Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) appeared to be joking this morning when he told CBS that he thought Mitt Romney should pick former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate. Palin was McCain’s famed VP pick in his own 2008 presidential bid, and cited by many as one of the reasons he lost. McCain has endorsed Romney.
“I think it should be Sarah Palin,” McCain told CBS’ This Morning, laughing. He then listed other possible picks — Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), and Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R). Watch it:
If McCain was joking, it’s both an admission of his own error in judgment for picking Palin in 2008, and a sleight against the former Alaska Governor-turned-TV-celebrity.
Both before and after their founder’s death, Andrew Breitbart’s entertainment site, Big Hollywood, was making hay (and presumably garnering pageviews) by complaining about the presentation of Sarah Palin in HBO’s movie adaptation of Game Change. Now, one of Palin’s strongest Hollywood defenders, filmmaker Stephen Bannon, has been named one of the people who will steward Breitbart’s stable of publications: he’s a founding board member of Breitbart News and now will become executive chairman of the company.
It’s not entirely clear what the change in leadership will mean for the fiscal health of the company or for Big Hollywood’s coverage in particular. It’s had to imagine that any one person, much less any set of people, will be able to neatly replace Breitbart as an enthusiastic fundraiser or as a public face of the brand. The Undefeatedmade just $100,085 at the box office, and Bannon’s other movies haven’t exactly set the world on fire. Big Hollywood already devotes considerable space to the complaint that Hollywood isn’t responsive to conservative values and is leaving a substantial conservative market untapped. Whether Bannon’s elevated role in the company increases the volume of those complaints or provides new perspective on them remains to be seen.
Earlier in the week, I wrote that we could probably save our time and breath by not wasting time condemning Kirk Cameron for, totally unsurprisingly, telling the world he disapproves of gay people. On a larger scale, the exact same thing is true of Sarah Palin. Once a potentially powerful figure in the Republican party, she’s become an entirely conventional low-level media personality. The only reason there’s any sense that she is a more important figure is because Sarah Palin and the people around her are genius trolls, masters at turning everything into an opportunity for grievance and another shot at inclusion in the news cycle—even if the possibility of dominating it is long past. The latest voluminous fuel for their fire? HBO’s Game Change, an adaptation of and expansion on the sections of the book by the same name that explore John McCain’s late-breaking selection of Palin to be his running mate in the 2008 election, and the unraveling of the campaign that followed. For the past several weeks, complaining about the movie’s taken up almost as much oxygen in the conservative media criticism industry as Rush Limbaugh’s self-destruction, even though the latter act is of far greater import in American politics.
Which is funny, because the movie doesn’t particularly deserve it. This is not to say it’s good. Julianne Moore’s Palin impersonation is dandy, but for most of the movie, Game Change mostly feels like a very high-minded episode of Saturday Night Live: you’re mostly comparing the impressions and the reality in a way that doesn’t let you enter the narrative, a process that’s not aided by the less-than-naturalistic dialogue.
But most importantly, the only way this exhaustingly-trod story could have been genuinely revelatory is if it had any insight into Palin’s personality. But except for a single scene where Palin breaks down while talking to her son Track, who is deployed overseas, Game Change has next to no interest in translating a woman whose motivations and worldview have been infuriatingly indecipherable to large swaths of the American electorate. Instead, it zips through a cycle of emotions dominated, in this retelling of the narrative, by Steve Schmidt and Nicole Wallace: excitement that they’d found a potential star, dismay that she wasn’t living up to expectations, and then a sense of oracular satisfaction that they saw Palin was awful before most other people did. it’s a weirdly self-satisfied—and self-justifying—narrative.
And that attitude, more than anything else about this oddly overdue project, is what makes Game Change frustrating. Sarah Palin has everything to lose and precisely nothing to gain from depictions that point her, as Game Change does at various point, as an overzealous evangelical Christian; a dummy; defiant of authority; or even as a horror movie monster, raging against her advisers in a claustrophobic stairwell. And those of us who dislike Palin have everything to gain by recognizing that we really, truly won: Palin’s gone from the national stage. And her fiasco of a campaign has guaranteed that if Republicans nomination someone who is ludicrously underinformed, grievance-driven, and prone to wacky policy positions, they’ll do it through a highly-vetted process that likely exposes that person to the American electorate over an extended period of time. We should accept that, be done with the victory dance, and get down to examining the next generation of plausible Republican rising stars. The greatest damage we could do to Sarah Palin—and one of the better things we could do for ourselves—is to move on from her, totally and irrevocably.
Sean Hannity brought Sarah Palin on his Fox News show yesterday to continue his discussion from the night before over the biggest non-story of the week — a video of President Obama from his days at Harvard Law School.
But during their discussion, Palin opened up a new front in her attack of President Obama, apparently suggesting America’s first black president wants to return to the days “before the Civil War”:
Now, it has taken all these years for many Americans to understand that that gravity, that mistake, took place before the Civil War and why the Civil War had to really start changing America. What Barack Obama seems to want to do is go back to before those days when we were in different classes based on income, based on color of skin.
The “different classes” system Palin seems to be referring to is perhaps better known as slavery.
The entire conversation is based on the mischaracterization of Derrick Bell, a pioneer in legal scholarly work. Bell was the first tenured black professor at Harvard Law School, and the video that Hannity insists is a scandal shows Barack Obama, then a student, speaking at a rally in support of Professor Bell. Students and faculty were protesting to urge Harvard to hire more minority faculty.
Palin Calls Afghans ‘Savages’ |
In an interview with Greta Van Susteren scheduled to air tonight, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) criticized President Obama for apologizing to “savages in Afghanistan.” All three leading Republican presidential have attacked the president for apologizing for the accidental Quran burning on an an American base, and in the interview, Politico reports Palin picked up that theme and went a bit farther:
“We’re a very pro-military state up here. We recognize what it is that our men and women sacrifice for all of us to keep us secure. And at this point, we’re watching Obama with his naïve apologies to savages in Afghanistan who turn around and kill our soldiers,” she said, in an apparent reference to the president’s recent apology to Afghan President Hamid Karzai for the unintentional burnings of Qurans at a U.S. military base in Afghanistan.
Former Gov. Sarah Palin and her camp may be raking in media hits by complaining about the portrayal of Palin in HBO’s upcoming movie about the 2008 presidential election, an adaptation of Game Change. But Hollywood seems to be giving more than it’s taking away from the Palin family lately: Bristol Palin’s just inked a deal with Lifetime to do a new reality series, following in her mother’s footsteps. The show promises “never-before-granted access to Bristol’s real-life experiences growing into womanhood, Bristol Palin: Life’s a Tripp will reveal how she adjusts to her life in Alaska, where daily she faces the many pressures of raising her toddler son Tripp alone and maintains the close relationship she holds with her parents.”
And Palin, more than any other member of her family, ought to have been the draw: she was the one who was rocketed to national prominence and national controversy. If she didn’t exactly turn into a television star, even when she was given a couple of chances in a couple of different formats, it’s hard to see why there’d be a strong market for a show about a second-tier member of the family whose main prior accomplishment in the entertainment industry is a stint on Dancing With the Stars and a novelty appearance on The Secret Life of the American Teenager. For all the Palins complain about the way Hollywood treats them, the industry certainly seems generous about continuing to cut them paychecks.
This morning brought two new signs that the economy is improving: a four-year low in weekly unemployment claims and record profits at GM, which was nearly left for dead just a few years ago until intervention by the Obama administration saved it. But where most see good news, some conservative see danger — and a secret media plot.
Appearing on Fox News this morning, Sarah Palin said she doesn’t believe the good job numbers:
PALIN: The media is reeling these numbers, that I do not believe are accurate, when it comes to jobs. I still think it is a jobless recovery that is affecting America right now. … So that 8.3 percent unemployment number is an indicator to President Obama and to his allies in the media to make it look like things are getting better.
Meanwhile, displaying characteristic cognitive dissonance, the cast of Fox and Friends — which previously wondered if the Labor Department was “cooking the books” on jobs data — tried their hardest to find the dark lining in the silver cloud. Co-host Steve Doocy discredited GM’s success because it helped unions, while co-host Eric Bolling questioned the means of saving GM: “We usurped the constitution, we usurped free-market capitalism” to do so. As for claims that the bailout saved jobs by saving GM, Bolling offered a ridiculous counter-factual to explain why Obama deserves no credit:
BOLLING: I don’t buy the argument that we saved jobs cause those jobs weren’t going to go overseas anyway. There was just going to be another company, maybe not called GM, it may have been called Ford, who did not take a dollar in bailout money.
As The Economist, which was initially opposed to the bailout, points out today, even Ford worried the entire auto industry would implode if GM were allowed to fail, so it’s unclear why Bolling is so convinced that every person employed at GM today would still have a job without the bailout.
But Doocy really gave away the game a moment later when he said, “We just have done two business stories that are good for the president of the United States…Now here’s some bad news for president of the Untied States,” turning to high gas prices, just as Palin did.
The suggestion that falling unemployment and that the revival of a major American auto-maker is good for Obama, and not, say, the country as a whole, and that rising gas prices are bad for Obama, and not, say, every driver in America, illuminates the Fox News world view which politicizes everything from jobs to Christmas in a nihilist effort to tear down the president.
Good news is bad news for the conservative echo chamber, as it undermines the narrative they’ve doggedly constructed of the past three years that president Obama is bad for the economy.
Perhaps it’s just that, as Comedy Central host Steven Colbert noted, facts have a “liberal bias.”