Why Is It….

Mark of New Jersey

Mark is a Founding Editor of The League of Ordinary Gentlemen, the predecessor of Ordinary Times.

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51 Responses

  1. Art Deco says:

    It looks like Gov. Palin scribbled a reminder on her hand much the same way people used to tie a string around their finger. I fail to see what the point of your complaint or his is. There is no content there for crib notes and his other explanation – that the audience questions were planted – is arbitrary.

    When you run a municipal government, a state agency, and a state government for some years; keep a marriage together for 20-some odd years; and sire and raise five children, I will take you more seriously than I do now.Report

  2. Art Deco, that’s not quite fair. You are probably a critic of Barack Obama and it is unlikely that you have served eight years in a state legislature while teaching at a top-ten law school, and thereafter been elected to national office and put together a winning Presidential campaign. Nevertheless it is appropriate for you to criticize the President, his policies, and his past. So too is it appropriate for Mark to direct askance Governor Palin’s way. After all, it is quite evident that she is the preferred Presidential nominee of a large number of people. As such, she is a public figure, sounding off on public policies, and a legitimate target of criticism even from those who have not duplicated her resume.

    With that said, she gave a long speech and as anyone who has had to speak for more than ten minutes at a time can attest, it is easy to forget things in the moment. While the device of writing notes on one’s hand is juvenile and unreliable, it is really no worse than an index card or a teleprompter. So all the sturm und drang about the notes on her hand is just plain silly.Report

    • Mark Thompson’s statement was not a ‘criticism’ of something she has done or said. It was an invitation to confederates to exhibit their superiority. If others are small, you had better be big. If you are just Joe Blow with an opinion, you ain’t.

      It is perfectly plain why Gov. Palin is taken seriously: she was a public executive for twelve years, she has not (as has Barney Frank or Timothy Geithner or Ray Nagin) been the author of any manifest disasters or frauds, and she has an unusual rapport with a section of the public. She is regarded as risible by people who appear to put a great store on being articulate over accomplishing much of anything, as evinced by the admiration they have for the current President.

      I criticize the President’s policies. I am also not inclined to take him particularly seriously, not because he scribbles brief notes to himself before giving a speech (though I found the TelePrompTer in the 6th grade classroom amusing) but because…

      1. The priorities set by the administration are consistent with the thesis that he knows and cares little about the country’s acute economic problems and wants to build policy monuments to himself (though delegating the leg work to Congress); and

      2. There is a consistent pattern of behavior running through his endeavours over more than 25 years which suggests he prefers marks of status and titles to actual accomplishment. Your reference to his years as an instructor at the University of Chicago are relevant here. He placed no articles in scholarly journals and specialized in constitutional law. I would refer you to William Dyer (“Beldar”) on why this last is a red flag: you can fake it, which you cannot do with teaching tax law (which, of course, does not mean he did).

      3. Were the President selling insurance in Honolulu or had he fulfilled some of the appropriate pre-requisites for attaining his current position, I would have a greater quantum of respect for him; as is, he is a consumer product. Gov. Palin has fulfilled some of the pre-requisites. She is not occupying some exalted public position at this time; she is making her opinions known and appearing in front of her public. Personally, I think she should be reading the news on the radio in Anchorage and helping with her husband’s fishing business; however, the disjunction between personal history and her current activities is far less jarring than is the case with B.O.

      4. I actually do not expect people to take me all that seriously. They generally do not.

      Now, these are guesses about a man I do not know.Report

    • Koz in reply to Transplanted Lawyer says:

      “Nevertheless it is appropriate for you to criticize the President, his policies, and his past.”

      Of course it is, he’s the President. Sarah Palin isn’t though I think we’d better in much better shape today if she was, even if we’d have to endure some comical crap.

      But this business about “people to be taken seriously” is really weak, considering how wide that circle is in practice. Ed Schulze, Sean Hannity, Tom Tancredo and Chris Dodd are all taken seriously by various people. The idea that we have to cast Sarah Palin beyond the pale is nothing more than mindless antipathy as far as I can tell.

      That is, assuming that Mark is talking about people in general who follow political-cultural affairs. If Mark means that he and others who agree with him don’t take Sarah Palin seriously, that’s much more defensible. Though frankly, in that case it’s not like her speech to the Tea Party convention was going to make any difference.Report

    • TL:

      Were it just a matter of her having notes on her hand for the speech, I probably wouldn’t have said anything. But they were apparently intended for her post-speech Q&A, which suggests that she had to pre-screen the questions ahead of time. Regardless, the point of my referencing this was just generally to suggest that this is not someone who is (a) a huge threat to become President; (b) a terribly effective leader; or (c) worthy of live, primetime coverage by all three major news networks when she delivers a speech.Report

      • Art Deco in reply to Mark Thompson says:

        “Apparently intended…” in your head.

        If you want to assess whether or not she was an ‘effective leader’, you are going to have to ask what she should have achieved and what she did achieve in each of the positions she held.Report

        • Mark Thompson in reply to Art Deco says:

          She was observed clearly reading from her hand during the Q&A – watch the video here, at the 0:46 mark: http://thinkprogress.org/2010/02/06/palin-hand/. Dan Riehl, who I consider a reliable source on this sort of thing, indicates that she read her actual speech, which is not a problem, but also eliminates the possibility that she used the hand-notes for the actual speech.Report

          • Art Deco in reply to Mark Thompson says:

            Stop it.

            Either she has prepared responses, or she does not. Either she has extemporaneous thoughts on the questions, or she does not. The notes in her hand do not have the content for her responses. If there were planted questions, the questions would be sufficient prompts; she would not need scribbles as a mnemonic device. The only discernable purpose of the notes is to remember to cover points in the course of her remarks, whether delivered from the podium or in response to questions on various topics.Report

        • Mark Thompson in reply to Art Deco says:

          Also – not quitting midway through her term as governor would have been one way of showing she is an effective leader.Report

          • Kyle in reply to Mark Thompson says:

            Not to be a Palin apologist here but I don’t think that’s entirely fair, there’s a fair amount evidence that an increasing amount of FOIA requests in the wake of the election were expensive and encumbering her ability to govern.

            Not being Sarah Palin, I can’t say whether they were enough to warrant leaving, that’s her choice, but it’s not like she just up and left without good reason, nor – given her reasons – is it clear she would’ve done her family or state much good by remaining in the post.

            Generally, resigning a post when on becomes a liability to the organization can be a sign of an effective leader. I don’t know if that applies to Palin in this case but quitting isn’t categorically a dealbreaker for me.Report

          • Art Deco in reply to Mark Thompson says:

            She and her husband were facing $500,000 in legal bills from defending themselves against bogus ethics complaints, one of which was filed in the name of a character on East Enders. Efforts by supporters to set up a legal defense fund for her were met with…another ethics complaint. She was very explicit about this motivation for leaving office; the book and the speaking fees are meant to pay her lawyers.Report

  3. Bo says:

    I like how she crossed out ‘Budget’ and replaced it with ‘Tax Cuts.’ That’s a metaphor for something.Report

  4. ScottBrown says:

    What can anyone say about a Republican who can’t even remember “tax cuts” as one of their three “policies”. Why does the word “stupid” come to mind so insistently, along with “unqualified”, “fraud”, “fake” and “dangerous”?Report

    • Art Deco in reply to ScottBrown says:

      Um, because they were brief reminders of points to cover (among many things she has been thinking about) in a speech for which she had only modest preparation time.Report

      • ScottBrown in reply to Art Deco says:

        And you think that remembering “tax cuts” would have placed too great a strain on her mind? You have even less faith in her mental capacities than I do! At this rate, I am surprised you haven’t advocated her writing her name on that infamous hand!Report

  5. Bob Cheeks says:

    Does anyone know Dear Leader’s grades in college?
    Can anyone direct to a serious paper; legal, historical, philosophical that he’s authored?
    Thank you.Report

    • ScottBrown in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

      I am not aware that John McCain has written anything notable. But you might try asking Mark Salter.Report

      • Art Deco in reply to ScottBrown says:

        John McCain has been quite public and explicit that his academic record at the Naval Academy was wretched and that he graduated in the bottom 2% of his class. Nothing of note has been concealed, as it has been with the other guy.

        No, John McCain has no scholarly papers to his credit; he was also not on the faculty of the University of Chicago Law School. Barack Obama has never flown an aircraft.Report

        • Alex Knapp in reply to Art Deco says:

          Adjunct professors don’t usually do scholarly papers–they just teach.Report

          • Art Deco in reply to Alex Knapp says:

            That depends on where they are in their career and what their future aspirations are.

            Also to consider: Obama was, after 1996, ‘of counsel’ at his law firm, his law license lapsed to a status of ‘inactive’ in 2002, and he wrote two books between 1991 and 2006. His publication record was not meagre; it was non-existent. We got two memoirs out of him (‘ere his 45th birthday), but not one article on labor or landlord-tenant law.Report

        • ScottBrown in reply to Art Deco says:

          ArtDeco, precisely what has been concealed according to you? Are you just another of the Birther infestation?Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

      Hate Obama all you like, but it’s still damned offensive to compare him to Kim Jong Il (as you’d think that people who (rightfully) object to “Bushitler” would grasp.).Report

  6. Jaybird says:

    You know, I never think about her until you people bring her up.Report

  7. cfpete says:

    Can you not see?
    “So we have here a truly Coughlinite movement, headed by an Eva Peron figure, eager to use the Dolchstoss card to bring out the kind of voters Rove always believed could eventually crush even the most mobilized democratic GOTV operation.” You know who

    Don’t go all Chamberlain on us.
    One man and his blog can not defeat the gathering menace alone.
    You must join the fight!

    “know fear”Report

  8. Rufus says:

    I don’t know that I take her seriously; I tend to think of myself as a Palin agnostic, actually, although I’m pretty agnostic about most political figures. (Of course, I do live in Canada.)

    Nevertheless, I think her critics sometimes forget that there are countless areas of intelligence and perhaps she most alienates those who overemphasize credentialized intelligence. This is something that probably resonates with a lot of people whose own intelligence might be unappreciated. For example, I tried at one point to get a commercial driver’s license for big rigs and found that it was extremely difficult. You have to memorize a huge manual, do pretty extensive maintenance and diagnostics every time you set out, and develop a pretty good kinesthetic sense of the vehicle. Truck driving is not for dummies. I gave up. And yet, I don’t think knowing how to drive a truck is appreciated in quite the same way as getting a higher degree. Nevertheless, as someone who’s working on a PhD, I can note that plenty of academics would look at the fact that I’m doing it at a state university and figure I’m dumb as a brick! And I can also say that plenty of ivy league academics wouldn’t have the first clue how to fix a toilet, for example. So, it’s all relative.

    Moreover, since I struggle to care for my cat correctly, I can’t fathom the intelligence and basic savvy involved with raising a brood of children. If my father-in-law wasn’t an accountant, I wouldn’t know how to balance a budget. I do think I do know how to stay married. But nobody has the time to learn everything.

    The point is that all of these things require different areas of intelligence- not higher or lower, just different. I think we’d do well to remember the wide variety of different intelligences the voters possess and, when people criticize Palin, I think it’s perhaps a better tactic to ask how people could take her ideas seriously, instead of asking how they could take her seriously.

    In a larger sense (and this is a critique of Palin too), I’d sure like to see economists asked about economics, scientists asked about science, and politicians asked about politics, and maybe they could all stick to the topics they know!Report

    • greginak in reply to Rufus says:

      The issue with debating people’s intelligence relates to the tendency to think that : agree with my political beliefs=intelligence. It’s a thing people of all ideologies to, they assume not only they have the correct beliefs (which is reasonable) but also that their beliefs are objectively correct and it is not possible to have good arguments for other beliefs.Report

    • Alex Knapp in reply to Rufus says:

      I don’t care about credentials. I care about being able to speak without murdering the English language, which Palin does on a regular basis.Report

      • Bob Cheeks in reply to Alex Knapp says:

        You mean murdering the English language as in, “corpseman/corpsman” which was, apparently read from a teleprompter,…though those damn things are famous for malfunctioning…better to scratch a note on the palm of your hand.Report

        • Alex Knapp in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

          The occasional mispronunciation doesn’t bother me. It’s basic rules of sentence structure and grammar and the ability to get your point across when you don’t have notes in front of you. It is painful to parse Palin’s sentences when she’s being interviewed, even by the softball interviewers at Fox. Obama is a terrific off the cuff speaker.Report

          • Art Deco in reply to Alex Knapp says:

            Off the cuff, he says things on the order of, “Sweden had, like, five banks.”Report

          • Bob Cheeks in reply to Alex Knapp says:

            Yes, I agree re: her extemporaneous speaking but geez those of us in fly-over country just love it, it makes her ya know one of us. But inherently its her ideas and I’m stickin’ to my original theme e.g. the long-legged beauty is smarter than Dear Leader…not that I agree with her ‘foreign’ policy crap.Report

            • Alex Knapp in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

              I live in flyover country. Most of the folks around me are lifelong Republicans and they can’t stand Ms. Palin. The last straw for many was her decision to quit the governorship, but more than a few have simply derided her as an idiot. I don’t think she’s an idiot. I think that she is rather smart, but willfully ignorant, which I detest even more.Report

        • Rufus F. in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

          I have a confession to make- I’m maybe too “apathetic” too talk about this. I didn’t see this tea party speech and, I have to admit, I’m not sure I’ve ever listened to one of her speeches or interviews. I watched about three minutes of the debate with Joe Biden, but that’s about it. The truth about Palin is my mother thinks she’s great; my wife thinks she’s terrible; I’m a lot more interested in old books and action movies.Report

        • ScottBrown in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

          One verbal slip against Palin’s habitual slaughter of the English language? That’s pitiable, Bob.Report

  9. Bob Cheeks says:

    Scott, re: Dear Leader’s intellectual abilities, I’m not talking about “verbal slips.” Again, what is it that makes his minions believe he’s intelligent? He strikes me as yet another faux-intellectual of the Left. In much the same mode as former VP Algore.Report