance last night, but it remains to be seen how well she'll do in the debates, where presumably (unless they figure a way of rigging her with an earpiece that's hooked up to Scully or Ed Rollins), Sarah Palin will have to be Sarah Palin, not some character conjured by a speechwriter and honed during intense wood-shedding sessions. She'll have to think on her feet and compose her own words in real time.

I think it also bears noting that Palin's speech, if you sit down and analyze it, was long on panache and chutzpah but short on specificity and substance...which is kind of ironic, given that her party makes that very accusation against Barack Obama. And, some of those colorful bits of rhetorical artifice, on closer inspection, just don't make sense. Like her predecessors to the podium, she made it sound as if being a small-town mayor is a more important job, requiring a higher-caliber individual, than being a U.S. senator. (If that's true, why don't we just send everybody t
o Washington to serve an apprenticeship in the Senate for a while, so they're qualified to come back and be our mayors?) What Palin forgets (or purposely downplays) is that chasing a Senate seat exposes candidates to a winnowing process that, in most cases, gets rid of the folks who just can't cut it on the national stage. That's not always true; some incompetents slip through. But to argue that being a senator is a less challenging and intellectually demanding job than being a small-town mayor is a little bit like arguing that a Major League shortstop like Derek Jeter is a lesser player than, say, the guys who play shortstop in my local beer league. What's more, I'm still not persuaded by all the Republican indignation over the "assaults" on Palin's so-called private life. When you take your private views public, they're no longer private. If a God-fearing woman who wants to be my vice president believes in abstinence-only, an agenda that one assumes she'd try to sell to the nationyet she couldn't even make it work within her own familyI'm sorry, Sean Hannity, that is relevant. Just as it's relevant that Palin wants to give teenagers weapons training...but doesn't want to give them condoms.

Finally, and widening the lens, it occurs to me that throughout this campaign (but never more so than last night), the Republicans have acted and talked exactly as if they were trying to unseat a renegade Democrat incumbent who has somehow hijacked the federal government over the past eight years. The various Convention speakers, right on up through Giuliani and Palin, have spoken as if George W. Bush's incompetence, his wholesale plunder of the American economy, democracy and world image, is no reflection on them or their party. I find that level of detachment from reality
—or hubrisastonishing and offensive.

Once again here, Kathy may have put it best: "All those happy, clapping people voted for the guy who brought the country down," she said this morning, watching the taped replays of the jubilation in Minneapolis. "And we're supposed to trust them again this time?"

* I'm very busy this morning and don't have time to hunt down the precise verbiage she used, but what I've quoted her is very close, and certainly faithful to her meaning.

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

One of the biggest talking points of the republicans is that Obama can deliver a great speech, but away from the scripted teleprompter he loses his magic. And now you are hoping the same is true with Palin. Not much of a keen insight.
Palin's performance was head-and-shoulders above any other republican performance. How amny times did Thompson cough/clear his throat durning his Tuesday night speech? Four or five dozen times?
How obvious was Mitt Romney's Ronald Reagan impression?

Sorry you missed the "lipstick" portion of the speech - I guess you nodded off during the advocate in the White House for children with special needs line; or the tribute to her husband; or her homage to small town America.

I thought she did a great job describing McCain's journey from a Hanoi cell to the White House while dismissing Obama's run as a journey of personal discovery.

I guess her digs at Obama were so memorable that her girly sentimentalism was overshadowed.

The democrats now face a tough challenge: their two-year lead in the polls has evaporated. The republicans have life after all; Rush Limbaugh is no longer bitching and moaning about McCain. The conservative base is now engaged, and they are responding by finally sending in money to the RNC. Palin has made the case for McCain and the case for herself. She's no Dan Quail.

It's no longer a coronation. It's an election.

Anonymous said...

I guess you were unaware that Gov. Sarah Palin's telepromter malfunctioned midway through her speech last night. Steve, she was winging some of her speech.
http://www.redstate.com/diaries/redstate/2008/sep/04/breaking-sarah-palin-winged-her-speech-bec/

The Obama campaign has been upstaged by a hockey mom from the boondocks. They did not see this coming - just as Hillary Clinton did not see the Cook County community organizer sinking her campaign six months ago.

And Giuliani, Romney and Huckabee have just been put out to pasture - they have great futures behind them.

Steve Salerno said...

First of all, Anon(s), we're not supposed to have "lipstick" portions of a speech, or "lipstick politics"...are we? Or do you expect Obama to have a "black" portion of his speech? If you're saying that it's permissible for women to advocate women's causes as women, then it's equally permissible for men to attack women as women--"too soft, too emotional, not logical enough, they get periods and get crazy," etc. So don't open the door to one form of argumentation if you're not ready to hear the other. K?

And why is Rush no longer bitching about McCain? It's because he's stuck with McCain as the GOP candidate (translation: the only thing standing between him and having having his tax rate adjusted upward). Where were all these loving and appreciative tributes to McCain back in the run-up the 2000 election, when he was fighting for his political life (or so we thought at the time)? Was he any less of an "American hero" then? Apparently so, because in those days, you may recall--though you may prefer not to--your own party, or at least some of its foremost spokespeople (including Rush and Sean "the dumbest man on television" Hannity), were even denigrating McCain's war record, basically saying "enough already with the POW bit!"

Yes, the Democrats have been upstaged, but not by a hockey mom from the boondocks--but by an expert speechwriter who knew exactly which buttons to push. (Vanna White could've given that speech and come off just as well.) To extend the metaphor, we'll say that this time around Palin got a free penalty shot; let's see whether the hockey mom can score as well if she has to start from behind the blue line without her speechwriter(s), while evading a corps of aggressive defenders.

And let me throw one other puck onto the ice: She pissed off the "liberal media." They won't forget. I'm not saying that's fair, because the media should not be taking sides. But fair or not, I say again: They won't forget. (Did you hear Joe Klein on his blog last night? That was just the beginning.)

Jen said...

Good blog post, as usual. Steve, a couple of specific things (aside from the bulldog wearing lipstick image) stood out to me: 1) Giuliani's comment about good versus bad change, how inane and simplistic it is to suggest that a political opponent can be summed up thus; and 2) his theatrical jabs at Hillary, including how the need for a president who will take the 3 a.m. crisis call is "the one time we agree with" her. Overall, I'd say as long as elections and politics are about agreement and disagreement, good and bad "change," and about the biases that we all have, we'll continue to get more of the same old boring (unsurprising) results. In other words, business as usual. Progress versus the status quo. I am still hoping something interesting will happen, watching and waiting.

Anonymous said...

What's with the democrat talking points? Of course she had a speechwriter - but she had George Bush's speechwriter - not exactly a great asset.

What happened last night was Sarah Palin aced her first test in the public spotlight after two days of mugging. Gov. Palin has the buzz and Obama is the old news.

Put in a metaphor you'll understand: Obama is A-Rod - A.K.A. "Mr. May". He peaked too early. Gov. Palin is Reggie Jackson - A.K.A. "Mr. October". When you hit three world series home runs on three consecutive pitches, nobody cares about how many times you struck out in June.

Gov. Palin homered to deep right-center last night; and it's a whole new ballgame.

In the words of our current president: you have "misunderestimated" her.

Steve Salerno said...

Oh I'm not misunderestimating her; not by any means. It is quite possible that she will win, given the fact that it's Americans who are voting in this election (and that last I checked, NASCAR fans* were still allowed to vote). The quote is variously attributed (to Mencken, Churchill, de Tocqueville), but I do believe that people basically "get the government they deserve." We deserved W., so we got him; I should know. I voted for him.

Maybe we deserve Palin as well. We shall see.

* Sorry to paint with so broad a brush. I realize that it is possible to enjoy NASCAR, vote Democrat, and not be a "f**ing redneck," as Bristol's husband-to-be described himself on MySpace.

Cosmic Connie said...

Great post, Steve. And make no mistake; Sarah's sweet, smiling little jabs at Obama would have earned her the title of "bitch," at least by Repubs, if she'd been a Democrat knocking their opponent. I agree that she gave a good performance, though it *was* pretty much that: a performance.

This is not to undermine her real accomplishments in Alaska. Ron's son lives there and says Alaskans for the most part really like Sarah because she seems to be fighting for them. And she has famously "stood up to Big Oil," and so on.

But that doesn't make her qualified to be V.P.

Like you, Steve, the one overriding thought I had while listening to the Repub speeches was that all this talk of 'change' and being 'mavericks' or 'renegades' was, in effect, completely invalidating everything Dubya has done and everything he stands for (or is propped up for). How could the Repubs gloss over this?

You said it best:

"The various Convention speakers, right on up through Giuliani and Palin, have spoken as if George W. Bush's incompetence, his wholesale plunder of the American economy, democracy and world image, is no reflection on them or their party. I find that level of detachment from reality—or hubris—astonishing and offensive."

I still doubt Obama's qualifications, but I like the guy and, once again, he seems the lesser of two evils. I honestly thought that of all the front runners, Hillary was by far the most qualified. And I also honestly think that the main reason she lost out to Obama was that Obama was backed by Oprah who in this case, is almost literally the "king maker" you once declared her to be.

RevRon's Rants said...

"Gov. Palin homered to deep right-center last night; and it's a whole new ballgame."

Not tough to do, when you make the park as small as was the Republican convention. I'll be interested to see how she does when she finds herself playing in the majors, where the entire house isn't waiting with baited breath for another reason to approve of her, and where she won't have the benefit of handlers and speech-writers. And where she'll be pushed to actually address specific issues, rather than mere platitudes.

Along those same lines, while she was the governor of a sparsely populated state with lots of money and few complex problems (and Alaska's governor is basically a figurehead position), she hasn't had to face the complexities of managing a country that her own party has put in the economic and diplomatic toilet. And facing down an oil company CEO to demand more money for her constituents is simply not as difficult as facing down Putin. Amount of experience is only a partial measure, and likely less significant that the quality of that experience.

Elizabeth said...

Hm. Not to quibble in persnickety ways, but I would have sworn that I was the first one to use the term "a pitbull with lipstick" to describe Palin (in the previous thread)... ;)

Cosmic Connie said...

Elizabeth wrote:
"Hm. Not to quibble in persnickety ways, but I would have sworn that I was the first one to use the term "a pitbull with lipstick" to describe Palin (in the previous thread)... ;)"

Elizabeth (and the Anon who referred to "the lipstick portion" of the speech), I believe that Steve's reference to "a pit bull with lipstick" was a reaction to something from Palin's speech last night. She told the crowd she was just yer typical hockey mom, and then she repeated what is apparently an oft-told joke: "What's the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick." Yuck-yuck.

Of course there's always the possibility that Palin's speech writer is lurking on this blog and stole the idea. :-)

Steve Salerno said...

Just for the record, Connie is correct: I took the reference from Palin's own line in last night's speech. Even before the speech, she had already been characterized as a "pitbull" by several politicos, a reputation she earned during her hard-fought days in Alaskan primaries and elections.

Anonymous said...

Too bad Matthew Scully is not running for VP. Let's see how Palin does with...reporters who ask questions. A lot of talking heads gave her a thumbs up, but all pointed out how misleading she was on key points. It's the GOP convention and they are cheering their own. So what? The gloves are off now and Palin dropped the first one by doing such a snarky and "bitchy" speech. I would have gone in a different direction if my house was as dirty as hers. Of course, she can only do that kind of speech. She does not have anything to back her up. I am neither a Republican or Democrat, but I still see Obama as president in November. The country cannot handle a Bush third term.

Mike Cane said...

I watched it on YouTube this morning. I'd rather have Wednesday Addams as V.P.! Stepford Wife, anyone?

I also thought it was one of the snidest political speeches I've seen.

Mike Cane said...

Oh, one key thing. So now that *she* has a "special needs" child, the issue is important to her?

Steve Salerno said...

Mike, I think that's a very good point, although in fairness, I think it applies across the political spectrum. Politicians act as if they discovered these issues--they simply did not exist!--until those issues hit home. And I gotta say--here's another comment that won't win any friends for me--but that's long been one of my criticisms of the "victim's rights movement" in criminal courts. What, you just discovered that there are such things as rape or homicide when it happened to you? It wasn't as serious before? And if you're unusually damaged by having a homicide in your family (and let's face it, who isn't damaged) or maybe just unusually vocal about it, that means the crime itself is more serious, and deserves sterner punishment, than a similar crime perpetrated on a family whose members handle things in a more composed fashion? I know I'm going off-topic a bit, but I don't get that whole notion.

Anonymous said...

"Oh, one key thing. So now that *she* has a "special needs" child, the issue is important to her?"

Yeah, now that she has a pregnant teen is she going to care about them? She cut their funding in Alaska. Kind of ironic in a sad way.

roger o'keefe said...

I would like to ask an honest question that the current climate makes it sound almost uncivilized if not barbaric to ask. If I have worked my tail off to get where I am in life, the way Mike Huckabee described himself and especially his father last night, why is it wrong for me to want to enjoy the fruits of that labor instead of continually sharing it with "those less fortunate" by way of income-redistribution, more politely known as taxes? For over 25 years I have put in 15 hour days and 90 hour weeks to build my business to where I wanted it to be. Yes there are some Americans who are destitute through no fault of their own. And there are also millions of Americans who simply don't want to work, or to make a more subtle distinction don't want to work very hard. Why is the burden of their laziness supposed to come out of my pocket? I thought the whole point of the American dream was to go as far as your individual initiative would take you. If someone else only had enough individual initiative to take him to the poverty level- that's my problem? Also, speaking of "getting it" or "not getting it", do you not "get" the fact that the broader and more inclusive you make the safety net, the less incentive people have to strive?

What do you think killed Communism? You really think it was Reagan yelling at Gorbachev to "tear down that wall"?

Steve Salerno said...

I think that if we leave the overtones of callousness aside--and Rog, you had to expect that--it's a fair question that deserves an uncynical answer. Andybody want in?

Also, to Anon 4:07: "...kind of..."?

RevRon's Rants said...

Roger, I think the most pertinent phrase in your comment is, "the broader and more inclusive you make the safety net, the less incentive people have to strive."

As civilized people, I think we have a responsibility to help those who genuinely need help. Unfortunately, that safety net has been made too broadly inclusive, to the point where it does remove incentive. But I don't believe that we are best served by eliminating our efforts to help, just because there are those who would take advantage of it. Babies & bathwater...

It should be remembered that the "corporate welfare" system places a much greater strain on our resources than does the personal welfare system. We actually provide incentives (if not overtly, then surely with a wink-wink) for corporations to take their operations - or at least, their financial base - out of the jurisdiction of US tax laws. We provide excessive tax breaks to the very industries that are reaping historically high profits. These things don't help small business owners like ourselves, and they darn sure don't help people who are struggling just to remain in the ever-diminishing "middle class."

The thing that always strikes me is that the far right is so quick to profess (and impose) their "Christian values," yet somehow forgets that one of the core principles of those values is that "Whatsoever you do to the least of my brethren, you do it to Me." Of course, that admonition *was* spoken by a liberal. :-)

Steve Salerno said...

In no way is this to be construed as a rebuttal to Roger, but more of a piggyback to the Rev. That's precisely what has always bothered me about the Right, even when I was (loosely) a part of it: It's fine to talk about God and Christian values and such, I suppose...but how do you just blithely ignore that whole "brother's keeper" thing, which, as I understand it, was a pretty important point to the guy for whom Christianity is named....

Anonymous said...

Roger all I can to you is "by the grace of God go I." I hope you never need anything in this world.

Anonymous said...

When will the evangelical right wing realize that Jesus Christ was a "Community Organizer" and Pontius Pilot was of governor?

Dimension Skipper said...

I'm aware that this isn't specifically relevant to this particular thread, but I just thought you and your readers might enjoy a little convention levity...

First: Today's Shoe strip (by Chris Cassatt and Gary Brookins) makes what I think is a (sadly) all-too-truthful observation on both fronts.

Secondly: Ken Levine pointed out what he considers to be the funniest ten seconds of the conventions and I think it would certainly have to be up there.

But as I just commented to Mr. Levine, Terry Moran's statement confuses me...

Obama's first book was Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance while one of McCain's books is Faith of My Fathers. Note the singular personal pronoun with the singular noun "father" in Obama's title, but the odd mix of the same singular personal pronoun in McCain's title with the plural "fathers."

The phrase "My Fathers" makes no sense. Shouldn't it be either "...My Father" or "...Our Fathers"? Did Terry Moran have the right assessment, but apply it to the wrong candidate?

:-)

Steve Salerno said...

First of all, I allowed the comment by Anon 6:09 because I do think it has a point to make. But I really had hoped for responses that were a bit less personal/aggrieved, and a bit more analytical.

DS, you make an interesting point about the books. McCain of course was striving for poesy, in the same sense as, say, Arthur Miller in All My Sons (the central line of which still makes me choke up to this day, every time I hear it). But there's also a little-known fact that comes into play with the title of McCain's book. See, his mother, a Christian evangelical type and a product of abstinence-only education, had been with six different men the night little Johnny was conceived, and so...

I'M KIDDING, PEOPLE. I'm just playing off DS's comment. It's late, and I've been at this a good long while today, and I don't want to hear any remarks about how I'm being disrespectful to poor Roberta McCain. The woman's going to outlive us all, anyway.

Dimension Skipper said...

I must admit you had me going there for a second...


Back on point as far as the thread goes:


FactCheck.org: GOP Convention Spin, Part II
by Viveca Novak, with Brooks Jackson, Jess Henig, Lori Robertson and D'Angelo Gore

Palin trips up on her facts, and Giuliani and Huckabee have their own stumbles on Night 3 of the Republican confab.


PolitiFact.com: FACT SHEET: Are you experienced?
By Angie Drobnic Holan

SUMMARY: We compare the backgrounds of the Democratic and Republican tickets.

Experience has been a popular issue this campaign season. Now that we know who all the players are on the Democratic and Republican tickets, we can tally up their backgrounds.

As we have noted in examinations of the candidates during the primary season, history doesn't provide a very clear record on the relationship between specific types of experience and performance in office. For our purposes, we'll avoid judgments about the value or relevance of the experience in these candidates' backgrounds and simply lay them out.

Anonymous said...

"First of all, I allowed the comment by Anon 6:09 because I do think it has a point to make. But I really had hoped for responses that were a bit less personal/aggrieved, and a bit more analytical."

I was anon 6:09 and I made the comment, because I think the quote is apt. I think Roger voices all that is so sad in our society. I never begrudge anyone making a dime. If it floats your boat, great. At the same token, I do believe that we put into the system, because we never know where we will be at any time. I know of wealthy people who went broke and had to depend on their friends and the government. I know of corporations who get better deals than any public school, but heck who needs education? The American society is doing just fine without it from what I can see. Yes, I am being sarcastic.

I am well-off now, but my mother was once on welfare. I went on to be a productive/TAX PAYING member of society. I have never been on public assistance except for unemployment, but my taxes pay for that. I got student aid to complete college and went on to get a Ph.D. Some thought my mind was a terrible thing to waste. Should I have been thrown in the streets instead?

I am neither a liberal or a conservative. I do not have sheep like mentality. Life is never so black and white. It is always a series of greys.

Now I do not believe a welfare state works, but I also know that a non-compassionate one is no better. I do think as human beings we are better than that, but hey maybe I am naive.

Dimension Skipper said...

Anon 6:09/11:19 -- Well, if you're naive, you're not alone 'cause I'm right there with you. Thank you for stating the perspective so well.

I'd just like to add that too often I'll hear the phrase "Life isn't fair" and it almost always strikes me as a callous way to disregard or justify some perceived inequity in life, usually with the (and perhaps I read too much into it) implication that "we're basically the same and yet I managed to get out of the situation, so you should too and if you can't, well, too bad, not my problem."

It's rarely that simple. And I prefer to believe that as sentient beings capable not only of thinking and feeling, but of imagining and sympathizing with what others think and feel as well, maybe it's a little bit of our Purpose in life to try to make some things just a little bit less unfair.

I would also urge folks to not too quickly jump to the harsh conclusion of "laziness" when looking at others. What is perceived as laziness may be something else entirely and how can you possibly know otherwise?

I could go on and on, but I think it's best to stop there or my comment could swallow the blog!

Anonymous said...

"we're basically the same and yet I managed to get out of the situation, so you should too and if you can't, well, too bad, not my problem."

This is such a true and sad statement. Oddly, it is ironic too. The liberals and conservatives are flips sides of the same coin with that argument. The liberals state, "we are all the same and need to help each other" and the conservatives state "we are all the same and can get up by hard work." The truth is we are both and luck is a major factor in material success. If only someone could put luck in a bottle and sell it.

It cracks me up when I hear how the Republicans are the party of Lincoln. What rubbsih is that? Lincoln would not even recognize the party. If the Republican party was ANYTHING like it was in its conception, I would sign-up posthast. The first Republicans were progressive and about social change. They were radical for their time. The current party is about nostalgia and religious zeal. I will give the GOP an A for consistency, as opposed to the Democrats who base their decisions on CNN polls. They are so busy trying to be all things to everyone, they forgot what their stances on anything are. Here is a typical Democratic idea, "oh the guy in Ohio is a cross-dressing, dog loving, single parent with twenty children. Oh, he is a billionaire? We have a place for him!"

Oh, if life were only as simple as being a Republican or a Democrat. Sigh.

Steve Salerno said...

Well, you could always write in my name. I'd love to run for president (or any serious office) just to see what the negative ads would be. Cracks me up just thinking about it...

Anonymous said...

Democrats need to get over Palin. She is the new shiny thing in the room, introduced to take our attention from things that really matter: the sorry state of our country and the GOP lack of plans to fix it. Put Palin behind and get to business as usual.

Dimension Skipper said...

I just found this as the latest new Snopes item: An Alaskan's Opinion. It's a verified actual opinion piece by an Anne Kilkenny of Wasilla about Sarah Palin.

It's interesting and I have no reason to doubt the things stated as truly being Ms. Kilkenny's views. Of course, that doesn't mean she's correct in those views, only that she indeed has them. I'm sure Ms. Palin and others would take issue with some of the things stated or possibly how they are stated. So take it for what it's worth, only one person's opinions and intrinsically worth no more than yours or mine in theory.

I'm just pointing it out so others can read it if they want to and add it to their personal Palin databases. Or if you just want to go by fake rifle-bearing bikini pics and lipstick-wearing pit bull imagery, well, that's your call...

(I tease, I tease...) ;-)
____________________

Of course, I suppose there's always the possibility that Ms. Kilkenny is simply a "plant" by the Democrats and Snopes didn't detect it. That's the thing about political campaigns anymore... It's so hard to tell who or what to believe. Everything is analyzed and strategized and demographic-ed up the yin-yang. The media seems to spend 90% of their time talking about focus groups, polls, and campaign ploys, 5% talking about trivial non-issues like fashion and hair and then finally 5% about actual issues. Which too often gets glossed over quickly since so much time was wasted on nonsense.

I sometimes wonder how much of my own impressions are generated by actual information and how much is developed because it's "what 'they' want me to believe." Who can tell, really?

I do my best to try to stay informed without making snap judgments or becoming so entrenched in one perspective that I can't at least try to see the flip side. But it's hard to keep up and separate the outright lies from the half truths from the whole truths. This is why I rely on FactCheck.org, Politifact.com, OpenSecrets.org, and Politico.com news feeds (and sometimes Snopes' new items feed as in this instance) for the most current info from supposedly non-partisan perspectives. They do the legwork for me and I can either accept or reject their findings, but usually I just accept'em, not having any evidence to the contrary. It certainly beats having to simply accept a politician at his word.

Without such tools at my disposal I'd be left in the situation whereby whichever politician is speaking, I would probably just assume he's lying and lean towards supporting the other guy—until the other guy starts speaking, that is.

Dimension Skipper said...

Just a minor followup to my prior comment...

Folks can hear Anne Kilkenny for themselves in this 3 minute NPR audio piece titled Letter About Palin Goes Viral. There's nothing re the actual content of her letter, though, it just highlights how she's coping with her sudden celebrity status.

Dimension Skipper said...

I just want to point out this FactCheck.org piece...

Sliming Palin
False Internet claims and rumors fly about McCain's running mate.

There they deal with five specific widespread rumors about Palin, two of which I've often come across so far: her ideas on book banning and the concept of creationism being taught in schools.

Snopes also just recently dealt with the book banning rumor too.

However, the way the episode is being reported I have no doubt that this explanation of that chapter in Palin's life will fail to convince either side of anything.

I will be very curious to read what FactCheck.org comes up with re Ms. Kilkenny's letter as they promise to have more on her Palin claims in the near future ("Soon").
_________________________

Completely away from any such issues, though, this thought just occurred to me: I wonder how long it will be before someone has a book out detailing Ms. Palin's life and whether it will be slanted toward the pro or con side? And can they get it to bookstores before the election? (I have no doubt that some publishers must be vigorously on the prowl for just such a book to churn out.)