Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Sarah Palin Files, Pt. 20

The McCain campaign, defending their indefensible selection of Sarah Palin(*), has started blaming the proverbial referees by playing the "liberal media bias" card. Please.

(*) Believe it or not, in this context, I'm talking about process more than person.

Talking Points Memo gives the account of how McCain flack Steve Schmidt is inventing shit out of whole cloth:

Now look at this comment from McCain honcho Steve Schmidt to Katie Couric last night: "Members of this campaign went to off-the-record lunches with reporters today, and they were asked if she would do paternity tests to prove paternity for her last child. Smear after smear after smear, and it's disgraceful and it's wrong. And the American people are going to reject it overwhelmingly when they see her."

First of all, that's the first time I've heard anyone in the campaign/political press throw out the notion of paternity tests. So Schmidt is to blame for bringing that issue into the mainstream. If anyone is smearing the candidate, it's Schmidt. This is as cynical a tactic as I've ever seen in politics.

Secondly, how can it be a "smear" if it was during an off the record lunch with McCain campaign aides?

TPM also points to the commentary of Christopher Hayes, the D.C. Editor of The Nation:

One of the most bizarre spectacles in modern politics is watching the Republican Party attempt to reverse engineer the Chris Matthews/Hillary Clinton-in-New-Hampshire-moment as a means of stoking some kind of feminist backlash in favor of their extreme-right-wing, Eagle-Forum friendly, pro-life, creationist candidate. The same one who called Hillary Clinton a whiner when she pointed out the sexism of the coverage she faced.

Time Magazine's Joe Klein, who I usually think is a douche, really nails it here:

Steve Schmidt has decided, for tactical reasons, to slime the press. He wants the public to believe that there is an unfair--sexist (you gotta love it)--personal assault going on against Palin and her family. This is a smokescreen, intended to divert attention from the fact the very real and responsible vetting that is taking place in the media--about the substance of Palin's record as mayor and governor. Sure, there are a few outliers--and the tabloid press--who have fixed on baby stories. That was inevitable....the flip side of the personal stories that the McCain team thought would work to their advantage--Palin's moose-hunting and wolf-shooting, and her admirable decision to have a Down Syndrome baby. And yes, when we all fix on the same story, whether it's a hurricane or a little-known politician, a zoo ensues. But the media coverage of the Palin story has been well within the bounds of responsibility. Schmidt is trying to make it seem otherwise, a desperate tactic.

There is a tendency in the media to kick ourselves, cringe and withdraw, when we are criticized. But I hope my colleagues stand strong in this case: it is important for the public to know that Palin raised taxes as governor, supported the Bridge to Nowhere before she opposed it, pursued pork-barrel projects as mayor, tried to ban books at the local library and thinks the war in Iraq is "a task from God." The attempts by the McCain campaign to bully us into not reporting such things are not only stupidly aggressive, but unprofessional in the extreme.

Honestly, I was intrigued about the questions about whether Trig was really her baby for a moment. When Bristol Palin turned out to be pregnant, and it came to light that not only did Palin oppose anything beyond abstinence-only sex ed curriculum (how's that working out for you?) and also cut funding for programs aimed at helping teen moms get on their feet, I - frankly - delighted in the hypocracy of it all. Maybe that's wrong, because after all, this is a life-altering experience for Bristol Palin - one she likely did not plan for. But I just can't help it - there's nothing like when one of these "holier-than-thou" stone throwers looks around to see that there's nothing but glass walls surrounding them.

But you know what? The hell with all of that.

Put all that on the side, and you still have a candidate with more red flags than the Beijing games! And they concern issues that are undeniably "in play." This woman is a trainwreck, without even involving her personal life. Examining those issues, by the way, the legitimate ones - is not sexist.

No comments: