Monday, September 01, 2008

OK, I am now officially sick of the treatment of Sarah Palin

As long as it was only a few irresponsible loony left blogs, I could ignore it, but now it's in Mainstream Media like the TIMESONLINE , and showing up in news aggregators like Breitbart.com and Drudge.

Let's take the biggie: Trig is really Bristol's son, not Sarah's, a filthy little piece from Daily Kos . The sole and only "evidence" is photos in which Sarah didn't "look" pregnant, and Bristol did. Even our own Chalice Spark , Ms. Kitty , and Steve Caldwell (by way of comment on Ms. Kitty's) didn't know what to think. I don't like to speak ill of my peers, but come on- it took less than five minutes of Googling to render the story, in the Times words, "utterly unfounded", little things like the photo showing Bristol "pregnant" was published in the Anchorage Daily News in 2006, (making hers the world's longest human gestation), and photos of Sarah taken from the side rather than the front, which showed considerable bulge. Ye Gods, people, I'm not the world's best researcher, and yet it took me less time to find those than it probably took to write the blogs saying "I don't know what to think."

Then there's the speculation as to the cause of Trig's Downs Syndrome. When someone pointed out in the Daily Kos comments that their theory was unlikely because the odds of an under 20 having a Downs child were 1:2,000 while the odds of an over 40 were 1:10, it was suggested that the cause, and the reason for the cover up, was that Bristol's child was the result of incest. OK, I don't expect any better out of Daily Kos. But I was dumbfounded when Alan Colmes suggested that it was caused by improper prenatal care, a result of Sarah running around giving speeches. After receiving complaints, the page was taken down, but you can see a snapshot here .

Then of course there's the "VPILF" thing- 23,800 entries in a Google search. (If you're unaware, it stands for Vice Presidents I'd Like to Fraternize with. sort of.) Not as vicious as the son/grandson thing to be sure, merely degrading and undignified... but the interesting thing is that the domain name vpilf.com was taken out two months ago , just in case she was picked. And even they weren't the best prepared- you can already buy VPILF shirts, hats, mugs, magnets, jackets, etc.

I am flabbergasted. Governor Palin hasn't earned this level of enmity through years of bitter fighting... the Kos thing was posted 21 freaking hours after the announcement. The Alan Colmes thing, 22 hours. Nobody works that fast- are we now at the level of preparing files of vitriol in advance on every politician alive so they can be instantly savaged if they enter the national arena? Are we now prepared to make pre-emptive strikes against sixteen year old girls to drive their parents out of the race? For all those who have not yet raised their voice in outrage, let me say that I hope you enjoy what you will hear over the next ten weeks- I know I won't.

31 comments:

Bill Baar said...

...and don't think a lot of this isn't organized by the folks at Obama HQ on Michigan Ave.

They organized the call in to shut down Milt Rosenberg's interview with Stanley Kurtz on the Chicago Annenberg Challange work Obama did with Bill Ayers.

Steve Caldwell said...

Of course, during this year's political season, Senator Obama has had to defend himself from charges that he doesn't love America and his wife has had to defend herself from charges that she used an anti-white racial epithet.

And you're shocked that the trend to engage in this sort of rumor-mongering has spread to the left-wing blogosphrere.

This trend started in the conservative media in the 1990s involving Vince Foster, the Clintons, drug deals in Arkansas, etc.

In 2004, Senator Kerry was smeared with charges that he (and apparently other US naval officers) somehow lied on his combat-related medal paperwork.

I would rather have an issue-oriented campaign but somehow our political cultures come back to trivial issues like the bogus claim that Senator Gore somehow claimed to "invent" the internet instead of real policy issues.

I guess we can thank the conservative media voices for creating this political culture.

Brian said...

I agree. Disgusting and despicable. And one can only hope that crap like this doesn't affect the minds of people in the voting booth, in which case why on earth do it?

On the other hand, this has been part of presidential politics in the US for 200+ years (see Jefferson, Lincoln, etc, etc) not to mention Bush vs McCain 2000.

Which brings me to my second point. For the party of Atwater and Rove, "as you sow, so shall you reap". I think Democrats are sick of being only on the receiving end of this and don't see it stopping anytime soon. And have waded in. In all though, they still have a much more amateurish, over the top touch (Willie Horton and Obama=Britney are far more likely to sway voters than this).

Joel Monka said...

Yeah, I know, Repub;icans are monsters, Democrats are pure victims, and forcing a girl to admit in international news that she had a pot belly at 15 and is pregnant at 17 is proper revenge for the impeachment of Bill. But you know, every time the issue of Israel launching a revenge strike comes up here, I'm told that striking back only perpetuates the cycle of violence... I'm told that one of the worst things about American misadventures is all the collateral damage done... but I guess here in the UU blogospher, where I've read that reason meets religion, all those high principles are recognized as not suited for the real world.

As far as how the voters are going to take it, who do you think will gain more sympathy: a tough, capable Presidential candidate who chose to be there and is more than able to dish out as much as he gets... or a troubled 17 year old girl who had no idea she was going to be an international talking point?

P.S. I could be wrong, but I don't think Bristol Palin had anything to do with the Obama emails, the Vince Foster rumors, the impeachment, or the swiftboats.

Robin Edgar said...

Gotta love how those and other U*Us just fall all over themselves to affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of Sara Palin, her daughter Bristol, and her grandaughter Trig's inherent worth and dignity eh Joel? I was planning to comment on this further evidence of the cattiness of the U*Us but you beat me to it Joel. Bravo!

Robin Edgar said...

BTW I am pretty sure that Steve Caldwell knew what to think Joel. . .

Steve Caldwell said...

Joel,

Before you get all self-righteous about this, keep in mind the GOP smear that Dubya's campaign did on McCain in the 2000 GOP primary -- a "push poll" to spread the rumor that McCain had fathered an illegitimate black child (McCain's adopted daughter is a naturally dark-skinned child from Bangladesh):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whispering_campaign#Use_in_politics

Or perhaps you can dig up McCain's comments about Chelsea Clinton's appearance and who her father was back in 1998:

http://www.crooksandliars.com/2008/02/09/john-mccains-crude-chelsea-clinton-joke/

This is the modern rumor-mongering political climate we've inherited.

I think we can place a large share of the blame for this on the modern conservative media (e.g. right-wing pundits, right-wing talk radio, right-wing bloggers, etc) and conservative political figures (e.g. Dubya and his Rovian handlers, Dubya's political heirs, etc).

Robin Edgar said...

I might add that the cattiness of the U*Us remains very evident even if the allegations about Trig being Bristol's baby turn out to be well-founded. I even saw one U*U blogger suggesting that being ProLife for Downe's Syndrome babies was some kind of crime against humanity or something. Of course Unitarians were on the cutting edge of the eugenics movement way back when. . . How is my judgment doing today Joel?

Steve Caldwell said...

Robin -- my comment on the Palin-related Cafepress t-shirt was really no different from the political humor one finds on The Daily Show or The Colbert Report in terms of harshness.

Please note that I'm not making any claims to being as funny as these TV comics.

I think you're looking for outrage where it doesn't exist.

Robin Edgar said...

This is just one small part of the malicious rumor-mongering religious climate that Unitarian*Universalist U*Us have created Steve. Maybe you would care to explain how U*Us can place a large share of the blame for that and other examples of malicious rumor-mongering on the modern conservative media. . .

Robin Edgar said...

Steve,

The fact that you saw fit to make that post on your U*U blog speaks volumes.

I don't believe I said anything about "outrage", or indeed "harshness".

"Cattiness" will do for now. . .

You *did* know what to think when you posted that didn't you?

Allah prochaine,

The Dagger of Sweet Reason

Robin Edgar said...

Oops!

Forgot the traditional PB2U*Us bit. ;-)

Robin Edgar said...

It might interest U*Us to know that, long before this most recent outbreak of catty U*U gossip, I once displayed a picket sign slogan that said -

A "CHURCH" WHERE MALICIOUS GOSSIP IS CONDONED

or something like that. . . It was in response to a sermon titled 'Good Gossip' by that purveyor of U*U malicious gossip Rev. Ray Drennan of the Unitarian Church of Montreal, but referred to malicious gossip spread by U*Us that went well beyond his own considerable contribution to U*U malicious gossip.

Joel Monka said...

Steve, I don't give a damn what McCain said- I'm not voting for him anyway. I don't give a damn who "started it." I'm concerned about a situation where this kind of bullshit gets international ink. Not even the announcement of Bristol's pregnancy has stopped it- here's how far they're going:

"Nothing has changed the stink hanging over the circumstances surrounding Trigs birth.
- Who's to say the (2nd) pregnancy won't "fail"? - Who's to say the (2nd) pregnancy is five months along but say, I dunno, three? - Who's to say the (2nd) pregnancy wasn't a result of Mom forcing Bristol and daddy together? - Who's to say a (2nd) immediate pregnancy wasn't planned to create cover for the lie and allow Bristol to care for Trig as well without causing gossip.
As is typical, cover-ups always snowball.
Lies beget lies, which is not a good thing in a prospective VPOTUS."

OK. Republicans started all this years ago; Democrats are pure as the driven snow would be if Republicans weren't polluting the air. But here are the results:

1. A young woman and her equally young husband to be get to start their lives in a public firestorm.
2. McCain has received $Ten Million in two days- better than he's ever done in a month- and it's still pouring in.
3. Obama has been forced to issue a statement on the issue- the only time he's made the news since Palin was announced.
4. Obama got no convention bounce whatsoever, and will be at best the third story after the hurricane and the Republican convention- he's frozen out of the news for a critical week, two weeks if the second hurricane hits as well.

Which of these was the good thing?

Robin Edgar said...

2. was a good thing for John McCain. Maybe his choice for VP was shrewder than U*Us give him credit for. . . ;-)

Chalicechick said...

Steve,

I'm with Robin, actually. The shirt was bad enough. What you said about it was just disgusting.

Joel,

After the Hillary Clinton urinal cakes, nothing shocks me.

CC

Joel Monka said...

I'd forgotten about the urinal cakes, but still, bad as it was, it was an attack on an adult who had put herself in the arena. Even the attacks on Chelsea were dogleg attacks on Hilary. Hurtful as being called ugly is, it's less hurtful than having it said you're carrying your brother's baby, and he's being sent to Iraq to shut it up.

Chalicechick said...

McCain's joke that Chelsea was so ugly because Janet Reno was her Dad seems pretty equivilent to me.

CC

Joel Monka said...

I don't think so. Since it's not possible that Janet was really her father, the "joke" is clearly a reference to the rumors about Hilary's bisexuality. Nasty as it is- and it IS nasty- Chelsea is involved only tangentially.

On the other hand, serious non-joking speculation that Trig was conceived in an act of incestuous child molestation- something that tragically DOES happen- lowers it to a whole new sub-basement in my opinion. Were I her older brother, I'd be hurt and angry. How Bristol felt I can't really imagine.

Steve Caldwell said...

Joel,

As a conservative, I find it fascinating that you're shocked to find the political discourse has sunk to these depths in the US.

Your comments remind me of Captain Renault's line in Casablanca:

"I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!"

Conservative bottom-feeding in our political culture has been happening for years.

I'm not surprised that some liberals are attempting the same game after being hit with it for so many years.

But I'm surprised that the negativity in the political culture surprises or shocks you since it was created by conservatives.

The recent liberal attempts are simply flattery by imitation.

Steve Caldwell said...

CC wrote:
-snip-
"The shirt was bad enough. What you said about it was just disgusting."

CC and Robin,

How is what I said about the reason for Sen. McCain's selection of Gov. Palin any different from Stephen Colbert's "sexy librarian" comment on his show?

You can view Colbert's and Stewart's comments online here:

http://www.crooksandliars.com/2008/08/30/stewart-colbert-mock-sarah-palin-vp-choice/

My brief comment was not as funny as the Colbert or Daily Show comments but they were intended in the same spirit.

Robin Edgar said...

Cattiness? ;-)

Joel Monka said...

Steve,

I could play your game; I could ask you how many times a Democratic candidate was accused of covering up incest and child molestation, for example. To my experience, family has only been included in the muck when they inserted themselves into the discussion (remember "co-President", and "two for one"?); this is new. But I'm not going to spend the next two weeks swapping anecdotes because that's not the point.

There are two issues I was angry about and writing about. First, there have always been bottom feeders, but now the bottom feeders are mainstream- CNN is still repeating the "Sarah is not the mother" theory today, long after it was debunked. (Monday) Second, if floating these stories and using the families for political attacks is the act of bottom feeders- your words, not mine- then we now have Unitarian Universalist ministers and Religious Educators who are bottom feeders. That isn't new? That doesn't bother you?

We are supposed to be the voice of reason in religion, aren't we? Do you really think it's ok for people in positions of trust and leadership in our movement to float such stories without corroboration- or even a ninety second Google search? Do you really see no difference between saying "Her pro-life positions make her wrong for the Vice Presidency," and "I bet her daughter is pregnant because pro-life whacko's don't tell their kids where babies come from."? We have UU professionals saying Governor Palin should stay home with her kids. Hells bells... few have ever accused me of raging feminism, but it would never have occurred to me to tell a governor of a sovereign state that a woman's place was in the home.

And here you are defending, and yes, participating in this crap, saying "Mommy, he hit me first." You have no problem with ever-escalating blood feuds and savagery. Ye Gods, we're supposed to be the good guys. I thought the reason we had religious based blogs was because we were supposed to be the ones discussing morals and ethics in public life. If we wanted to be bottom feeders, we could just post on DK.

Damn it, I really believe this stuff. I knew that put me in a minority in the political world- but I didn't think it would put me in the minority here.

Chalicechick said...

Word, Joel.

CC

Chalicechick said...

If it helps, I learned the "incest" rumor from you. I hadn't heard it anyplace else and googling around with Palin's name and "incest" reveals MANY more references to Palin being against abortion in the case of incest than it does references about the possibility of incest in Palin's family and most of those folks seem to be kidding.

CC

Joel Monka said...

Actually, it does help- I didn't know which of the sewerpipe blogs who learned what from. I'm glad it's not an easy Google. Maybe the reason Senator Obama seemed so angry was that he had seen some of the nastier ones I had.

Chalicechick said...

I think Senator Obama's own mom, who was eighteen when she got pregnant with him, makes all this pretty personal for him.

I really like him more than I ever have before. He seems really sincere that he wants people to leave the poor kid alone.

Yes, it could be that he's silently winking his approval. But it doesn't seem that way. He didn't have to bring up his mama and threaten to fire people. He seems to have gone well beyond the minimum.

If only our UU blogger buddies had so much class.

CC

Joel Monka said...

Word.

Jaume de Marcos Andreu said...

Shouldn't we all be more concerned about how many civilians may be killed in Iraq and Palestine if McCain is elected, than about the sex that the vicepresident's daughter is having with her boyfriend and the natural results of some bad sex education?

Robin Edgar said...

As you know Joel. Your good friend Rev. Victoria Weinstein aka Peacebang really put her foot in it here. I was rather more hard hitting in my response to her hypocrisy. Here is my no punches pulled response to Peacebang's outrageously hypocritical U*U BS about Bristol Palin, or any other minor who finds herself to be pregnant for that matter -

Let’s see now Rev. Weinstein. . .

If your convicted rapist parishioner Richard Buell had managed to impregnate the preteen girls (dare I say children?) that he was convicted of forcibly raping, one of whom was reported to be “a female family member”. . . and would have been “between 6 and 10 years of age” at the time of the “incident”, they would no longer be children?

Who knows? Perhaps you’re right. . .

Who the hell are you to tell Senator Joe Biden, or anybody else, to “be careful of our rhetoric”?!

Robin Edgar said...

Jaume old boy. . .

It seems that your own direct personal experience of U*U "democratic processes" has gone to your head a bit. The Republican Presidential candidate Senator John McCain has not actually been elected as President of the United States yet, so Bristol Palin is not as yet "the vicepresident's daughter". Of course I do understand how you and other ever so democratically (s)elected U*Us might have some difficulty grasping this fundamental concept of democracy. ;-)

Try again in November. . .