Liberals had a blast mocking Sarah Palin last weekend when she was caught addressing the Tea Party Convention with a cheat sheet scrawled on her hand. Even the president’s press secretary, Robert Gibbs, couldn’t resist getting into the act and treated a White House briefing to a Palin hand gag of his own.
Yet the laughter rang hollow. You had to wonder if Palin, who is nothing if not cunning, had sprung a trap. She knows all too well that the more the so-called elites lampoon her, the more she cements her cred with the third of the country that is her base. Her hand hieroglyphics may not have been speaking aids but bait.
THERE are wheels within wheels, and liars within the Times Op-Ed pages, and sometimes you get an onion that's pretty much all skin, but usually not this late in winter. Let's us start with the fact that this is the same guy who thought Al Gore's serial prevarications were the Biggest Issue of the 2000 campaign. So much so that he took the trouble to make them up himself. How'd that Love-y Story thing work out for ya? Or that Love-y Canal-y thing? How'd it work out for the rest of us, Fuckhead?
Next, lemme ask you: assuming you actually know someone who lives west of the Lincoln Tunnel, what are the odds, y'think, that he found Palin's--I almost said bizarre, but is there anything the woman does that could be considered odd, seeing as how it comes from Sarah Palin?--palm scribbles worthy of a horselaugh? Alternately, assuming you know, or heard of, someone who found all that Liberal mocking unfair, unseemly, or Treason in a Time of War; what are the odds he's already a die-hard Palin fan, or a member of the White House Press Corps whose flight happened to get diverted to somewhere in the sticks, possibly Idaho or Oiowa?
The White House Press Corps, the folks who only recently managed to stop laughing at George W. Bush's "Where's Those WMDs?" routine, is only body whose membership includes people who do not draw a check from Rupert Murdock which found Gibbs' Palin mockery an offense to good taste and its own gravitas. The White House Press Corps is who Frank Rich is offended on behalf of. It sure ain't whatever percentage of Americans still have a basic sense of proportion and two brain cells to rub together (63%, according to Gallup, but that was self-described). And this has nothing whatsoever to do with whether Sarah Palin deserves mockery, and certainly nothing to do with how a White House Press Secretary is expected to behave, and everything to do with the fact that The Press won't be caught dead criticizing her, or laughing at her, or pointing out that she's crazier than a cat with bladder stones, unless it doesn't realize the mike is still live.
If Rahm Emanuel calls MoveOn "a bunch of turds" he's just being a tough-talking adult, goddmmit, provided the Plumber's Union isn't offended. If Dennis Kucinich pulled down 100 large for speaking to an anti-globalization group, and read his speech off his forearm, the jokes would still be writing themselves. I don't really care that much if Democrats are being discriminated against; but when it's the truth being snubbed it's an entirely different matter. I'm not sure why Palin deserves any more coverage than, say, William E. Miller or Lloyd Bentsen--or Elizabeth Kucinich--but if she does she certainly deserves to be covered, not covered for.
(While we're at it: those notes weren't speaking aids, but question-and-answer aids, which you'd have known if you watched the real coverage on Comedy Central, Frank; Palin had to look down at her hand at at least one point, and if that's bait she's a goddam Performance artist, not a dumbass ideologue. She couldn't extemporize "Tax Cuts" in front of an audience of Teabaggers. This, depending on your genetic make-up and the facts of your upbringing, is either wildly amusing or deeply disturbing. Those are the two choices.)
Is there some possible way the depths of the last disaster, the one the Press, and the Liberal denizens of the Times Op-Ed page in particular, helped bring about by insisting that Democrats shouldn't criticize an opponent who was obviously missing half the intellect required for the job, has escaped you guys? Or do you consider yourselves harbingers of the New Age ("Those Wall St. bankers takin' huge bonuses after screwing everything up? Hell, I was way ahead of those guys.") ? Is this really, at the fucking bottom, nothing more than a game to you? Don't get me wrong; I sincerely hope Sarah Palin is the Republican nominee in 2012. But that's because I think the party, and the country, deserve her, and deserve to finish what they started if they're going to prevent anyone else from trying to correct it otherwise. Plus it'd mean that Mitch Daniels isn't the nominee. But that's just me. You guys are supposed to be responsible.