September 6, 2009

I'm just amusin' myself here...

I've added some comments to an article by a midget in our local rag. Palin and America's paranoid-style politics, by Geoffrey Dunn:

..."I call it the paranoid style," Hofstadter wrote, "simply because no other word adequately evokes the qualities of heated exaggeration, suspiciousness and conspiratorial fantasy that I have in mind." [You're referring to Jeremiah Wright, I presume?]

In many ways, Hofstadter's prescient essay anticipated the entree of Sarah Palin into contemporary American politics, that last month marked the one-year anniversary of her failed candidacy as the Republican vice presidential nominee. [Failed to become VP. Succeeded hugely in becoming a national leader.] During the past year, the former governor of Alaska has tapped into a narrow, albeit tenacious, strain in the national polity that stretches back to the Salem witchcraft trials of 1692. [Geez, you mean we STILL haven't extirpated those witches? Try harder, folks!]

[...]

Reagan understood the "big tent" concept of the Republican Party and reached out to moderates and disaffected Democrats. For better or worse, he forged a majority coalition that defined American politics for a quarter century. Even Obama paid homage to it in "The Audacity of Hope," in which he acknowledged Reagan's appeal to "the traditional virtues of hard work, patriotism, personal responsibility, optimism and faith." [Hmmm. Why does the word "Wasilla" pop into mind? Just my twisty paranoia no doubt. Of course those are the virtues found in SF and Santa Cruz, not in Neanderthal enclaves like Alaska..]

Palin is all about small ball....
Palin is all about small ball. While she has big personal ambitions, her political vision is both narrow and attenuated. She knows nothing about reaching out, and everything about cutting off. Expand the GOP as Reagan did? [SO, when Reagan "reached out" to all those "Reagan Democrats," he was lauded by Lefties like Dunn, right? Liberals are honest, right? Ha! No, they said about Reagan just what they are saying about Palin now. Probably including quoting Hofstadter!] Hell no. She's all about shrinking it. During her campaign for vice president, she actually refused to appear with Republican leaders who were either pro-choice or differed with her position on oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. [WHAT! She refused to appear with John McCain? What a bigot! And wait a minute? Don't I remember her hugging Joe Lieberman? And appearing with Olympia Snowe? No doubt I'm hallucinating...] The paranoid style is constrictive. [Sure. Just compare the refulgent sunbeams of that "happy warrior" Hillary Clinton with the pinched tight-lipped peevishness of Sarah Palin.]

"Catastrophe or the fear of catastrophe," Hofstadter declared, "is most likely to elicit the syndrome of paranoid rhetoric." [The President's "Green Jobs Czar" just resigned for being a 9/11 Truther, and saying white environmentalists and polluters steer poisons into minority communities. Perhaps that's what Hofstadter has in mind?] Recall Palin's recent Facebook delusions of "death panels" and her characterization of Obama's proposed health care reforms as "downright evil." [Funny how the Senate scurried to remove various Death Panels from their bill immediately after Ol' Small Ball mentioned the nonexistent things...]

While right-wing radio hosts and cable news commentators like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh give voice to the new millennium's paranoid impulse, Palin not only personifies the style, she has franchised it. She is the only political figure in the conservative movement with electoral gravitas. The likes of Newt Gingrich and Mike Huckabee are mere wannabes. They have neither Palin's mojo nor her charisma. [So how can you "personify paranoia" AND have "electoral gravitas?" Somebody's confused.]

Since her emergence on the national political stage, Palin has forged a formidable presence in the American political arena fueled by fear and anger, as when she accused Obama of "pallin' around with terrorists" [Which is exactly what he did.] and not being "a man who sees America like you and I see America." [Which he obviously doesn't.] That there is a racist undertone to the paranoid style quite nearly goes without saying. [Must be true. No Leftist would throw accusations of racism around carelessly, would they?]

In his essay, Hofstadter was careful to distinguish clinical paranoia in an individual from "paranoid modes of expression by more or less normal people." In the case of Palin, this distinction becomes blurred. Ever since her political debut 17 years ago in Wasilla, Alaska, she has embraced the paranoid style as not only a form of communication but, even more importantly, as a means to power. The style has both shaped and defined her entire political career. [Typified by her working with Alaska Dems to fight entrenched corruption in her own party. You can't get more crazy-paranoid than that, right? ]

The paranoid tendency, Hofstadter contended, is "aroused by a confrontation of opposed interests which are (or are felt to be) totally irreconcilable, and thus by nature not susceptible to the normal political processes of bargain and compromise." [Sounds like Lefties talking about President Bush.] Palin is an absolutist. Hers is a win-lose world of political Manichaeism. Everything is black and white, good and evil. [Projection.]

Palin's inability to negotiate political compromise [So how did that pipeline happen? Tooth Fairy?] was definitively confirmed last month in Anchorage when the Alaska Legislature - a body largely composed of Republicans - overrode Palin's veto of an energy component included in the federal stimulus package. It provided a perfect coda to Palin's failed and abandoned governorship. In true paranoid style, she blamed the outcome on everyone else but herself. [And if she didn't stick to her position he'd claim she has no principles!]

The silliest thing is that this guy is apparently writing a book about Palin. He'll sell a bunch of copies around here, you can be sure. Of course he'll have sold his soul by deliberately attempting the personal destruction of another person by spreading lies. But then he knows he doesn't have an immortal soul, because, like, you know, everybody in Santa Cruz knows that!

* Update: Also, this style of Lefty why-can't-today's-horrid-Republicans-be-like-our-great-Ronald-Reagan comments is total crap. When Reagan was actually on the rise people like Dunn said exactly the same sort of stuff about him they say now about Palin. They said he was a far-right fringe kook, and why couldn't he be like the great unifying Republicans of the past.

Actually Palin is more like Reagan than anyone since Reagan. Not in her specifics, but in the ability to talk to ordinary Americans, and remind them of the simple truths they tend to forget under the barrage of life, and the barrage of nihilist propaganda they receive from the news media and the academy. That's why lefties are obsessing over her right now. They know where the danger lies.

x Posted by John Weidner at September 6, 2009 6:41 PM
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