Tuesday, July 7

The Occupation and Resistance of Sarah Palin

Cynthia Tucker with a little George Will on the side, says what needs to be said regarding Sarah Palin and the public stage. But there's an important subtext in this discussion that is being overlooked.

They are talking about Sarah Palin as a politician. Because that is what she is.

Of course she and a lot of other politicians resist that label, no more politics as usual, those politicians in Washington, you betcha, they are the problem. And yet, Sarah Palin's occupation, at least through the next three weeks or so, is politician. It's a dirty word, akin to used car salesman and prostitute, but the nation perishes that thinks themselves above electing politicians to public office.

You see that in the swearing in today of Al Franken, who also swears he's not going to be funny anymore. I'd like to start an ActBlue fund where we the citizens pay Al Franken five bucks for every joke he gets off on the Senate floor, and twenty bucks for every joke during the Sotomayor hearings. C'mon Al.

But no. He's got a new job. His occupation is now US Senator, and Harry Reid doesn't think fart jokes are funny.

I just listened to Franken take the oath of office, and I suspect Sarah Palin held a Bible and said "faithfully execute" just as he did. Ironic that the comedian seems to take it, um, seriously.

There are good politicians and bad and certainly these days the whole lot of them have a verifiable "corporate soft money whore" label attached to them. It's becoming more and more undeniable every day that Congress represents moneyed interests more than it does their constituents, all of Franken's talk about serving Minnesotans aside. It's going to get a whole lot worse before public financing and real reform happen. I doubt I'll see such in my lifetime, frankly.

But you work with the political system you've got, and it's made up of politicians. The job description of politician, Sarah Palin has taught us by her lack of example, includes basic knowledge of law and history and geography and English diction. It's not sexism to require those qualities in a woman politician, or racism to require them of a Black politician, or elitism to require them of a working-class politician. Those are occupational requirements, just as understanding allergies and blood type is required of a doctor, regardless of gender, race, or background.

But she resists. Palin rails against politicians and "business as usual in Washington" and her followers eat it up.

The thing is? So do we on the Left.


Leftists are waking up to the fact that our President is also a politician. Obama seems committed to maintaining his own power in Washington, at the expense of trailblazing the path towards single payer gay military peace-time weddings for all. I'm not denigrating the goals of the Left by putting it that way. Whether we like it or not, Obama sees the path to reaching any policy goal requires that he maintain political power. The power comes first, then the victory. We Lefties hate that, because we always put being on the right side of an issue higher than getting anywhere toward our political goals.

A fellow blogger had a fit last night via email, because that blogger heard a rumor that possibly abortions would not be covered under the Public Option. I. Just. Winced. All. The. Way. To. Bed. We don't HAVE a public option yet. It's not a sure thing. We have to wait for the insurance companies to fail before single payer is maybe possibly back on the table, but let's pour a heaping cup of the most divisive issue of the past fifty years into the pot right now, because it's so very critical.

Hey Lefty Bloggers, let's stroll over to the Rose Garden, interrupt this conversation below, and ask these two people if they think compromise is for sissies:

Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton watch as President Barack Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak (not pictured) speak at a press conference in the Rose Garden at the White House, June 16, 2009.
(Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Hillary Clinton understood far better than some of her supporters just how tough her opposition would be. The Clintonites still fighting the primary battles insult her and her chosen career with every blog post.

Those waking up from Obama worship need transition time to find their sea-legs with this President. He's a politician. It surprises me not at all that Obama is not rolling back Presidential executive power. Why would he? Unless Bush or at least Alberto Gonzales goes to jail, unless some miracle happens and the public begins to realize that The United States of America is governed by this:

rather than a bunch of politicians....

We may hear pretty speeches on national holidays and campaign trails along those lines, but face it, no politician is ever going to vote for that. That's not in their job description.


  1. This is spot-on. I often mock President Clinton a bit at KIAV as the Great Triangulator, and, it is true, he was to a large extent. But the man did what he could with the political climate as was, especially when it changed so drastically in his second term. Obama in fact has been much more suave than Clinton was upon first entering the White House and because of that I believe he'll end up accomplishing a hell of a lot more for progressives. Good one, Blue! Thanks!

  2. i still think Obama is cute, and that is certainly why i voted for him.

    however, i never quite got the idea that some folks seemed to think that they were electing Abby Hoffman or whatever....

    the guy is a Liberal. he's a centrist, and he's going to govern center-center-right. he's not a dictator.... he's not going to get everything his way.

    he was against the war in Iraq, but he's not a pacifist.

    the majority of Americans had far less trouble with the invasion of Afghanistan after 9/11 than they did the invasion of Iraq. and now the majority perception is that Afghanistan is where the bad guys are that attacked us, even though it is not that simple and it is quite unclear what we are going to do with the truck after we catch it... woof woof.

  3. Sarah Palin never does anything without a motive or a hidden agenda.. That said, hang in.. I don't always agree with you, or anyone.. your blog is always fun to read, and I think you throu a good prospective on very pertanent issues.. Thanks

  4. but let's pour a heaping cup of the most divisive issue of the past fifty years into the pot right now, because it's so very critical.

    I'm sorry you're squeamish about this but it is, in fact, very critical. Further, I can't really tell what point you're arguing here. Are you saying that we construct a public option, which is already a poor compromise from single-payer, then decide what's in our compromise, and then give away our reproductive rights?

    Because: no. No.

  5. Tata I'm saying, particularly with this issue, don't throw gas on a flame until you know what you're burning.

    We are going to have to work out what's covered and what isn't, sure. For instance, I don't want public option to pay for Arianna's botox injections.

    I'm also not going spend one minute this summer getting into an abortion rights versus free-abortion-on-demand rights argument here. And I don't think Congress should, either.

    But here's the deal: if Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh get to call Public Option a baby killer option we're politically done.


    I wouldn't be surprised at all if some cunning insurance lobbyist floated that rumor just to run the public plan off the rails. It just might work.

  6. A further thought/question:

    I don't know the answer to this, so I'll ask. Does private insurance pay for abortions, usually? Those dicks at Blue Cross did pay 100% for my tubal ligation, and before that 100% for my diaphragm, and even had a schedule where I could replace my diaphragm regularly at no cost.

    I remember one congressional committee raking some insurance companies over the coals for covering Viagra and not covering birth control, and I think that changed some policies, but my memory is fuzzy on that.

    Does anyone currently have a policy of any kind that covers abortions where it's not a life-of-the-mother kinda thing?

  7. Okay I went and looked it up:

    Q. Where can I get a free abortion?
    A. Although you may be able to receive financial assistance from local or national abortion funds, it is unusual to obtain care cost-free. Call the NAF Hotline for more information on funding assistance.

    Q. Does insurance cover the cost of an abortion?
    A. Almost two-thirds of insurance companies cover elective abortion to some degree. Contact your insurance company to find out if you are covered.

    Q. Does military insurance cover the cost of an abortion?
    A. At this time, military health plans cover abortion only in cases of life endangerment.

    Q. Does Medicaid or other state-assisted health insurance cover the cost of an abortion?
    A. Medicaid is only required to cover abortion in cases of rape, incest, or life endangerment. However, some states do cover abortion as part of their Medicaid policies.

    So it looks like Federal Government doesn't ordinarily pay for elective abortions. We could get into an argument about whether any abortion is actually elective, but you'd be splitting hairs with a member of your own pro-choice choir here, and I really don't have time for that. Search for "abortion" at my blog I've written plenty.

  8. O'Reilly's going to be all over that by dinnertime tonight. You've bargained away the repro rights of the people the plan is supposed to cover without a fight.

    Game, set, match for the forced birthers.

  9. Plainly, it's difficult for those (of us) with serious problems and issues to contend with in our lives to let go of the Hope that President Obama will make right everything that's wrong with this country, especially the things he promised to address during his campaign. My daughter and daughter-in-law would sorely love to not be treated as second-class citizens, and had an expectation that our First Black President would step up to the plate for them (Lord knows THEY work tirelessly for that!) And with pre-existing health issues, my Gurrrl can't get reasonably priced health insurance which does anything for her.

    Despite the fact that we ALL have our "flagship issues," I agree completely with you, 'Gal - we need to get chunks of this done, show that the sky hasn't fallen, then get back in there for more.

    Obama is indeed a politician, and might well get us farther with compromise than with unbending insistence on what would qualify as my ideal platform.

    Besides, he's President of ALL THE PEOPLE, even the dumb ones, not just us Progressives!

  10. And I really don't see this changing.

    Some of us want to have our organic cake made from eco-friendly free-range products and to eat it too and I'm afraid that's not how it works.

  11. Anonymous7:57 PM

    fabulous post! i too wish things could move faster, but i try to keep in mind how much has been done. i love the blog. keep up the good work.


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