Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Roger Simon's Political Commandments

In my last post, I wrote about Politico's Roger Simon and his snarky defense of Sarah Palin's resignation, attacking her critics and their "commandments" that she broke. And what's idiotic about these "commandments" is that I've never heard of them before. They're merely items that Simon thought of for this particular incident and wants to pretend these are hard & fast rules of conduct in the world of politics.

And in that, we're supposed to believe that she was acting like us regular folks, which should make the media's hatred of her more endearing for us. And no, Palin isn't being attacked for breaking these "commandments." She's being attacked because she's a moron who, according to her supporters, made an epicly moronic decision. So here are Simon's three commandments.

Thou Shalt Not Surprise the Media

Don't surprise the media? Palin's very nomination was a HUGE surprise to the media, and they loved first. The surprise was hailed as a stroke of genius, and after her convention speech, lots of folks thought the tide of the election had turned in McCain's favor thanks to his surprise pick for VP. And no, it wouldn't have mattered how many trial balloons and pre-announcement announcements she had made beforehand, it was a crazy idea no matter what.

And of course, he's got this backwards. Palin's resignation doesn't seem batshit crazy because it was unexpected. It was unexpected because it was such a batshit crazy thing to do that nobody could have predicted that she'd do it. And it didn't get any less crazy after she did it. Similarly, no one expects me to try to jump off a bridge, and they'd consider me crazy for not explaining afterwards why I did it. That's what explanations are meant to do: Make people understand why you did something.

Oddly, Simon cites Bob Dole's resignation from the Senate as proof that it's normally considered acceptable to quit office to run for president. Except, Dole quit because he had just won the Republican nomination, quitting on June 11 after the last primary ended on June 4. And even still, as this CNN article from the time says, Dole didn't want to step down, but was pressured to do so by his aides and fellow Republicans. Dole didn't do this to "run for president," as Simon suggests, but because he was already the Republican nominee and was getting his butt kicked.

Palin, on the other hand, hasn't said she did this to run for president. In other words, this was an entirely different situation. Perhaps if Palin had admitted that she did this for 2012 it would seem less bizarre. But Simon later insisted that he doesn't think she did this for 2012, so he shouldn't even get to use this comparison. He insists that even Palin doesn't know why she stepped down, but again, this is very reassuring and not at all bizarre.

Thou Shalt Not Upset the Pooh-bahs

This one is odd, as I fail to see how Palin's resignation would "upset" the "pooh-bahs." If anything, I'm sure they're quite happy about it. They didn't want her as the candidate, so they're more than happy that she decided to end her career early. This was as upsetting for them as it was for Obama when McCain "suspended" his compaign. But then again, I just did a quick search and see that Simon thought McCain's suspension wasn't "as dumb or as desperate as it looks." Uh, yeah, it was.

And seriously, it's obvious that the Republican Party "Pooh-bahs" have a pretty damn low standard when it comes to their candidates (George W, anyone?), and the only thing Palin did to offend these pooh-bahs was that she was a narcissitic loonball who betrays her allies and refuses to learn the party's version of reality. And in politics, that's a death sentence. They're happy to accept narcissistic loonballs, but they have to be their loonballs.

He also tosses out the attacks on Palin's rambling resignation speech, by saying she's "plain-spoken." And he acts like that's a good thing. And we're to imagine that this fits into the "don't upset the Pooh-bahs" commandment? Huh? I think this fits into the Thou Shalt Not Sound Like a Moron commandment that people only adopted after Bush proved it necessary.

But at least Bush tried to gain a basic grasp of the issues at hand. Palin works entirely in empty soundbites and cliches. While Bush reveled in the clever half-truths he was fed, Palin resents the very concept of truth. She's like Bush, but without the shred of empathy needed to know how to lie properly.

Thou Shalt Pander to the Few, Not Speak to the Many

This one is the funniest, as all Simon does is quote John Weaver suggesting that Palin can't expand her base, to which Simon responds by pointing out that the shrinking Republican Party means that Palin's base makes her the most powerful Republican in the party. In other words, Simon says that Palin is being attacked for only talking to the few, while ignoring the many.

And I agree with that completely. Palin's appeal is extremely limited. And for as much as dopes like Simon want to imagine that Palin is a plain-spoken regular person who upsets the Establishment due to her great appeal to the masses; the truth is that Palin has no such appeal. The majority of people do not flock to Palin or appreciate her for being a regular person. She's a rockstar with the very few who are more ignorant of the issues than she is. And the more she tries to talk to the many, the worse she does with them.

And that's the thing: For as much as Palin and her supporters are trying to cast this as her behaving like a regular person; regular people don't do this either. We don't quit our jobs without explanation. We don't make epic changes in our lives without thinking of the consequences. This isn't just weird in the world of politicians and pooh-bahs. This is weird to the rest of us too.

And Simon would know this, if he lived in the real world, rather than the bubble he created for himself. But of course, that's one of the groups who like Palin the most: The ones who are out of touch with rural life, but want to imagine it has something to do with the type of person Palin is.

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