Sarah Palin and the horizontal mambo

Journalism pretty much bites these days. Wait, first a disclaimer. I’ve already voted for Obama. And another. While I was watching Dancing With The Stars last night I kept thinking it would be fun to do the horizontal mambo with Sarah Palin. I know. I’m losing it.

But, hey. That’s far from the nastiest thing anyone has said about Palin in the last few weeks. And at least I had the hockey pucks to put it in print where readers would know who said it — namely, me. All too often these days you see something in print or online and you have no idea who is saying it. Or if it is even true. Who is to say that a reporter/writer just doesn’t make something up to support the point he or she wants to make? It happens. And regardless of whether the quote is unattributed or made up, it bites.

Here’s an example. Rachel Weiner, writing in The Huffington Post, Palin a “Whack Job,” Top McCain Adviser Says:

One of John McCain’s advisers recently called his running mate Sarah Palin a “diva” after she went off-script at a rally, and suggested she was looking after her own political future over the current campaign. Now another adviser ups the ante in a conversation with the Politico’s Playbook, labeling Palin a “whack job.”

Wow. Two unnamed McCain advisers in one paragraph. Sweet. And I tried without luck to find the original story on Politico’s Playbook, without success. But Chris Mathews was talking about it on his show, Hardball, so it must be true. Well, maybe not.

At least two problems here. Are the statements even true? And if so, what’s the credibility of the “advisers”? That’s a matter of journalism ethics. It should be important, but I get the sense that it’s not really these days. And it will most likely become even less so as the old media give way to the new.

Second, I think it is fair to criticize Palin — and any other candidate — on her or his record and experience. I think Palin’s resume is way too thin to be a serious candidate for vice president. There, I said it on the record. But I didn’t have to be nasty, or uncivil, about it. And that’s a problem.

We are so polarized as a nation that we can no longer have a thoughtful debate on important issues. That’s a shame because this election should be more than about clothes and associations with people from the 60s. Good grief. And even if Obama and the Democrats in Congress sweep the elections and govern with a real majority, we’ll still be a nation very much divided red state and blue.

The reason: civility. I’ve written about this previously and I believe it is important. We can teach — or at least try to teach — accounting, finance, management, public relations strategy, whatever — but apparently we can’t teach civility or ethics. Maybe we should try.

Oh. I was thinking about this while running in the cold and drizzle this morning. Ted Stevens says he isn’t going to abandon his bid for re-election to the Senate in Alaska despite the annoyance of a criminal conviction. Suppose he wins — and then the Senate forces him to resign?

Could Sarah Palin appoint herself to complete his term?

Then she would be a Washington insider — and ready to go in 2012.

In that case, ah, just kidding about the horizontal mambo reference.


4 responses to “Sarah Palin and the horizontal mambo

  1. Could Sarah Palin appoint herself to complete his (Steven’s) term?

    If Palin can just tell Alaskans to (wink, wink) re-elect Teddy and she’ll take care of the rest. Hmm. Can she legally appoint herself to the post? What the hell, it’s Alaska. No one’s watching — or at least no one has been since Stevens got elected umpteen decades ago and started raking in the loot!

    It’s a brilliant strategy that would put her instantly on the national stage.

    We may all agree Ms. Palin’s resume is too thin and her style a tad annoying at times. But she’s no dummie, be assured of that. She is, however, a self-proclaimed redneck. Her words, not mine.

  2. I think people who underestimate Sarah Palin do so at their own risk.

    And like Hank Williams Jr. says in the ads endorsing John McCain: “We ain’t bitter, we love God and we respect the right to own guns. If you don’t understand that, you don’t understand America.”

    Sarah in 2012: bring it on. (Disclaimer: I voted for Obama. It took me 10 minutes 🙂 )

  3. I consider Palin an enertaining oddity, but she has folksy NAILED. She fills a void for many people – conservatives, “rednecks ” and some moderates who feel disenfranchised by our political process and the players in it.

    That is her base, and she has deftly played to them. I don’t know if it will lift her to permanent national prominence though – the MSM abhors her. But I think McCain made the correct political decision in selecting her. She’s energized the conservative base, compelled the disenfranchised voters to take a second look at him and she has helped draw money and volunteers.

    Unfortuntely, in this race, neither candidate has made a genuine move to the middle. That is a major strategic blunder. And it rattles me because I expect even more polarization after Tuesday.

    No matter who wins next week, it is going to be a long, difficult and painful four years.

  4. Tim,

    You are absolutely correct. The next president — either McCain or Obama — is faced with serious problems and not much room for spending because of the recent bailout to banks, Wall Street, etc. It’s going to be tough. And that’s why I think it is important to address the issues with a degree of civility. I really believe that the overly partisan nature of government these days contributes to the problems.

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