Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Sarah Palin Walked So Donald Trump Could Run

I suppose you could consider this a teaser or a trailer for the No Fair Remembering Stuff podcast we just did on the subject of Sarah Palin.  She was the Republican's party's beta-test version of Donald Trump, and the thing is, pretty much all of your recently-former Republican Never Trump heroes knew exactly why she was so appealing to the base.  

Long before Donald Trump, they knew that the center of gravity in their party had shifted from Buckley/Romney/Bush to Limbaugh/Hannity/Gingrich.  

Bill Kristol said as much in an October 27, 2009 Washington Post column.

A good time to be a conservative

Bien-pensant conservative elites and establishment-friendly Republican big shots yearn for a more moderate, temperate and sophisticated Republican Party. It's not likely to happen. And probably just as well...

Obviously, many Republicans and conservatives -- and lots of moderates and independents -- will be grateful to Mitch McConnell if he can stop ObamaCare, and to Jon Kyl if he can induce the president to embrace a stronger foreign policy. But it's unlikely that the minority party in Congress will be the source of bold new conservative leadership over the next three years. Even if Republicans pick up the House in 2010, the party's big ideas and themes for the 2012 presidential race will probably not emanate from Capitol Hill.

The center of gravity, I suspect, will instead lie with individuals such as Palin and Huckabee and Gingrich, media personalities like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, and activists at town halls and tea parties. Some will lament this -- but over the past year, as those voices have dominated, conservatism has done pretty well in the body politic, and Republicans have narrowed the gap with Democrats in test ballots...

The lesson activists around the country will take from this is that a vigorous, even if somewhat irritated, conservative/populist message seems to be more effective in revitalizing the Republican Party than an attempt to accommodate the wishes of liberal media elites.

So the GOP is likely, for the foreseeable future, to be of a conservative mind and in a populist mood. In American politics, there are worse things to be.

They knew.  

They fucking well knew which way things were going.  

And they had no ethical qualms about the lies, the racism, the batshit conspiracies or the rising tide of insanity inside their own party.  As long as Conservative media and their fellow travelers in the mainstream media could diffuse, deflect and "Both Sides" them out of responsibility for what their party was doing, they were fine with all of it.  As long as they could focus the rage of the mob they had made on to you and me and the Kenyan Usurper -- as long as they could prod the monster they had made into pulling their political plow where they wanted it to go -- they were perfectly content to let things keep getting worse and worse.  

Until the day when Donald Trump took their mob away from them by speaking directly to the mob in the mob's native language and promising to make good on all the promises that the Republican establishment had made to them to get their votes, and had reneged on over and over again.  Only then did all of these Never Trump Heroes pretend to suddenly  notice that something was terribly wrong with their Republican party.  Only then did they all suddenly become interested in democracy and fairness and facts.  

But in the interim. even after Sarah Palin pulled back the mask and showed the world the leering, lunatic mob that was the foundation of their party, as soon as McCain and Palin crashed and burned in 2008, party and media elites grabbed hold of that mask with both hands and, with all their collective might, yanked it back into place.  

Don't worry, Murrica!  You didn't see what you just saw!  You didn't hear what you just heard!  Everything is fine.  Just a little glitch.  Just a little turbulence.  But Sober, Sensible Professionals are on the job and everything will be smoothed out in a jiffy.  

Every party in opposition goes a little crazy. For Republicans in the early Obama era, insanity took the form of the Sarah Palin spasm. Veteran politicos took the former Alaska governor seriously as a national figure. Republican primary voters nominated the likes of Todd Akin, Christine O’Donnell and Sharron Angle. Glenn Beck seemed important enough to hold a big rally at the Lincoln Memorial.

Fortunately, serious parties eventually pull back from the fever swamps. That’s what’s happening to the Republican Party.  It has re-established itself as the nation’s dominant governing party...

During the primary season, groups like the Chamber of Commerce chased away or defeated renegade conservatives and opened the way for the triumph of this sort of institutional conservative...

The new Republican establishment is different from the old one. It is more conservative. It’s shaped more by the ideas of The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page and the American Enterprise Institute than it is by the mores of the country club. But, at least judging by the postelection comments coming from all corners, it does believe in politics, in legislating, in compromise.

During the Palin spasm, Republicans seemed to detest the craft of governing. Hothouse flowers like Senator Ted Cruz preferred telegenic confrontation to compromise and legislation.

But current party leaders are talking about incremental progress, finding areas where they can get bipartisan support: on trade, corporate taxes, the XL oil pipeline, the medical devices tax, patent reform, maybe even tax reform generally.

Republicans are also talking about restoring the traditional practices of the House and Senate. Let individual members introduce bills. Let those bills work through the committee structure and get votes. Pass budgets on time and according to the rules.

If the party is to fully detoxify its image, something will have to pass next year. Midwestern Republican governors will have to develop a compelling governing model. And the volcanic effusions of the Palin era will have to look like 1970s neckties — inexplicable oddities from another age.

That was David Brooks, in a New York Times op-ed titled  "The Governing Party", from November 6, 2014.

For context, that David Brooks Remain Calm, All is Well! horseshit --

-- was written a full two and a half years after Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein published their devastating analysis of the state of American politics and the Republican party.  Excerpted from Mann and Ornstein in the Washington Post, April 27, 2012:

Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the problem.

We have been studying Washington politics and Congress for more than 40 years, and never have we seen them this dysfunctional. In our past writings, we have criticized both parties when we believed it was warranted. Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party.

The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.

When one party moves this far from the mainstream, it makes it nearly impossible for the political system to deal constructively with the country’s challenges....

In the end, while the press can make certain political choices understandable, it is up to voters to decide. If they can punish ideological extremism at the polls and look skeptically upon candidates who profess to reject all dialogue and bargaining with opponents, then an insurgent outlier party will have some impetus to return to the center. Otherwise, our politics will get worse before it gets better. 

For further context, David Brooks' Remain Calm, All is Well! horseshit was written just seven months before Donald Trump – the King of the Birthers – announced that he was running for president.  

Because rather than making every effort to figure out what the hell had gone so drastically wrong inside the Republican party, all those Sober, Sensible Professionals who were gonna fix this little glitch spent all their time and energy making sure no such diagnostics were ever performed.  Because, as I've already mentioned, they fucking well knew what was going on and were instead singularly focused on making sure that no one else knew.  

But of course, lots of other people knew what was happening because it was happening out in public all over the country.  In fact, you'd have to twist yourself into a pandimensional pretzel to deny seeing what was going on inside the rapidly unhinging Republican madhouse, which is exactly what Conservative media and the Beltway media did.  And what they are still doing today.  

As to the people wo could see what was happening and wrote about it every day?  We were mocked and dismissed as crackpots and alarmists.  We made media pariahs.  And that, too, is still going on today.  

In 2008, pundits called what had gone wrong with the Republican Party “Palinism”, just as they had called the same disease “Trumpism” after Palin,  “Delayism” before Palin, and “Gingrichism” before Tom DeLay.

But the truth is, the problem with the modern Republican party has always been that it’s full of Republicans.

The problem with the modern Republican party is “Republicanism”.

If you want more on the subject of Sarah Palin and the trajectory of the Republican party, we did an hour on the subject available for free over at The Professional Left website.

For the record, this was the 797th episode of The Professional Left podcast since we launched 14 years ago.  Which, you must admit, is a lot of ad-free content.  

I Am The Liberal Media


SteveSteve said...

Hey DG--Remember when Chris Matthews said that all Sarah needed to do was read some policy books and she would be a great candidate? All she was interested in reading was Vogue.

Jon Sitzman said...

Good morning DG and BG!

I hope you don't mind that I come in your comments threads and drop information not related to the initial post.

So you're really going to love this utter gem:

NYT reporter says their nonstop coverage of Biden's age is retribution (Democratic Underground link)

There are supporting links.

If true (and I can quite believe it), well... wow.

This quote, attributed to Marcy Wheeler (emptywheel), seems quite apropos:

>>> Anon NYT journo says that A.G. will demand the NYT relentlessly focus on Biden's age unless and until the nepotistic brat and presumed transphobe activist gets an interview with Biden personally.

The attitude of these "journalism" moguls always seems to boil down to: "Never forget that I am your better."

Thanks for all you do.

RagingMonkee said...

Please please please do a NFRS on Nichol(l)e Wallace!
My frustration with her and KatTurd are causing friction in my marriage because my wife luvs luvs luvs D'Line WHITE house. Ari Melber can piss up a rope too.