Home / No Sympathy Here

No Sympathy Here


Unlike Chris Orr, I have utterly no sympathy for Sarah Palin, despite the fact that her interviews and occasional public statements have meandered into the realm of the exquisite corpse. Mike Riggs wonders if some liberals — like Orr — no longer view Palin as a “potent potential threat” and are thus more inclined to “treat her like a human being.” I’ll admit that it’s difficult to watch someone crash and burn in a nationally-televised interview for which she’s presumably had weeks to prepare, but the idea that Sarah Palin no longer represents a source of concern for Democrats is — or should be — nonsensical.

She remains the vice presidential candidate in a closely-contested race that is, politically speaking, a thousand miles from a conclusion. Though I’m temporarily buoyed by the fact that John McCain appears at the moment to be on the downward slope of a dissociative fugue, I’d be an idiot to think he didn’t have a decent chance of actually winning and launching a fake reformer with transparently shitty policy views down the hall from him in the White House. And while John McCain likes to compare himself, implausibly, to Teddy Roosevelt, in terms of his physical health he’s probably more closely affiliated with Konstantin Chernenko. All of which raises the obvious concerns about Palin, who is matchlessly unsuited for high office.

But here’s the thing about Palin that’s worth remembering. She didn’t as Orr puts it, need to “plucked from obscurity” by the McCain campaign. She could have done the sensible thing and refused the offer. She had no shortage of plausible excuses — spanning the personal as well as the political — to maintain a lower national profile and not accept an opportunity for which any Alaskan with half a brain (even, I assure you, her boosters in the legislature) understood she would be catastophically unprepared. She could have remained an immensely (if in my view undeservedly) popular governor who would likely have cruised to re-election in 2010; she might have looked forward to challenging Mark Begich for US Senate in 2014 or, Christ forbid, she could have followed an acquitted and re-elected Ted Stevens into the same office. Or she might have campaigned for the state’s only seat in the US House someday when Don Young either retires or begins a new career as a license-plate presser in federal prison. Or she could have challenged Ethan Berkowitz, who looks like a good bet to defeat Young this year but who is, at bottom, a Democrat in a state that would happily replace him with a Republican if they could find one who wasn’t, you know, a criminal.

The point is, Palin had alternatives. The point is, she made what appears to be a terrible error in judgment by fastening her political future to the clown-stuffed volkswagon otherwise known as “John McCain’s campaign.” Maybe Jesus told her to do this. Maybe she’s incapable of recognizing her limits. I don’t know, and for now I don’t really care. For now, she’s the candidate for vice president on a ticket that’s plainly undeserving of anyone’s sympathy, so I see nothing to be gained by offering it.

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  • Maybe she’s incapable of recognizing her limits.
    Bingo. And that’s the scariest thing of all about her.

  • Rob

    You, sir, are an angry, angry man.
    I think you’d be really successful on Survivor. We should try to make that happen.

  • “For now, she’s the candidate for vice president on a ticket that’s plainly undeserving of anyone’s sympathy,” so I’m going to demonize the bloody living hell out of her!

  • McKingford

    Yah, but when a guy like McCain puts you in a situation like that you can’t blink…

  • Jay B.

    Fuck it, just sell her a Media Rape Kit from Fauxrage(TM). That’ll give her some cold comfort in these trying days.

  • “more closely affiliated with Konstantin Chernenko”.
    One for the ages.

  • Watching her with Katie Couric triggered my embarrassment squick, and I had to turn it off. This does not, however, that I’m not enjoying watching her self-immolate on the national stage–that’s just schadenfreudalicious!

  • MobiusKlein

    pride goeth before the fall.

  • I’m sticking with the prosperity-theology magical thinking theory of Palin. She’s as rational as any other witch-burning cargo culter. Get off her case, dude.

  • phil

    Get off her case, dude.
    Once she drops out.

  • I imagine she thought when accepting the position, “All these nice men will be telling me what to do and say so, of course, I’ll do it! They’ve been running the counrty for the last 8 years, what could possibly go wrong?”
    Besides, there is probably a bad cable reality show in her future.

  • paulo

    McCain is the current Republican whose turn it is to be president. That’s why he is anywhere near this race.
    You don’t get on the ladder being the mayor of Wasilla or even the Governor of the international nexus of Alaska.
    You get on the ladder by seizing a rung when it is offered. Obama grabbed it when he got the keynote – who was he anyway? – and now Palin grabbed at the bigger prize which it is even though it is on the lunatic boat that is the McCain campaign.
    In the Democratic party you are a washout if you run and lose that law doesn’t apply to Republicans.

  • Yes, screw the “Damsel in Distress,” crap.
    Really? After eight years of Bush anyone who can look at someone who is: a) Dumber than a box of very stupid rocks; b) Can’t form a coherent sentence to save her life; c) Trying to get a very important job; and say “Awww, poor thing,” when she flames out during a softball interview needs a check up from the neck up.
    She knows nothing, she’s too damn vain to know she knows nothing and she probably thinks the Baby Jesus wants her to be Veep.

  • ppcli

    I felt sorry for her many times in the Couric interview. Especially when she did the “I’ll try to find some and get ’em fur ya” line with the twinkle and little headshake that probably charmed the trousers off the Wasilla Rotarians whenever she needed to get out of a pickle. (Unfortunately, governor, this is the big leagues, and cutesy won’t help.)
    But then I remember the librarian who got fired after Palin asked (“rhetorically”, of course) about banning books. (Sure, she was rehired after a protest, but Palin made it so uncomfortable that the librarian left again.)
    And I remember the Wasilla police chief she sacked for being “unsupportive”, replacing him with the guy who instituted and defended the rape-kit policy.
    And her first campaign, in which rumors were spread about her opponent being un-Christian. (His name is Stein, and you know what kind of name that is…)
    And firing a respected public safety commissioner (for reasons that keep changing weekly but are clearly related to his refusal to fire her detested brother-in-law) replacing him with a known sexual harasser (with impeccable evangelical credentials, of course) who was forced to resign a few weeks later.
    And I remember all the bald-faced lies, repeated even when they are exposed as lies, and the smarmy smears of community organizers, and ….
    Well, let’s just say that I remember all that stuff and I think that maybe there is such a thing as Karma after all.

  • Hugh

    Here in Australia, Sarah Palin has been the big story of the presidential campaign. For a while it was a decrepit old geezer from the party of disaster against Barack Obama, perceived here as no contest. As soon as Palin was nominated the (international, remember) coverage picked up and was much more positive about Republican chances.
    I have to ask, if McCain drops dead or is incapacitated by a stroke or something, would Palin automatically become the new presidential candidate for the Republicans?

  • rorycalhoun

    Hugh,no, the Repubs would most likely call for a suspension of the campaign. They’ll insist that they’re country firsters, of course. And that the Democrats are “politicians” and should be thrown out of office.

  • Joe

    The bit about Jesus telling her is not necessary.

  • ignobility

    I know many professional women who are smarter by miles than Sarah Palin; who can express themselves and their ideas articulately; who have ideas; who would never in a million years accept an offer to be a presidential running mate. I guess the smarter by miles says it all.

  • The bit about Jesus telling her is not necessary.

    Um, she gets no passes on this from this Christian. She’s the one who brought “God wills it” front and center.

  • cleter

    I didn’t feel any sympathy for her during the trainwreck interview. I did feel sorry for the country.
    I wonder if anybody turned down Mccain before he got to Palin?

  • jon

    No mercy. No quarter.
    She stepped up to the big leagues, and somehow thought she could play. She was wrong and poorly advised. There is a price to be paid for such enormous miscalculation, and it must not be paid by the country.
    If Obama had picked one of my city councilors, who would be better positioned in clown shoes and a squeaky nose, they would deserve the ridicule and beating they would be getting from Republicans (and everyone else) right about now. Except that the attacks wouldn’t be so policy focused or considerate.
    Palin is simply the embodiment of W’s governance writ small. It’s mean, nasty, stupid, dangerous and wrong.

  • spence-bob

    The bit about Jesus telling her is not necessary.
    Hey, she brought it up, dude.

  • or in Twitter: McCain’s VP Choice Palin as moral agent i.e. she is responsible for her choices

  • Rob_in_Hawaii

    “… John McCain likes to compare himself, implausibly, to Teddy Roosevelt, in terms of his physical health.”
    Oh dear. TR died at age 60. Maybe that’s why McCain looks so much lime a corpse.

  • Joe

    MLK thought Jesus told him stuff too. Religious faith guides the lives of loads of people, including their policy choices in various respects. For instance, some think environmentalism furthers God’s work.
    I hope therefore you are equal in your references to what Jesus tells people, since she is not the only one who “brings it up” dude.

  • I think Jesus is a big boy and can take care of himself. I’ve been reading around the christianist women’s blogs and the one thing you can say for those women is that they’ve entirely missed the point of Jesus as far as any sane reading of the texts. Sarah Palin belongs to the “jesus loves me, but he hates the rest of you” side of the christianist aisle. As far as I understand christianty, of course, Jesus did not expect himself to be a wholly owned subsidiary of crazy town. So let her take her lumps, let us proof text her till this ignoramus cries for mercy. Jesus will be standing on the sidelines cheering. Or rather, hanging on the sidelines cheering. Myself, I follow the Jesus of Don Camillo and his flock and Bart Ehrmann. YMMV.

  • the exile

    The “Jesus told me” issue is absolutely relevant, and not anti-Christian to bring up. Some Christians wo go into politics seek moral guidance in the teachings of Jesus. Others, like Palin, believe that having made a decision in their mind to follow Jesus (without apparently ever having read his words), they are infused with some sort of infallibility that makes them more qualified for public office than other people. This kind of belief in Jesus is precisely what led her to accept the offer to be VP candidate, and is precisely the reason that she is incapable of comprehending her limitations. It also makes her incapable of understanding the US Constitution and her duties under it.

  • the exile

    Christians “who” go into politics. Not “wo” go. Preview……

  • Joe

    I have read Bart Ehrmann, and found him worthwhile too.
    What Jesus “tells you” depends on the person. Her beliefs are relevant in some fashion, but again, it is relevant for some more friendly to regulars here. The fact Jesus “tells” her things on its own is not the issue. That’s my pt.
    As to Jesus taking care of himself, that would be a bit hard for those who don’t think he is “alive” now. Either way, on the earth, we tend to have to rely on ourselves, not God, a lot, apparently.

  • 1) the fact that she thinks Jesus belongs remotely near the discourse or performance of her office (whatever she may believe and whatever messages she may receive on her own time) makes it a relevant point to score.
    2) more than the “but she’s hot, huh?” comments flooding the internet and television, more than the pick as a token woman regardless of qualification, the chauvinistic expectation that people oughtn’t pick on palin because she’s new and she’s such a nice young lady turns my feminist stomach. the day I think she ought to catch a break from the mudslinging of politics because she has some (overused) ovaries is the day I eat my damn hat and enjoy it.

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