Friday, September 12, 2008

Oh, That's a Good Sign...

So apparently Sarah Palin told Charles Gibson last night that Russia's attack in to Georgia last month was "unprovoked." This was, of course, before she said that she'd be willing to support going to war with Russia over this issue. See the two posts below. This is not a good sign in someone who is second in line to take over this country right behind a guy who looks like the dude the giant alien cockroach wore as a suit in Men In Black (I'm not saying McCain looks like the actor. I'm saying McCain looks like he's wearing an ill-fitting suit made of another guy's skin. He's kinda falling apart). Between Sarah "I have absolutely no concept of how things work in the rest of the world" Palin and John "Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran" McCain, we're looking at the distinct possibility of a third verse, same as the first Republican Presidency. But now that we've already invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, we're left to choose between Iran, a nation that's even worse at being conquered than the previous two, North Korea, and Russia. Good times! EDIT: Oh, for the love of... I just saw a clip from the Gibson interview. He asked her if she'd be willing to invade Pakistan to go after Bin Laden and got a minute of politician speak about keeping options open peppered with Bush-isms like, "They're trying to destroy America," and making the point repeatedly that, in the end, Pakistan should be grateful to us for taking him out, even if it does require an invasion. Of an ally. Who doesn't like us so much right now. Now, far be it from me to lecture on the finer points of international diplomacy. Hell, pragmatically speaking if Bin Laden is standing in the middle of Paris talking to Sarkozy and he can be taken down, we've got to at least consider the option. As I recall, we're all pretty meh about Nixon's bombing of Cambodia during the Vietnam War (well, Cambodia might not be). What we're seeing here, though, is a repeat writ large of the Bush Doctrine, as part of a grand tradition in American foreign policy that goes all the way back to the Monroe Doctrine. The underlying message in the foreign policy as declared here is, "We're America, we get to do anything we want." I believe there's also a, "Everyone else will know we're doing the right thing because we're America, dammit," and a, "Working with people who disagree with us instead of bombing them straight to hell if they don't line up is wimpy," component to it, as well. Either way, I weep for our future if this continues to be our foreign policy. Unfortunately, there are enough easily persuaded xenophobes in America who will see absolutely nothing wrong with this that we might be in for a bumpy ride.


suzy-q said...

Oh my god, that McCain ad his horrible. What the hell is wrong with the Republicans? Better yet, if W's approval rating is 30% and everyone is pissed off (except for an insane 30% of the population that I want nothing to do with anyway) why is this election not 70% Obama, 30% McCain? I literally do not understand it. Adding Sarah Palin is an insult to women, but the women who vote for McCain just because he has a woman on the ticket is even more of an insult and makes all women look stupid. You could almost see the guy standing behind Charlie Gibson last night holding the cue cards and then all of her handlers hitting their collective foreheads in an "Oh fuck, we forgot the Bush Doctrine" moment. Too bad Sarah didn't just shit herself on the spot because that would have taken care of the whole problem.

Never thought I'd say this, but why, Barack? Why didn't you choose Hillary? I wouldn't be breaking out into flop sweat every time I think about November 4. I wouldn't be preparing to flee the country November 5. But where would I go? We're already the laughing stock of the world. Thank you, George W. Bush.

I think it's great that we want to wage wars against countries without really being asked so that we can "give them their freedom," that we're threatening to invade a country that probably spies on its citizens and limits their freedoms and no doubt condones torture. Oh wait... Don't some of those apply to the U.S.? Shit. We're fucked.

You can't fight terror just like you can't give freedom. The U.S. fought against a super power and won it's freedom. Why do we have to give out bowls of freedom? It doesn't work that way.

Geds said...

Better yet, if W's approval rating is 30% and everyone is pissed off why is this election not 70% Obama, 30% McCain?

Dick Cheney
The Democrat majority in Congress
Child Molesters

What do these things have in common? All have a lower approval rating than Gee Dubs. The Democrats have been coasting on the, "Well, eventually everyone's going to get pissed about this," idea for, like, five years now. Didn't help in 2004, won't help in 2008.

Meanwhile, watching clips of the Gibson/Palin interview, there was one thing that was blatantly obvious right away. The woman went to the Dale Carnegie How to Win Friends and Influence People school of public relations. Every second or third sentence started with, "Charlie..." or, "Now, Charlie..." The thing about Palin that worked as long as she was running for the mayor of a small town or governor of a sparsely populated state is that she relates to people. I've heard this time and time again. I hadn't seen it up close and personal until now.

That style works well up until a point, and major national office is an interesting one. Also, if you're not the person being directly addressed and instead watching it, like, say on TV or the interweb, it comes off sounding manipulative (also annoying). You don't hear experienced politicians using their interviewers' names very often, because they're aware of the fact that they aren't addressing the interviewer (save in round-table discussion, when it usually is a televised discussion as opposed to an interview).

Hell, watch Letterman or Leno. You don't see those interviewees starting off every other sentence with, "Dave," or, "Jay." It's just not a good idea.

suzy-q said...

Yeah, I hit post before I mentioned the fact that I wanted to reach into the TV and smack her upside the head every time she said, "Charlie." I was actually yelling at her last night as she was doing it.

suzy-q said...

Oh, and she can't say "nuclear." She's W in a dress. ARGH! Why can't these idiots say NUKE-LEE-AR?!?!? It's not nu-ke-lar.


I'm channeling my Lewis Black.

Sniffnoy said...

OK, I don't get it. Why would you constantly address someone by name when talking to them anyway? That's something characters on TV shows do so the viewers can learn their names, it's not something people do in real life. OK, I do it occasionally, but then I want it to sound strange.

Geds said...

Why would you constantly address someone by name when talking to them anyway?

As I recall from the time I read How to Win Friends and Influence People, one of the bits of advice that keeps getting passed around is, "People like to hear the sound of their name. So say their name a lot." As with any fundamentally good piece of advice, people who don't understand where it's coming from use it improperly.

If you're trying to get someone's attention, "Hey, Bob," is far more polite than, "Hey, you," and, in general, addressing people by name is a sign that you care enough to know their name. People who do what Palin did with Charlie Gibson, however, generally don't quite grasp the concept that once is enough and do it all the time because, hey, that's what someone told them to do. It then comes off as forced and manipulative, or simply just weird.

At least, that's always been my interpretation. I think a lot of the things that people do that are weird come from that sort of misapplication of a good idea.

Tayi said...

It sounded to me like she was using "Charlie" to fill in space when she couldn't follow what she was actually saying. Like "um" or "uh" or any other kind of nervous habit. I did think it made her sound very nervous. Maybe there is a part of her that knows she's out of her league.

But people like my family will look at her published positions on things like abortion and think she must be a good, competent person no matter what the evidence of their eyes tells them, because she's devoutly religious. I'm really afraid that what matters more than anything is whether or not people see her, and by extension McCain, as part of their own tribe. And as badly as she speaks, she does speak that language.

Fiat Lex said...

Tayi, your point about Palin "speaking the language" is well made. Seems like nobody on any side expects politicians to display sincerity or discuss the practicalities of governance. I think it's crazy that they call this "identity politics" when the only individual identity a candidate seems to be allowed is which of a handful of buzzwords constitute his or her stock response to any issue.

It causes me great pain to hear my mother (who possesses plenty of intellectual capacity) and older sister (whom I respect on other matters) talk about Palin in warm, approving tones. Gaah! All she is is a shiny object, like Bill Maher was talking about the other night, to distract everyone from how similar McCain is likely to be to Bush.

I didn't like the way the show handled making fun of that "Bush Doctrine" gaffe though. The conservative on the panel made the cogent point then when the Bush doctrine or other types of policy things were brought up to vice-presidential candidates in debate, the meaning of the explained in the question. His point was that everyone was making fun of Palin for a manufactured "duh" moment as the result of a hostile interview question.

I don't know that that's a valid argument, since a vice-president needs to be extremely well versed in matters of current and future policy, especially within her own party. But I absolutely did not like the way the other people on the show responded. They shouted down the objection, failed to acknowledge the point he was trying to make, and instead belittled his intelligence and that of Palin.

To me it exemplifies the worrisome trend of childish name-calling and the absence of meaningful discourse on the part of just about everyone I see on TV who tries to tell me about politics. They'll have one or two talking points per day, to tease me with the idea that I'm getting a tiny slice of real news, and after that it's all hyperboly, bombast and sniggering.

Which is the chicken and which the egg, between voter apathy and media disdain of the public's intelligence?