I have been ruminating on this issue for the last couple of days. I knew it was coming, but I wanted to see just how it played out.
The attacks on Sarah Palin are horrendously sexist and wholly unfair.
The media is making it seem as if the Republican party is eating her alive and is reporting horrendously ridiculous hearsay as fact. They have even abandoned any pretense at calling the ridiculous rumors “alleged” or “supposed.”
The assertion that Palin had no idea that Africa was a continent with several countries, but was a country with several states is hard to believe at best. This woman is a college graduate from a major university, not a college drop out. This woman is a governor of the largest and one of the most important states in the country. This woman debated international relations with one of the most knowledgeable foreign policy experts in the country, Joe Biden, and held her own.
And yet, the media just accepts the word of “unnamed” sources… omitting of the fact that last week a staffer was fired for rumor mongering and alleging that other staffers had made certain comments that were never made.
Sarah Palin came on the national scene with what is arguably the biggest eruption of support of all time. Even Barack Obama’s meteoric rise took the 4 years from the 2004 convention to now. Sarah’s was massive and it was instant. The Republican base rallied around her and loved her like she was the second coming of Ronald Reagan.
Then the media stepped in.
The first interviews Palin had with Katie Couric and Charlie Gibson were bad… really bad. But then the transcripts came out, and three things came to light.
1. Sarah Palin has not yet learned how to speak in a soundbite media world. Her explanations were longer, a bit more meandering, but solid and logical when taken as a whole.
2. The reporters played gotcha games, asking questions that were intended to trap her into statements without allowing for elaboration.
3. The interviews were HIGHLY edited. Palin’s answers were cut and pasted to other questions, qualifiers were deleted, elaborations were eliminated and anything that would make Palin look like a good competent Governor were eliminated… even down to Couric refusing to address her as “Governor Palin.”
The “News” is no longer an unbiased thing. Unbiased Journalism is dead, and has been for a long time. The News is a narrative, it is a story, and it is a story that is intended to garner ratings. Interviews are part of that story too.
I will let you in on a little secret. If you ever watch an “unbiased” interview with someone or read a “fair” article about someone and you come away with a really good or a really bad impression of someone… it is intentional and don’t you ever believe otherwise.
The left wanted Palin to look like a fool… she scared the bejusus out of them, and so the media began the story that Palin was an idiot through disparaging commentary, manipulated interviews, omission of her positives and derision through “parody.” They created a narrative and now it has gone out of control!
John McCain’s loss is now being blamed on Sarah Palin. Totally Ridiculous.
John McCain faced the most unlikely odds of winning the Presidency… well, possibly ever.
John McCain won the Republican nomination for 3 reasons. First, he is a good, honorable man with a long history of service and is universally admired by both sides of the aisle. Second, Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney split the religious and most conservative parts of the Republican base. If not for Huckabee taking votes away from Romney, it is less likely that McCain would have become the nominee. The third reason is that most Republicans realized that McCain was the only one that could have won this election because he was the only one in the field of candidates that could garner votes from the middle… though that did not really translate into support from the conservative base.
The nomination of Sarah Palin was a masterstroke of political maneuvering. Palin instantly ignited the conservative base, divided the traditional democratic bloc of feminists and brought the McCain campaign back into the spotlight.
For the last two months of the primary, once it was obvious that John McCain became the nominee, the Republican side of the election went from being a sideshow to a footnote. McCain was barely garnering back page news and virtually no television coverage, even as he did things and reached out to people as no Republican had done in 40+ years.
In the second and a half it takes to say the name “Sarah Palin” that all changed, and she came out like a fireball… until the media got a hold of her.
Then her support, as planned, began to falter a bit. She went from being loved to well liked by the base, the middle drew back at the wholly unfair caricature that the media portrayed her as being, and the left went into panic mode.
The fact that she fought corruption on both sides of the aisle, that she holds one of the top 5 most powerful Governorships in the country, that she is the Commander In Chief of the only permanently active duty national guard in the country, and that she has the highest approval rating of any governor in the United States… by far, was totally omitted by the media.
The exit poll statistics actually show that, for the people that the VP decision made a difference, Sarah Palin actually garnered a 3-4% boost for McCain. A boost.
The reason that McCain lost was not because of Palin. He really lost because:
1. The absolute and blatant worship and fealty shown to Barack Obama on the part of the media. I wouldn’t even know where to start it was so obvious and shameful. From tingly legs, to greatest speeches of all time that need to be taught in schools, to out and out lies about Palin, to total deletions of positive attributes, to comments such as “the one,” to the total pass given to the Obama/Biden gaffe machine… the bias and lopsided coverage was horrendous. But he almost did.
2. The absolute Iron Albatross of George W. Bush and his administration. An incumbent President of his own party with the lowest approval rating in history is a nearly impossible thing to overcome… but he almost did.
3. Then the economic crash happened. This is what doomed his candidacy. The general public does not understand that the President actually has very little control over the things that happen in the country, but because he/she is the symbol of America and the biggest spokesperson, the President is always the one to blame. The fact that it is really Congress that deals with and manages the minutia of domestic legislation and regulation is totally lost on them. Even though they may consciously understand, unconsciously they need to blame 1 person and not the nebulous “Congress” and so it falls on the shoulders of the President. Besides, the public never expects anything out of Congress, but demands perfection out of the President… thus we get a Congress with a single digit approval rating and yet the onus of the last few years falls to Bush.
4. The conservative/religious right that makes up the base of the Republican party abandoned them. Many of the evangelicals that bothered to vote, in fact, voted for Barack Obama. The conservatives, on the other hand, never really liked McCain that much anyway and didn’t show up at the polls. The turnout in overall numbers were basically the same as 4 years ago, but the numbers of Democrats that showed up and were willing to wait in line to vote far out numbered the Republicans willing to do the same.
The story that the media is not covering is that Barack Obama did not win because he had a mandate from the people, it is because John McCain did not have a mandate from his own party. If you go back and look at the statistics and exit polls, especially in the battlegrounds, you see a distinct weakness in turnout from the base of the Republican party. If the base of the Republican party had turned out in states such as Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, North Carolina, Virginia and Florida in the same numbers they did in 2004, then John McCain would have been President. They did not… not even close.
5. McCain’s campaign staff gave up weeks ago. They decided after the economic crash and the last Presidential debate that there was no way that John McCain was going to win, and they just plain gave up. The effectiveness of McCain’s message dropped like a rock because they stopped crafting arguments. I am going to guess that the campaign staffers were having conflicts with Palin because she is such a fireball and was on the attack, but because there were no finely crafted arguments coming from the campaign, she had to wing it. It was incredibly sad that the most effective argument in the last few weeks of the general election came not from the McCain campaign, but from a plumber that just happened to run into Barack Obama in his driveway. With McCain’s staff in total disarray, they only have themselves to blame… but like Barny Frank and Fannie Mae, they can’t allow it to look like it was their fault.
So why is there a frenzy of attacks on Palin? Well, two reasons really…
1. The left wants her attacked and diminished as much as possible to prevent a possible future as a potent force in national politics. She has the potential to become the next Ron Reagan to the Republicans with the honor of a John McCain. Her future is filled with incredible potential and she could follow the same meteoric path that Barack Obama has, even possibly eclipsing him. That is not something that the left can allow, so they have to diminish her as much as possible and the attacks will only get more vicious in the short term because they no longer have to worry about the immediate rejection of those criticizing her and the immediate impact on votes. They are much more free to become unhinged in their attacks now that the election cycle is over.
2. Part of the Republican Party wants to blame everyone but themselves. They don’t want to admit that they were unable to activate the base or even that they lost the base. They want to blame an external force instead of their utter failure as a party to get things done, and while they cannot turn on John McCain, they unflappable Lion of the party, they can easily turn on Palin… the woman that already has the narrative thanks to the left and to the media.
In short… Sarah Palin is being attacked from the left to prevent her from being a super star and from the right so that they can blame someone other than themselves.
This is cross posted from my blog Texas Hill Country