Palin-Beck 2012? Sarah says maybe

She'll never be U.S. president, but her star power ought to scare the hell out of her charisma-free GOP rivals

Topics: 2012 Elections, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin,

Palin-Beck 2012? Sarah says maybe

First, let me apologize for telling you all I had Palin fatigue on Monday, and then following up by writing about Palin the next two days. I kept one promise; I’ve kept the term Palinpalooza out of our news coverage.

But the Palin assault keeps getting more surreal, and more intriguing. Wednesday night came the news that Palin wouldn’t rule out the idea of Fox News host (and professional paranoid) Glenn Beck as a possible 2012 running mate.

Newsmax reporter David Patten says Palin “chuckled” when he broached the idea, but then gave Beck his props:

“I can envision a couple of different combinations, if ever I were to be in a position to really even seriously consider running for anything in the future, and I’m not there yet,” Palin told Newsmax. “But Glenn Beck I have great respect for. He’s a hoot. He gets his message across in such a clever way. And he’s so bold — I have to respect that. He calls it like he sees it, and he’s very, very, very effective.”

Once again, I agree with Palin: Beck is indeed a “hoot” and he’s very, very, very effective, at lying about President Obama and whipping his paranoid base into a deluded frenzy. So what is she doing: trying to sell books to that same base — a nice potential book market but a sliver of the electorate — or genuinely charting her 2012 course?

Judging by Palin’s erratic behavior on this book tour, and her erratic handle on the truth within the book, it’s honestly hard to tell. I think, as I said Monday, she is first and foremost about Sarah Palin Inc., becoming rich and powerful, but that may well be a path to Sarah Palin 2012. I will say it again: She will never be our president. But I can’t rule out her being the 2012 Republican nominee.

When you look at the charisma-free roster of likely GOP candidates — from 2008 has-beens Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and “I was for trying terrorists in NYC before I was against it” Rudy Giuliani, to that hunka-hunka burning boredom Tim “T-Paw” Pawlenty — it’s easy to see Palin creaming them. On the other hand, they might spend a lot on opposition research and/or get whatever Levi Johnston claims to have. Either way, the only person I see derailing Palin from the GOP nomination in 2012 is Palin herself.

And that’s still quite possible. Whether you seriously care about policy or politics, she’s a train wreck. I doubt she’s silly enough to seriously consider someone as deranged as Glenn Beck as her running mate; I give her enough credit to assume that was just chicken-fried red meat for her base. But just look at her soliloquy on why her hateful and false claims about “death panels” are just like Ronald Reagan’s rhetoric about the Soviet Union as an “evil empire.” Here’s what she told ABC’s Barbara Walters, in all its syntactical, self-deluding glory. She admitted there are no death panels in Obama’s plans, but goes on:

“It’s kind of like what Reagan used to do, though, when he talked about, say, the ‘evil empire.’ You’re never going to find the evil empire on a map of the world … And yet he talked about that, in terms that people could understand — kind of rationing down, not complicating the issue. [Just a question, does she mean "ratcheting down?" My head hurts.]

“But he, with the issue of the evil empire at the time, used those two words to get people to shake up, wake up, find out what’s going on here. Now, had he been criticized and, and mocked, and, and condemned for ever using a term that wasn’t actually there on a map, or in documents, we probably would never have succeeded in, in crushing the evil empire, and winning that.”

Dear Baby Jesus, where should I start? First of all, let me defend Ronald Reagan (despite global warming, hell keeps freezing over!): He did not mean the Soviet Union was literally an “evil empire” you could find on a map. It was his opinion, a turn of phrase, and well within the bounds of political rhetoric; there were many evil things about the way Soviet leaders treated dissidents, Jews, minorities, anyone who dared to differ from their dreary party line. So Palin’s wrong in the way she depicts Reagan’s “evil empire” argument.

Of course she’s also wrong about the way the political world greeted that argument. Reagan was, in fact, widely “criticized” and “condemned” and probably even mocked for using the term; many people felt it wasn’t the best way to keep peace with the Soviet Union and win them over to our side — especially since there was a lot of evidence the Communist giant was crumbling even before Reagan’s rhetorical assault (at least partly because of its Afghanistan folly; Palin’s advisors might want to mention that to her!). Sunny Ronald Reagan shrugged off such criticism; Sarah Palin laps up the bile and turns into a victim and of course a self-described “pit bull,” albeit with lovely lip gloss.

Whatever! Palin’s book tour will be a political success; her book will sell and make her the money she brags she’s never had. And Palin may well be the 2012 GOP nominee. But as she cozies up to Glenn Beck and mangles even her own party’s history, it’s increasingly clear she will never be our president. But trust me: She and her know-little followers will cause trouble for President Obama and the Democrats for the foreseeable future.

Here’s a great video of MSNBC’s Norah O’Donnell trying to ask Palin supporters in Grand Rapids, Mich., on Wednesday what she believes in. They get her position on TARP wrong (she supported it) and two of them just lapse into paranoid right-wing ranting about how she’ll defend the Constitution. Nice to see O’Donnell asking real questions; scary to see how they’re answered: 

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Beautiful Darkness by Fabien Vehlmann & Kerascoët
    Kerascoët's lovely, delicate pen-and-watercolor art -- all intricate botanicals, big eyes and flowing hair -- gives this fairy story a deceptively pretty finish. You find out quickly, however, that these are the heartless and heedless fairies of folk legend, not the sentimental sprites beloved by the Victorians and Disney fans. A host of tiny hominid creatures must learn to survive in the forest after fleeing their former home -- a little girl who lies dead in the woods. The main character, Aurora, tries to organize the group into a community, but most of her cohort is too capricious, lazy and selfish to participate for long. There's no real moral to this story, which is refreshing in itself, beyond the perpetual lessons that life is hard and you have to be careful whom you trust. Never has ugly truth been given a prettier face.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Climate Changed: A Personal Journey Through the Science by Philippe Squarzoni
    Squarzoni is a French cartoonist who makes nonfiction graphic novels about contemporary issues and politics. While finishing up a book about France under Jacques Chirac, he realized that when it came to environmental policy, he didn't know what he was talking about. "Climate Changed" is the result of his efforts to understand what has been happening to the planet, a striking combination of memoir and data that ruminates on a notoriously elusive, difficult and even imponderable subject. Panels of talking heads dispensing information (or Squarzoni discussing the issues with his partner) are juxtaposed with detailed and meticulous yet lyrical scenes from the author's childhood, the countryside where he takes a holiday and a visit to New York. He uses his own unreachable past as a way to grasp the imminent transformation of the Earth. The result is both enlightening and unexpectedly moving.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Here by Richard McGuire
    A six-page version of this innovative work by a regular contributor to the New Yorker first appeared in RAW magazine 25 years ago. Each two-page spread depicts a single place, sometimes occupied by a corner of a room, over the course of 4 billion years. The oldest image is a blur of pink and purple gases; others depict hazmat-suited explorers from 300 years in the future. Inset images show the changing decor and inhabitants of the house throughout its existence: family photos, quarrels, kids in Halloween costumes, a woman reading a book, a cat walking across the floor. The cumulative effect is serene and ravishing, an intimation of the immensity of time and the wonder embodied in the humblest things.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Kill My Mother by Jules Feiffer
    The legendary Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist delivers his debut graphic novel at 85, a deliriously over-the-top blend of classic movie noir and melodrama that roams from chiaroscuro Bay City to Hollywood to a USO gig in the Pacific theater of World War II. There's a burnt-out drunk of a private eye, but the story is soon commandeered by a multigenerational collection of ferocious women, including a mysterious chanteuse who never speaks, a radio comedy writer who makes a childhood friend the butt of a hit series and a ruthless dame intent on making her whiny coward of a husband into a star. There are disguises, musical numbers and plenty of gunfights, but the drawing is the main attraction. Nobody convey's bodies in motion more thrillingly than Feiffer, whether they're dancing, running or duking it out. The kid has promise.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    The Motherless Oven by Rob Davis
    This is a weird one, but in the nervy surreal way that word-playful novels like "A Clockwork Orange" or "Ulysses" are weird. The main character, a teenage schoolboy named Scarper Lee, lives in a world where it rains knives and people make their own parents, contraptions that can be anything from a tiny figurine stashable in a pocket to biomorphic boiler-like entities that seem to have escaped from Dr. Seuss' nightmares. Their homes are crammed with gadgets they call gods and instead of TV they watch a hulu-hoop-size wheel of repeating images that changes with the day of the week. They also know their own "death day," and Scarper's is coming up fast. Maybe that's why he runs off with the new girl at school, a real troublemaker, and the obscurely dysfunctional Castro, whose mother is a cageful of talking parakeets. A solid towline of teenage angst holds this manically inventive vision together, and proves that some graphic novels can rival the text-only kind at their own game.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    NOBROW 9: It's Oh So Quiet
    For each issue, the anthology magazine put out by this adventurous U.K.-based publisher of independent graphic design, illustration and comics gives 45 artists a four-color palette and a theme. In the ninth issue, the theme is silence, and the results are magnificent and full of surprises. The comics, each told in images only, range from atmospheric to trippy to jokey to melancholy to epic to creepy. But the two-page illustrations are even more powerful, even if it's not always easy to see how they pertain to the overall concept of silence. Well, except perhaps for the fact that so many of them left me utterly dumbstruck with visual delight.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Over Easy by Mimi Pond
    When Pond was a broke art student in the 1970s, she took a job at a neighborhood breakfast spot in Oakland, a place with good food, splendid coffee and an endlessly entertaining crew of short-order cooks, waitresses, dishwashers and regular customers. This graphic memoir, influenced by the work of Pond's friend, Alison Bechdel, captures the funky ethos of the time, when hippies, punks and disco aficionados mingled in a Bay Area at the height of its eccentricity. The staff of the Imperial Cafe were forever swapping wisecracks and hopping in and out of each other's beds, which makes them more or less like every restaurant team in history. There's an intoxicating esprit de corps to a well-run everyday joint like the Imperial Cafe, and never has the delight in being part of it been more winningly portrayed.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew
    You don't have to be a superhero fan to be utterly charmed by Yang and Liew's revival of a little-known character created in the 1940s by the cartoonist Chu Hing. This version of the Green Turtle, however, is rich in characterization, comedy and luscious period detail from the Chinatown of "San Incendio" (a ringer for San Francisco). Hank, son of a mild-mannered grocer, would like to follow in his father's footsteps, but his restless mother (the book's best character and drawn with masterful nuance by Liew) has other ideas after her thrilling encounter with a superhero. Yang's story effortlessly folds pathos into humor without stooping to either slapstick or cheap "darkness." This is that rare tribute that far surpasses the thing it celebrates.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Shoplifter by Michael Cho
    Corinna Park, former English major, works, unhappily, in a Toronto advertising agency. When the dissatisfaction of the past five years begins to oppress her, she lets off steam by pilfering magazines from a local convenience store. Cho's moody character study is as much about city life as it is about Corinna. He depicts her falling asleep in front of the TV in her condo, brooding on the subway, roaming the crowded streets after a budding romance goes awry. Like a great short story, this is a simple tale of a young woman figuring out how to get her life back, but if feels as if it contains so much of contemporary existence -- its comforts, its loneliness, its self-deceptions -- suspended in wintery amber.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Through the Woods by Emily Carroll
    This collection of archetypal horror, fairy and ghost stories, all about young girls, comes lushly decked in Carroll's inky black, snowy white and blood-scarlet art. A young bride hears her predecessor's bones singing from under the floorboards, two friends make the mistake of pretending to summon the spirits of the dead, a family of orphaned siblings disappears one by one into the winter nights. Carroll's color-saturated images can be jagged, ornate and gruesome, but she also knows how to chill with absence, shadows and a single staring eye. Literary readers who cherish the work of Kelly Link or the late Angela Carter's collection, "The Bloody Chamber," will adore the violent beauty on these pages.

  • Recent Slide Shows



Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>