Smile Politely

Sarah Palin = Little Penny

Wow, I thought the choice of Joe Biden was dull. Now I understand the strategically brilliant aspect of choosing Joe Biden: It’s dull.

As a follow up, John McCain stunned us with a choice who’s barely old enough to be a credible cougar. Three days later, she stunned us with the news that she’s old enough to be a grandmother! Perhaps it’s an appeal to the inner-city youth vote.

Last week, I compared Joe Biden to Chester Frazier. The essence: No frills — workmanlike. This week, I compare Sarah Palin to a six inch plastic doll. My metaphor remains, as always, within the Illini basketball diaspora (if only faintly).

Sean Harrington is cute. Jereme Richmond is young. Patrick Beverley exemplifies the fundamentally unprepared. They share these qualities with Sarah Palin. But no one puts it together quite so well as the anatomically and politically incorrect Little Penny.

There’s something humorously charming about a dwarfish cartoon character. If it’s an audacious loudmouth, so much the better. Because that’s fucking hilarious.

The two have more in common than you might think. Like Penny, Sarah loves basketball. Little Penny had no penis. Sarah has no penis. He never actually impregnated the inner-city teens to which his shoe commercials appealed, but he fantasizes about it. She gots one pregnant teenager in da house.

Palin congratulated her daughter: “We’re proud of Bristol’s decision to have her baby.”

This is the same decision she’d like to relieve the women of America from having to make. It recalls Dan Quayle’s pledge to support his 13 year-old daughter’s decision, if she were to become pregnant — and Marilyn Quayle’s immediate correction: she’d keep the baby.

Sarah Palin knows about having babies. She’s an old hand on that front.

How about international diplomacy?

Here’s the extent of Sarah Palin’s knowledge of foreign relations: “No one has attacked the American homeland since George Bush took the war to Iraq.” So, I guess she’s among the soccer . . sorry . . . hockey moms who subscribe to that particular line of non sequitur (Latin for “bullshit”).

But maybe there’s more breadth to her understanding. If so, the McCain campaign is likely to alert the media, and rush it towards center stage, as soon as possible. That’s good, because we’d all like to find out for ourselves: what does Sarah know?

Does she know what people mean when they refer to “Geneva Conventions” or “North Atlantic Treaty Organization?” Perhaps she shares with McCain the type of western sensibility that remembers the Alamo; but how about Alsace, and Algiers? She may be expert on wildlife versus resource issues at Yellowstone. How would she fare in an essay on Ypres, or Yalta?


The Weekly Standard missed an opportunity to dither, or differ, over Palin’s nomination. They all lapped it up. Fred Barnes reminded his readers of her “conservative” credentials:

“And just to be clear about her conservatism: Palin is pro-life, pro-gun, pro-military, pro-Iraq war, pro-spending cuts, pro-tax cuts, pro-drilling for oil everywhere (including ANWR), pro-family and pro-religion.”

For leadership purposes, real conservatives must exorcise the non-issues from a platform currently promoted by the space aliens possessing GOP cadavers.

“Guns” is an appropriate conservative issue. Yes, some people keep trying to restrict access to firearms. It’s in the constitution. Very few things are in the constitution.

“Spending-cuts” is the primary issue, for conservative purposes. It’s uncomfortable succeeding — or standing anywhere near — “Iraq war” on any list of principles. The two concepts are not on speaking terms.

Palin did well to kill the “bridge to nowhere” project, despite campaigning for it. She sold off the governor’s private jet. That example might well be heeded by presidents who fly around the country, at our expense, to promote partisan candidates.

“Pro-religion?” Yes, I know William F. was devout, but William Jennings Bryan beats Buckley, hands down, in a devotions contest. Jesus was a liberal — a radical, in fact. A maverick, if you like.

The biggest identity crisis facing any collective which wants to describe itself as “conservative” occurs when it prioritizes god over dollars. It’s the economy, stupid.

Palin approves the teaching of creationism in public schools, alongside other theories — that the United States will fall behind Russia and China in world-dominating, because their leaders will be nuclear physicists and ours will be able to recite passages from Leviticus.

This distinction seemed significant when Sputnik circled the globe. Since then, people like Monica Goodling have hired our executive branch staffers if those prospective staffers believe a bearded man who lives in the sky is in charge of all the important decisions they might otherwise be called upon to make.

David Soul
(post-op) is green with envy, jade.

Barnes, and his editor Bill Kristol, have been framed in close-up, on television, talking about inner-beltway machinations, for decades. Each of them has, on occasion, shown himself to be more than a PR advocate for the Republican Party. (I was in a heated discussion with Fred Barnes once, and we were not on opposite sides. I wish I could remember the topic.) Why did neither of them question Sarah Palin’s intellectual capabilities?

Barnes offered a comparison, to demonstrate Palin’s readiness: She has been a governor for as long as Tim Kaine, an Obama veep finalist.

Before governing Virginia, Tim Kaine graduated from Harvard Law school and worked as an attorney for 17 years. Palin transferred to North Idaho Community College, after a semester at Hawai’i Pacific University. (Don’t laugh, Coeur d’Alene is gorgeous, and everyone there is white, conservative, and gun-toting — like Sarah Palin.) After five years at three schools, she had a Bachelor’s degree in television. She also worked as a sports reporter for a year.

So what, you may ask, is the distinction?

Well, I’ll tell you. See, I graduated with a degree in television and I went to law school. The people at law school were not all brilliant, but each of them read the constitution, and had a professional explain them to it. I have still never met people as stupid as those who went to college to comb their hair just so and be on teevee.

I like the idea of someone with an Idaho public education breaking the Ivy barrier. And I don’t automatically assume that Sarah Palin is an idiot. But I want to know for a fact that she is not an idiot. This fact could be proven to me via a demonstration, conducted by a known independent auditor — Tom Brokaw, for example. Let him ask the questions.

Does she know more about the history of American governance more than a negroid plastic doll? (Which is to say, exactly the same amount known by a Ken doll, and just as capable in every way, but even less anatomically correct.)

For the sake of fairness, Tom could pose the same questions to Little Penny, and Palin, simultaneously. I want to afford her the opportunity to prove that she knows more than it does on topics which I consider vital to the understanding of the President of the United States.

None of these topics involves the insider, fix-it jobbing that pundits claim makes Biden a perfect hatchet for Obama. It’s just to do with smarts, not experience or pedigree. George Will, of Urbana, says experience is not as important as understanding the constitutional principle of limited government. Here are a few topics I expect any presidential candidate to know, and be able to discuss at length:

SALT, the 6th amendment to the constitution, GATT, the differences between Trotsky and Stalin, the differences between Louis Brandeis and James McReynolds, the differences between Theodore Roosevelt and Mark Hanna, the Monroe Doctrine, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the USS Maine, Eduard Schevardnadze, Salvador Allende, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, and Germany-Turkey-Armenians-1915.


None of those topics involves the deep technological understanding of engineering principles required to turn wind into electricity. They all have to do with humans, and government of humans. I assume that only a handful of people, excluding you, could give a sentence-long summation of all of them. But you are not running for president, see? And if you were, I would also expect you to know that most Muslims are Sunni, but some Muslims are Shi’a…or even Sufi.

Hillary Clinton, who is a woman, would be able to talk at length on all those subjects. I suspect Barack Obama could, too.

But it’s harder to know with Obama. Last week’s acceptance speech went a long way in supporting his critics’ contention that he lacks specifics. I was personally flabbergasted. Whereas both Clintons are intricately familiar with obscure passages of US Code, Obama never identified which paragraphs and passages he’s like to see altered. It was all general themes and platitudes. Only the “retooling” of Detroit auto factories provided a tangible example.

There was no reference of IMF considerations towards China. Missing was a revamping of HUD policies on Section 8 housing. In fact, no welfare reform got mentioned. “No Child Left Behind” avoided the slings and arrows one might expect from a candidate promising to change Washington’s failing policies.

It’s not as if one has to leave his comfortable chair to identify specific programs fit for the budget ax, or lines of code awaiting alteration. The blogosphere is happy to bring them to one’s attention.

So why didn’t Obama name any? Too techno-wonky? Too arming for Republican fodder? Are all the least useful programs currently shoveling pork to all the swing states?

Even George W. Bush was capable of identifying particular changes his election might presage. Bush’s Brain> taught us that. The people of Texas elected him governor because he promised specific changes in property tax funding of education, and juvenile justice.

My search for outrage, or criticism, of Obama’s speech found little — apart from the expected fringe elements. For the most part, the people who are for him liked it. The people who are against him said it was a pleasant speech. (Even they weren’t really paying attention, I guess.) As so often happens, perhaps everyone else will start talking about it once they’ve read David Broder.

Brokaw evidently did not read Broder before taping Meet The Press. Perhaps, like everyone else, his laser-like focus got hooked on Palin. (He did read the Barnes piece about it.) Post-mortem analysis of the Democrats’ convention got swept away in the Palin frenzy.

That’s kind of what McCain planned — to detract attention from Obama. In hindsight, maybe he regrets not giving the media a few cycles to pick over Obama’s particulars — as in, “where are they?”

Brokaw’s MTP colleague, Sarah Palin’s fellow hottie Maria Bartiromo, identified energy policy as Palin’s strength — because she wants to drill for petroleum in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

It is not unusual for those in charge of territories with petroleum deposits to seek markets for their product. For example: Saddam Hussein, the House of Saud, ExxonMobil, and Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

But Ahmadinejad, like any smart dealer, knows to avoid personal addiction. Palin’s fix may allay our current energy jones, but her children are going to be overburdened to find their energy solution on a planet where they can’t breathe. On the bright side, Alaska will have a much friendlier climate for tourism, in that eventuality.

Bartiromo further said that Palin, “had real opinions about what should be done…uh…with regard to…um…economic growth overall.”

Well, finally! An answer to all of life’s problems! Perhaps, unlike Nixon’s “secret plan” to end the war in Vietnam, or Obama’s pledge to end all problems, ever; Palin — or even Bartiromo, the reporter — will report on the particulars.

Bartiromo went on to add that, in her own words, “um…but, uhhh…I don’t think he’s neccesarily, uh…well versed…in the, uh…mmmm…ah…” — as if there were all the time in the world, rather than 48 minutes per week, to communicate intelligible thoughts already prepared for the consumption of an American public.

As I sought more coherent comment on Palin’s nomination, I kept finding references to Barnes’ piece. Here it was on Huffington Post. There in a fleeting teevee quote. It occurred to me that all the other writers and commentors in America had the same reaction to Palin that I did: “OMG! How will the right-wing press react?”

Eventually, the younger guys at National Review> slept off their hangovers and started submitting perturbed entries. But as with the Obama speech analysis, no one has successfully answered the central question: Why her?

Some people say McCain chose Palin because she’s a woman. They’re not quite wrong.

He chose her because she chose life. That’s the reason. The Jesus People have raging hard-ons for Sarah Palin because she found out Trig has an extra chromosome, and yet she gave birth to him anyway!

Oh, wonderful freedom of choice!

Trig, like his mom, will lead a happy life — unsullied by the serious issues that confront contemplative people. Their little miracles are, all cynicism aside, beautiful. And yet, their little miracles should not determine whether you, or the federal government, has the ultimate decision on what happens to a gram of indeterminate genetic material festering inside your uterus. (Unless, of course, you happen to be one of those people who believe that all decisions have already been made by the bearded man who lives in the sky. In that case, the gram of tissues is a person — and has toes, and has possibly been named, chronicled, and baptized by the LDS.)

Life: it’s a beautiful choice. So wouldn’t it be great if creationists like Sarah Palin, and her credulous “conservative” backers, would make it — life — possible for all those babies they seem determined to force everyone to have? They’ll need a planet with fresh water — and fewer of themselves sucking up all the air and crapping in all the estuaries. Someone, evidently not the Palin family, is going to have to be responsible and not have children. It might be a good idea to leave Wildlife Refuges alone, too. But the way Sarah Palin sees it, god gave her that oil. For some reason, he buried it under a few million tons of his less favored, if pristine, gifts.

Mysterious ways, indeed.

But serious candidates don’t leave serious environmental issues to the bearded man in the sky. He is known to occasionally drown all the people on earth in favor of one Abrahamic family capable of shepherding animals. The Palins aren’t Jewish, and they kill animals for fun.

I thought Barack Obama’s pick of Joe Biden was boring. I think John McCain’s pick of Sarah Palin is frightening. She says she knows ANWR. But does she know Anwar? Because it’s really, really important.

I hope, in 2015, we’re wondering whatever became of her — as we do now of her uppity doppelganger.

What Would Jesus Action Figure Do?

That’s the reason I chose Little Penny, rather than Jesus Action Figure, as the Sarah Palin analogy. Little Penny is a loudmouth, selfish, obstreperous dick. Whereas Jesus Action Figure is anything you imagine him to be — just like regular Jesus.

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