Tag Archives: Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin and the Secret Service Prostitute Scandal

Well, I guess we can be thankful that the party planners at the General Services Administration weren’t involved in organizing the president’s trip to Colombia for an economic summit. Otherwise the dispute over hundreds of dollars allegedly owed to a prostitute for services rendered would have escalated to thousands, maybe more.

In any event, with several resignations so far and more likely, this appears to be a fairly expensive party for some of the Secret Service agents involved. Better they should have hired a clown and a mind reader and engaged in “team-building” exercises. LOL

Anyway, here’s from the NYT:

A Secret Service agent preparing for President Obama’s arrival at an international summit meeting and a single mother from Colombia who makes a living as a high-priced escort faced off in a room at the Hotel Caribe a week ago over how much he owed her for the previous night’s intercourse. “I tell him, ‘Baby, my cash money,’ ” the woman said in her first public comments on a dispute that would soon spiral into a full-blown scandal.

The disagreement over her price — he offered $30 for services she thought they had agreed were worth more than 25 times that — set off a tense early morning quarrel in the hallway of the luxury hotel involving the woman, another prostitute, Colombian police officers arguing on the women’s behalf and American federal agents who tried but failed to keep the matter from escalating.

On Wednesday, in a setback to the reputation of those who protect the president, the Secret Service prepared to fire one supervisor tied to the alleged misconduct with prostitutes on the Cartagena trip, the agency said in a statement. Another supervisor has decided to retire, and a third employee will be allowed to resign, the statement said. Eight other employees remain under investigation.

“These guys have the clearest cases,” said a government official briefed on the investigation, referring to the three who are being pushed out.

The employees under scrutiny have been asked to take lie detector tests; only one has agreed to do so, the official said. The supervisor who is being fired has threatened to sue, Mark Sullivan, the director of the Secret Service, has told officials.

Sitting in her living room wearing a short jean skirt, high-heeled espadrilles and a spandex top with a plunging neckline, the prostitute described how she and another woman were approached by a group of American men at a discotheque. In an account consistent with the official version of events coming out of Washington, but could not be independently confirmed, she said the men bought a bottle of Absolut vodka for the table and when that was finished bought a second one.

“They never told me they were with Obama,” she said, addressing published reports that some agents may have openly boasted to prostitutes that they were there protecting the president. “They were very discreet.”

Well, discreet, perhaps. And at least they were in sync other members of the administration, focused on job creation and economic development. Pretty much like Jeff Immelt at GE, the head of Obama’s job council. I digress.

This scandal, of course, is not just a black eye for the Secret Service and the administration, but it raises some legitimate questions about how safe the president is, especially when he travels to foreign countries. Admit it. Would you go to Colombia — or worse yet, Mexico — without the most stringent security available?

And then no political story is complete these days without Sarah Palin being involved. Here’s from The Daily Mail:

One of the senior Secret Service agents who lost his job in the wake of the Colombia prostitution scandal joked about protecting Sarah Palin in a post on his Facebook page.

David Randall Chaney, a 48-year-old supervisor, wrote that he was ‘really checking out’ the vice-presidential candidate when he guarded her during the 2008 election campaign.

But Ms Palin yesterday hit back at the disgraced agent who retired this week after being suspended along with ten others involved in an argument with escorts at a hotel.

And:

He posted numerous pictures with her in the foreground and him standing in the background wearing a suit and dark glasses.

After a friend suggested that Chaney had ‘real chemistry’ with the Alaska governor, he replied: ‘I was really checking her out, if you know what I mean?’

 Ms Palin reacted with anger when she heard about the married agent’s comments.

‘This agent was kind of ridiculous in posting pictures and comments about checking someone out,’ she said on Fox News. ‘Well check this out, bodyguard – you’re fired! And I hope his wife… sends him to the dog house.’

‘A lot of people will say this is boys being boys, and boys will be boys, but they shouldn’t be in positions of authority. I think it’s pretty embarrassing,’ the 48-year-old added. ‘I’ve had enough of these men being dogs and not being responsible.’

Palin said it was ‘a symptom of government run amok’. ‘It’s like, who’s minding the store around here?’ she told Fox News.

‘The president, for one, he better be wary, there, of when Secret Service is accompanying his family on vacation. They may be checking out the first lady instead of guarding her.’

Oh boy. Can’t wait to see the HBO movie about all this.
Wonder who will get the role of the clown?
And the prostitute?

 

 

Jeb Bush: Next Up?

Well, just when I figured it couldn’t get much worse for the Republicans as they try to pick a candidate to face Prez O in November, the Chattering Class is blathering about the possibility of a brokered convention and Jeb Bush getting the call from the bullpen to enter the game in the late innings.

Just what we need, another Bush in the White House. Woot!

This story got wings yesterday when Jonathan Karl an ABC News scribbler quoted an unnamed but “prominent” GOP senator as saying that if Romney doesn’t win the GOP primary in Michigan then he would call for a new candidate, Jeb Bush, to enter the race. Here’s from Mediaite:

For those out there loving the current Republican race but worrying that it has become somewhat orthodox in appearance and stable in candidates and support numbers, fear not: ABC News’ Jonathan Karl has the blind item for you. In the most mysterious and, for the GOP, worrisome dispatch on the Republican field in a while, Karl reports that a “prominent Republican senator” told him that the Party will not stand for a Mitt Romney loss in Michigan, and that he expects a result like that to lead the Senator to “publicly call for the party to find a new candidate,” likely former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.

The report begins with an unsurprising statement: that Republicans cannot see Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich winning the general election (of course, since this is GOP establishment, Rep. Ron Paul isn’t even mentioned) and would have wanted a stronger candidate. “If Romney can’t win in Michigan, the Republican Party needs to go back to the drawing board and convince somebody new to get into the race,” the top senator told Karl.

Gee, I thought John McCain was in Egypt mucking around in the Mubarak trial. I digress. And I just learned how to spell Santorum, in advance of the Ohio primary March 6.

Anyway, yawn. Not much of a story, especially since Karl didn’t name the senator.

But if we’re going to be throwing out names for new candidates, let me suggest one: Sarah Palin. And Palin, apparently, hasn’t shut the door completely on a run for the White House. Here’s from the Daily Mail:

There may be only four candidates currently battling it out for the Republican presidential nomination but at least one person who stayed out of the race still harbours hopes of finishing ahead of all of them – Sarah Palin.

In an interview with Fox Business News yesterday, the former Alaska governor and 2008 vice-presidential nominee made clear that she relishes the prospect of a brokered Republican convention in Tampa in August. She also did little to hide the fact that she believes she might emerge from the chaos as the nominee.

Eric Bolling, the interviewer, presented the scenario of a brokered convention, when none of the candidates have the 1,144 delegates needed for victory or can cut a deal to reach that number. ‘If it does get to that and someone said, ‘Governor, would you be interested’, would you be interested?’

Palin responded: ‘Well, for one, I think that it could get to that. And I — you know, if it had to — if it had to be kind of closed up today, the whole nominating process, then we would be looking at a brokered convention.

‘I mean nobody is quite there yet. So I think that months from now, if that’s the case, then, you know, all bets are off as to who it will be willing to offer themselves up in the name of service to their country. I would do whatever I could to help.’

OK. Let’s get real.

No matter who gets the GOP nod, he/she is going to get thumped by Prez O in November. The perception is that the economy is improving, that neither party will do anything about the growing federal debt, and a GOP candidate focused mostly on conservative social issues is going to have a tough time. (Ron Paul: “I Think It’s A Losing Position For Republicans To Focus on Social Issues.”) And this score isn’t going to change between now and November: Navy Seals One – Bin Laden Zero.

If the GOP is going to crash and burn, why not go down in flames with Sarah Palin?

At least that would be entertaining.

So in the spirit of the Cleveland Indians and other MLB teams that are opening Spring training camps this week, could someone please call Sarah and have her start warming up in the bullpen.

Just in case.

 

 

 

Sarah Palin: Sorry About That

Gee. I hope it wasn’t anything I said. Yesterday early a.m. I opined in this space that Sarah Palin was being somewhat of a tease about her presidential ambitions — much like Chris Christie who was out before he was even in.

Later in the day, Palin told radio commentator Mark Levin that she would remain on the sidelines during the race for the White House as well.

Wow. Who knew that this pajama-clad citizen journalist could spark such a development? For those, like me, who would have liked to have seen Palin in the race, what can I say? My bad.

Here’s from the WaPo story “Sarah Palin won’t run for president, ending months of speculation“:

Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin ended her months-long flirtation with a presidential bid Wednesday, announcing in a letter to supporters that she will use her influence next year to help elect Republicans from statehouses to the White House.

Palin’s announcement, which also cited the needs of her family, ends nearly a year’s worth of media speculation about her political aspirations that she fueled with regular public comments and posts on Twitter and Facebook — and with a high-profile bus tour over the summer that included stops in key early-voting states.

Among the questions now are whether she will choose to play a role in winnowing the Republican field or confine herself to remaining one of President Obama’s chief adversaries. GOP strategists said Wednesday that Palin’s popularity with tea party activists and her fundraising prowess would help any candidate with whom she aligns herself. Candidates quickly started sending out complimentary statements after Palin’s announcement, suggesting that the courtship for her endorsement has begun.

“Sarah Palin is a good friend, a great American, and a true patriot,” Texas Gov. Rick Perry said in a statement. She will “continue to be a strong voice for conservative values and needed change in Washington,” he added.

Palin’s decision did not come as a surprise to most political strategists, who believed it was too late for her to build a winning organization so close to January, when primary voting is expected to begin. In that respect, the news ends an era for Palin, who rocketed to stardom after being chosen by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) as his running mate in 2008 and since then has become something of a cultural phenomenon. Speculation about whether she would run again for national office has never stopped.

Yet some Republicans — and Palin herself — said the announcement also represents a new beginning, allowing the Fox News commentator, tea party favorite and prodigious fundraiser to continue wielding political influence through the 2012 election cycle.

“You’re unshackled, and you’re allowed to be more active,” Palin said in a radio interview with Mark Levin. In a letter to supporters read aloud on Levin’s show and later posted on Facebook, Palin said: “We need to continue to actively and aggressively help those who will stop the ‘fundamental transformation’ of our nation and instead seek the restoration of our greatness, our goodness and our constitutional republic based on the rule of law. In the coming weeks, I will help coordinate strategies to assist in replacing the president, retaking the Senate and maintaining the House.”

Oh well.

Wonder what Herman Cain is up to today?

 

Christie Says No. Will Palin Say Yes?

Gee. Chris Christie is out of the presidential race before he was even in. And beyond the Chattering Class on TV, was there really a national groundswell of support among Republicans to see the New Jersey gov running for the White House?

Don’t think so.

And WaPo pundit Dana Milbank apparently agrees with me. He opines in his opinion article “Chris Christie, such a presidential tease“:

The political world was shocked and dismayed to discover that Chris Christie is not running for president.

Presumably this is because the New Jersey governor dropped so many hints about joining the race for the Republican nomination.

Such as this one from last year: “Short of suicide, I don’t really know what I’d have to do to convince you people that I’m not running. I’m not running!”

The tease!

And this one in February: “What do I have to do short of suicide to convince people I’m not running? Apparently, I actually have to commit suicide to convince people I’m not running.”

The incorrigible flirt!

Christie even made his case to late-night comedians. “You might run for president?” Jimmy Fallon asked in November.

“No chance,” the governor replied.

“No chance?”

“No chance.”

Heedless of the disavowals, the press continued to puff up the Christie candidacy, aided by establishment Republicans eager to have the governor in the race. But when Christie went before the cameras Tuesday afternoon in Trenton, it was clear that, for all the frenzy, it had never been a real possibility.

“No matter how many times I was asked the question, for me the answer was never anything but no,” Christie pointed out, accurately. While he said he weighed “earnestly” the pleas for him to run, “In the end, what I’ve always felt was the right decision remains the right decision today. Now is not my time.”

A reporter asked Christie why he thought “the drum beats have gotten louder.”

“You’d have to ask the people who were beating the drums,” the non-candidate answered.

Good idea. Christie emerges from this extended national period of ego-stroking with his stature enhanced by the pervasive, and baseless, speculation. The same cannot be said of the Republicans who peddled the Christie non-story and the journalists who took their hype seriously.

So that pretty much leaves the GOP nomination to Mitt Romney.

Oh, wait. What about Sarah Palin? Is she coming in? Or staying on the sidelines?

Here’s from Politico, “GOP looks past Sarah Palin for 2012“:

Sarah Palin hasn’t closed the door yet on a presidential bid. But few Republicans appear to be waiting for her answer.

Never was it clearer than Tuesday, when Chris Christie’s announcement that he would not run in 2012 prompted a throng of strategists to conclude the Republican field was finally set – never mind Palin’s indecision. A new poll published on the same day revealed that two thirds of Republicans don’t want her to run.

After spending the better part of three years in the center of the national political spotlight, the former vice presidential candidate appears to have worn out the patience of the GOP.

Even as Republicans continue to cast about for new options, only a distinct minority are gazing longingly toward Wasilla – or wherever else Palin is in her secretive, largely apolitical travel schedule.

“She stirs up a lot of conservatives in the base, but I don’t think conservatives are looking to her as a presidential nominee who can save the conservative movement,” said Chuck Muth, the Nevada-based conservative activist. “What niche in the conservative movement does Sarah Palin fill that’s not already filled by one of the other candidates?”

Ralph Reed, who heads the Faith and Freedom Coalition, suggested that Palin could resonate with the same kind of voter who gravitates toward Bachmann and Rick Perry.

“It’s a person who is a devout Christian and a solid social conservative who also has a lot of credentials with the tea party movement,” Reed said. “When you’ve got Herman Cain beating frontrunners to win [the Florida straw poll] it shows you where the activists are right now and I think that’s right in Palin’s wheelhouse.”

But he cautioned: “There’d be room for her, but the clock is ticking.”

Palin sounded unconcerned about the pressure of timing last week when she rolled past her own end-of-September deadline for deciding on the presidential race. She told Fox News that she still has to consider whether being a candidate would “prohibit [her] from being out there, out of a box, not allowing handlers to shape me.”

She’s not hurrying that thought process, either: Palin’s traveling to South Korea next week to speak at an economic forum, even though filing deadlines in New Hampshire and South Carolina are weeks away.

In the meantime, more and more primary voters appear to be drifting out of Palin’s reach.

Indeed, as she drags out her 2012 decision, a politician who has often complained of being talked about unfavorably is risking an even grimmer fate: Not being talked about at all.

Ah. What a tease.

 

Weiner and Sarah: Apology?

OK. I said last week that I wasn’t going to touch the Weiner story. But the story that paints the New York congressman as an ethically challenged social media guru — someone expert in both digital photography and texting — is too rich to pass up this early a.m. And it’s one of two stories dominating the news cycle. The other. The midnight ride of Sarah Palin.

In the PR biz, the standard advice in crisis management is to take responsibility — and apologize. Congressman Weiner was a little late in taking responsibility, or even admitting any involvement in sending photos of himself to woman around the country. But he sure knows how to apologize.

Here’s from Dana Milbank, opining in WaPo, “Anthony Weiner’s apology-fest“:

Have you received an apology yet from Anthony Weiner? If not, you haven’t been listening.

He apologized to his wife: “I am deeply sorry for the pain this has caused my wife, Huma.”

He apologized to the young woman he sent the lewd photo to on Twitter: “We exchanged some text messages, mostly for me to express my abject apologies for how she got dragged into this.”

He even apologized to his main tormenter, the conservative publisher of BigGovernment.com: “I apologize to Andrew Breitbart.”

Anybody left out? “Everyone that I misled — everyone in the media, my staff, the people that I — that I lied to about this — they all deserve an apology. . . All of you who were misled, the people who I lied to, I have an apology for all of them.”

In all, Weiner spoke of an apology or apologizing or being apologetic 19 times in his news conference during which he finally came clean — or partially clean — about his rude behavior with women in social media. He offered up the word “sorry” 11 times, expressed “regret” 18 times, spoke of his responsibility 14 times, and used various and sundry other expressions of shame and remorse.

Regrets were offered to “my constituents, my friends, supporters and staff,” to “the many people that put so much faith and confidence in me,” to “the people I care about most.”

Wow. And to think I used to make big bucks advising people to do that. I digress. Well, if nothing else, it looks like Weiner knows how to apologize.

Then there is Sarah. And the great thing about her is that she never says she’s sorry.

The latest flap. She kinda put a new spin on the old story about Paul Revere while she was visiting Boston during her non-candidate bus tour. And not only is she not apologizing, she says she is correct and her supporters are rewriting history.

Here’s from WaPo — and for you believe in media conspiracies to undercut Sarah get this, the writer is Rachel Weiner — “Fight brews over Sarah Palin on Paul Revere Wikipedia page“:

Supporters of former Alaska governor Sarah Palin have taken to Wikipedia, where they have been trying all weekend to revise the page on Paul Revere to reflect her recent comments.

In her trip to Massachusetts last week, Palin flubbed the history of Revere’s ride, saying that he rode through Boston ringing bells to warn the British that the revolutionaries were armed and ready to fight. Revere actually rode quietly, to warn the revolutionaries that British troops were headed their way.

As first noticed by the blog Little Green Footballs, Palin fans have been attempting to add her version of the story to Revere’s Wikipedia page — a source of research information for more than half of college students. Other users have been deleting the changes as they appear, arguing that what Palin said in the past week should be kept separate from a page about an event that happened hundreds of years ago.

Palin is hardly alone among politicians for getting American history wrong. Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann (R) made a similar gaffe on a trip to New Hampshire earlier this year, placing the battles of Lexington and Concord in that state.

Where Palin is unique is in her — and her fans — defiant attitude. Bachmann admitted on Facebook that “it was my mistake” and turned it into a joking jab at Massachusetts. Palin, on the other hand, went on “Fox News Sunday” this weekend and defended her version of events.

“I didn’t mess up,” Palin said. “I answered candidly and I know my American history … Part of his ride was to warn the British that we’re already there.”

Defending Palin, some commentators have pointed out that Revere did tell the British about armed colonial militiamen — after he was captured and held at gunpoint. According to “Paul Revere’s Ride” by David Hackett Fischer, Revere was trying to lead his captors away from Lexington (where Sam Adams and John Hancock were hidden) by saying that danger awaited them there.

And for those who delight in advancing the “Sarah is stupid” mantra, here’s a story on NPR with host Melissa Block that quotes Professor Robert Allison, Chairman of the History Department at Suffolk University, as saying that, ah, Sarah basically got the Paul Revere story right.

BLOCK: So Paul Revere was ringing those bells? He was a silversmith, right?

Prof. ALLISON: Well, he was – he also was a bell ringer. That is, he rang the bells at Old North Church as a boy. But he personally is not getting off his horse and going to ring bells. He’s telling other people – and this is their system before Facebook, before Twitter, before NPR, this was the way you get a message out is by having people ring church bells and everyone knows there is an emergency.

And by this time, of course, the various town Committees of Safety, militia knew what the signals were, so they knew something was afoot. So this is no longer a secret operation for the British.

Revere isn’t trying to alert the British, but he is trying to warn them. And in April of 1775, no one was talking about independence. We’re still part of the British Empire. We’re trying to save it. So this is a warning to the British Empire what will happen if you provoke Americans.

BLOCK: And Sarah Palin also was saying there that Paul Revere’s message to the British in his warning was: you’re not going to take American arms. You know, basically a Second Amendment argument, even though the Second Amendment didn’t exist then.

Prof. ALLISON: Yeah. She was making a Second Amendment case. But, in fact, the British were going out to Concord to seize colonists’ arms, the weapons that the Massachusetts Provincial Congress was stockpiling there.

So, yeah, she is right in that. I mean, and she may be pushing it too far to say this is a Second Amendment case. Of course, neither the Second Amendment nor the Constitution was in anyone’s mind at the time. But the British objective was to get the arms that were stockpiled in Concord.

BLOCK: So you think basically, on the whole, Sarah Palin got her history right.

Prof. ALLISON: Well, yeah, she did. And remember, she is a politician. She’s not an historian. And God help us when historians start acting like politicians, and I suppose when politicians start writing history.

I’m just reporting the news.

Sorry about that.

Jobs and the 2012 Presidential Election

OK. I’m not going to touch the Weiner story. And with fretting over the congressman and his Twitter account, Sarah Palin and Snooki, the lamestream media have their hands full these days. Hope reporters, editors and TV Talking Heads don’t miss the big story: the economy, jobs and how this could play out in the run for the White House this year and next.

It now appears that the U.S. economy — in the midst of a jobless recovery from recession — is beginning to slow. Here’s from WaPo, “U.S. economy: Manufacturing slowdown the latest sign the recovery is faltering“:

The economic recovery is faltering, and Washington is running out of ways to get it back on track.

Two bright spots over the past few months — manufacturing and job creation by private companies — both slowed in May, according to new reports Wednesday. The data come amid other reports of falling home prices, declining auto sales, weaker consumer spending and a rising pace of layoffs.

Just a few months ago, the economy seemed poised to finally strengthen. Business confidence was rising, and extensive government efforts to foster growth were underway. But those hopes are being dashed. Forecasters who once projected economic growth of 3.5 to 4 percent for the year have slashed their estimates with each round of disappointing numbers.

Instead of accelerating, the U.S. economy is puttering along at a growth rate of 2 to 3 percent — barely enough to bring down joblessness slowly, if at all.

That means that millions are unemployed, many are underemployed and others have given up looking for work altogether. That’s not good news for Prez O as he looks to keep his job in 2012.

Here’s from the NYT, “Economic Data May Be Key to Obama’s Job“:

No American president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt has won a second term in office when the unemployment rate on Election Day topped 7.2 percent.

Seventeen months before the next election, it is increasingly clear that President Obama must defy that trend to keep his job.

Roughly 9 percent of Americans who want to go to work cannot find an employer. Companies are firing fewer people, but hiring remains anemic. And the vast majority of economic forecasters, including the president’s own advisers, predict only modest progress by November 2012.

The latest job numbers, due Friday, are expected to provide new cause for concern. Other indicators suggest the pace of growth is flagging. Weak manufacturing data, a gloomy reading on jobs in advance of Friday’s report and a drop in auto sales led the markets to their worst close since August, and those declines carried over into Asia Thursday.

But the grim reality of widespread unemployment is drawing little response from Washington. The Federal Reserve says it is all but tapped out. There is even less reason to expect Congressional action. Both Democrats and Republicans see clear steps to create jobs, but they are trying to walk in opposite directions and are making little progress.

Republicans have set the terms of debate by pressing for large cuts in federal spending, which they say will encourage private investment. Democrats have found themselves battling to minimize and postpone such cuts, which they fear will cause new job losses.

House Republicans told the president that they would not support new spending to spur growth during a meeting at the White House on Wednesday.

“The discussion really focused on the philosophical difference on whether Washington should continue to pump money into the economy or should we provide an incentive for entrepreneurs and small businesses to grow,” said Eric Cantor, the majority leader. “The president talked about a need for us to continue to quote-unquote invest from Washington’s standpoint, and for a lot of us that’s code for more Washington spending, something that we can’t afford right now.”

There really are some big fish in the skillet these days: government spending, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and the war in Afghanistan among them. But when we get to making decisions in 2012, we’re going to be looking at jobs and the economy. And as a nation, we might not like what we see.

Sarah and Snooki: Stupid?

OK. As Dutch Reagan would say, “Here I go again.” The first and generally only thing that most liberals — especially women — can say about Sarah Palin is that she is stupid. I opined about that last week, and for this pajama-clad citizen journalist up most days before the crack of dawn to separate fact from fiction, it’s getting more than a little tiring.

Without asking her to reveal her SAT scores, Palin appears to be plenty smart enough to have the lamestream media chasing themselves around the country reporting on a non-story — and complaining that the non-candidate (at least at this point) won’t grant them access or interviews.

Wow. For Mitt Romney and the gaggle of other Republican presidential candidate wannabes this kind of media coverage would be a wet dream come true.

Here’s a view on all this from across the pond, from The Guardian, “Sarah Palin’s mystery bus tour keeps US media guessing on 2012 bid“:

Sarah Palin has arrived in Philadelphia on day three of a mystery bus tour that is swamping US media coverage of the Republican race for the White House, leaving her rivals struggling to win attention.

Palin, who began her road trip in Washington, is refusing to provide an itinerary for the media, in what is being interpreted as payback for the hostility she faced in the 2008 election.

“It’s not really an intention to play cat and mouse,” she said. But the tactic has worked spectacularly to her advantage, with reporters gleefully turning her tour into a chase and guessing game about her next stop.

Reporters are enjoying the novelty so much that there is even a Twitter hashtag, #wheressarah, logging sightings and speculating on her next venue.

When reporters do catch her, the inevitable question is whether she intends to join other Republicans in seeking the nomination to take on Barack Obama in 2012. She insists she has not made up her mind. “I don’t know, I honestly don’t know,” she says.

The 2008 Republican vice-presidential candidate may be engaged in an elaborate tease but, after a few months in which she largely dropped out of public view, the bus tour has renewed speculation that she is contemplating joining the contest.

She even admitted to reporters she had been thinking about what kind of campaign she might run, saying it would be non-traditional and unconventional – a bit like her bus trip.

On Tuesday night, Palin made a brief visit to Donald Trump, who flirted with a presidential bid earlier this year, stopping by the tycoon’s Trump Tower condominium in New York before heading out to dinner. She greeted a few tourists and joked to reporters that she would encourage Trump to stop contributing to Democrats.

And another perspective from Morning Joe Scarborough, “Why Should Media Care About Sarah Palin’s Big Fat Weekend of Nothing“:

On Morning Joe, co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski were in agreement that they didn’t understand anyone’s fascination with Sarah Palin’s bus tour sweeping the East Coast. Mika suggested, “I don’t know what’s going on there” and Scarborough wondered why they were even wasting time talking about it.

Scarborough declared, “if she decides she wants to run, we’ll talk about it,” but until then he was concerned more about the media’s role:

“So she goes out, she does a big old fat weekend of nothing politically. . . . I’m not knocking Sarah Palin, but the press just swarms around her. It’s like ‘ok Donald Trump is gone, so who do we go to now?’”

When it comes to using the news media to promote herself and her views, do you really believe that Sarah Palin is stupid? LOL

Of course, if they aren’t chasing Sarah Palin around the country, journalists would be in even more of a feeding frenzy on the story unfolding in Italy. It appears that Snooki had an encounter with the police in Florence.

Here’s from the Daily Mail, “Brace Yourselves. Snooki is up to mischief again as she feigns injury after car crash … and is branded a national embarrassment“:

She may have put two Italian police officers in hospital with whiplash, cuts and bruises.

But it seems the car crash she was involved in yesterday is just one big joke to Jersey Shore’s Snooki.

The smiling MTV reality star was pictured today wearing a neck brace in the Renaissance city of Florence – although apparently she didn’t seem to need it.

In what appeared to be mere tomfoolery for the cameras, the 23-year-old TV star is seen whipping off the neck restraint while bursting into fits of laughter.

It comes just hours after Snooki, real name Nicole Polizzi, had her driving licence taken off her following a fender bender, which saw her plough into the side of a police patrol car.

Her behaviour has prompted the president of a national Italian-American group to brand Snooki as the country’s worst ever export.

UNICO President Andre Dimino told celebrity website RadarOnline: ‘She really is the lowest of the low and will do anything for attention, even hitting a police car.

Wonder what Sarah Palin and Snooki think about reporters, editors and TV Talking Heads who spend the bulk of their careers covering these stories — and about how easy it is for celebrities to manipulate the news media these days.

I bet they think the reporters, editors and TV Talking Heads are pretty stupid.

Just sayin’.

Sarah Palin, Ed Schultz and Civility

I made the mistake a few months ago during a dinner Inside the Beltway of asking why liberal women believe so strongly that conservative women are stupid? That question generated some polite smiles but no real answers. Still, since most at the dinner were liberal women (and men) the question went over like a fart in church.

I thought about that yesterday while chasing the treadmill and watching accounts of the Ed Schultz implosion. Schultz, a liberal Talking Head, called Laura Ingraham, a conservative Talking Head, a “right-wing slut.” Ouch.

Schultz later apologized and received one week in the cable TV penalty box from MSNBC.  And Ingraham didn’t appear to get her shorts in that big a knot over the description.

But what would have happened if a conservative gasbag made the same comment about a liberal woman? Just to make it interesting, let’s say Michelle Obama.

Here’s an interesting story by Noel Sheppard on News Busters, “Ingraham:If Conservative Called Liberal Woman What Schultz Called Me He’d Be Fired“:

One of the startlingly inconvenient truths about America is the double standard by which conservative women can be treated by the media compared to their liberal sisters.

And:

In America, liberal women and liberal minorities are a protected class. A conservative deigns to say anything derogatory about them even in jest does so at his or her peril.

But conservative women and minorities can be ridiculed with almost total impunity.

Consider what the left has done to Sarah Palin since the moment she was named as John McCain’s running mate in August 2008. There’s no chance a liberal woman would have been treated this way.

Quite the contrary, if Palin was a Democrat governor named as Barack Obama’s running mate, she would have been put on a pedestal by the same folks that mercilessly ridiculed her including Charlie Gibson, Katie Couric, and Tina Fey.

Condoleezza Rice is another example of a conservative woman who would be exceedingly revered and esteemed by America’s media if she was a liberal. Since she’s not, it’s completely acceptable for her to be trashed by all comers.

As further evidence of the double standard, consider that in 2007, radio’s Don Imus made a joke about a group of black, female, college basketball players that most of the nation likely never heard of. Within days, he was fired.

Four years later, a liberal radio host made a highly derogatory slur about a conservative woman – not in a joking fashion, mind you, but quite seriously – and he got suspended for a week while the ladies of ABC’s “The View” joked about how his offense was really nothing to take too seriously.

This certainly wouldn’t have been the case if Ingraham was a liberal.

Tough to imagine this double standard exists in the year 2011, isn’t it?

Well, no. Not really, especially since cable TV and shows like The View encourage and thrive on a total lack of civility.

Anyway, I guess I wasn’t all that stupid for asking that question of my dinner companions Inside the Beltway.

As we move toward the 2012 race for the White House, Michele Bachmann is expected to run and she should do well in the early primaries in Iowa and elsewhere.

And Sarah Palin is signaling that she may get into the race as well. She’s going to spend part of her Memorial Day weekend hitting the road on a national bus tour. First stop: New Hampshire.

The knock on both Palin and Bachmann from liberals, of course, is that they’re stupid.

We’ll see.

Enjoy the holiday weekend.

Trumping the News Media

Gee. That was quick. Donald Trump is out before he was ever really in. And without question, Trump is a smart, talented business executive who knows how to leverage his celebrity. He also has strong views on issues that resonate with many Americans — or at least those who still answer the phone during dinner hour so they can participate in political polls.

But was Trump ever really a serious candidate for the White House?

The national news media pundits — representing traditional media, new media and everything in between — sure gave him that status, especially the TV Talking Heads on the cable networks.

Any lessons here about the state of politics — and the news media?

Here’s from the NYT, “Trump Bows Out, but Spotlight Barely Dims“:

Donald J. Trump announced on Monday that he would not seek the presidency, a development less important for the Republican field or his national political future — if he ever had one — than for what it said about a media culture that increasingly seems to give the spotlight to the loudest, most outrageous voices.

Mr. Trump spent months earnestly portraying himself as a potential nominee for a party whose coalition includes family values activists, antigambling religious leaders and deficit hawks, some of whom might just have blanched at his two divorces, casino holdings, penchant for debt financing and formerly liberal positions on some issues.

To some degree he succeeded, using a combination of attributes that made him uniquely qualified to capitalize on the times: Near-universal name recognition (enhanced by his prime-time berth on NBC as the host of “Celebrity Apprentice”), gobs of cash and two decades of experience putting his outsize personality to use in the service of headline creation, starting in the pre-Internet era with the New York City tabloids.

“The media made him, the media kept him, the media kept promoting him,” said Stuart Spencer, a former political strategist for Ronald Reagan. Speaking of the proliferation of news outlets interested in politics, Mr. Spencer, 84 and admittedly fascinated by the new landscape, lamented, “There’s no referee anymore to evaluate what are serious issues and what are serious candidates.”

And here’s E.J. Dionne writing in WaPo, “Donald Trump: I’m Fired“:

So Donald Trump fired himself. Before he even tried to get the job. And he is laughing all the way to the several score banks he must do business with — and perhaps also to higher ratings.

Who wins out of this deal? Trump. Lord knows the monetary value of all the publicity he got as the media (including, briefly, yours truly) took seriously the possibility that he would run for president. Cable television especially hung on his every outlandish charge, and turned him, briefly, into the political-analyst-in-chief.  Heck, even his fiercest critics helped him by giving him even more publicity. Trump mainly cared about whether his name was spelled right – and it is an easy name to spell.

Who has a lot to answer for? Members of the media. Why, exactly, was Trump allowed to revive the nonsensical stories about President Obama’s birth certificate? Why did so many media people fall all over themselves (okay, ourselves) to “cover” him?

There is now a strange symbiosis where self-promotion, goosing ratings, selling books, kicking off a new TV season, winning more page-views and upping speaking fees all get masked together and the resulting porridge gets labeled as “politics.” Mike Huckabee (for whom I confess to having a soft spot) and Sarah Palin (for whom I do not have a comparable soft spot) have all used the political media to enhance their market value. Now Trump – in a much shorter time — has done the same. And the Republican contest for the presidency has been reduced to one big marketing exercise.

Think of it as the privatization of American politics. Issues, schmissues. Celebrity rules.

OK. I agree with Dionne. Sarah Palin has used the political media to enhance her market value. No doubt. But I expect that if Palin decides to run in 2012, she’ll be more of a serious candidate than Trump could ever have been. Saying that, I don’t think she’ll run. She’s a celebrity now.

And “celebrity rules” — although not necessarily when voters get in the queue on election day.

By then, I hope we have candidates who are serious — and who have engaged in a serious discussion of the big issues facing this country.

Sarah Palin and Obama’s WTF Moment

Wonder if anything else is going on in the world these days other than Sarah Palin opining on Obama’s State of the Union address and people fretting about snow storms in the power alleys of Wall Street and DC?

Oh, yeah. There appears to be big trouble brewing in Egypt and other parts of the Arab world as people — apparently young people in particular — are taking to the streets and challenging the rulers of their autocratic nations. And the situation must be serious and violent, since reports have it that Egypt has “gone dark,” eliminating Internet access so little information is getting in or out of the country.

OK, enough of that. Back to Sarah.

She views Obama’s “Winning the Future” theme as, well — WTF. (For those of you my age or older, go ahead and admit you don’t know what that means and check it out in the Urban Dictionary.”)

Here’s from a blog post by David Jackson on USA Today:

President Obama’s new slogan is “Winning the Future.”

To Sarah Palin, it’s “WTF.”

Palin used the acronym at least three times last night in discussing Obama’s State of the Union speech on Fox News. WTF is also a phone text-driven phrase used to avoid spelling out the f word; it stands for “what the (blank).”

“There were a lot of WTF moments through that speech,” the 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate told Fox’s Greta Van Susteren.

Palin used the phrase in reference to Obama’s discussion of the federal debt, and his claim that the U.S. faces a “Sputnik moment” when it comes to technology and innovation challenges from other countries.

Whether you like Sarah Palin or not, you have to admit that for someone who many criticize as not being serious enough or smart enough to be president, she seriously knows how to manipulate the news media, new and old. And she has been smart enough to position herself as the primary voice for conservatives and the front runner in the race for the White House in 2012 — even though nobody really knows at this point if she is running or not. Go figure.

Anyway, for a more thoughtful analysis beyond WTF of Obama’s remarks, here’s Charles Krauthammer, opining in WaPo, “The old Obama in new clothing“:

The November election sent a clear message to Washington: less government, less debt, less spending. President Obama certainly heard it, but judging from his State of the Union address, he doesn’t believe a word of it. The people say they want cuts? Sure they do – in the abstract. But any party that actually dares carry them out will be punished severely. On that, Obama stakes his reelection.

And:

It’s as if Obama is daring the voters – and the Republicans – to prove they really want smaller government. He’s manning the barricades for Obamacare, and he’s here with yet another spending – excuse me, investment – spree. To face down those overachieving Asians, Obama wants to sink yet more monies into yet more road and bridge repair, more federally subsidized teachers – with a bit of high-speed rail tossed in for style. That will show the Chinese.

And of course, once again, there is the magic lure of a green economy created by the brilliance of Washington experts and politicians. This is to be our “Sputnik moment,” when the fear of the foreigner spurs us to innovation and greatness of the kind that yielded NASA and the moon landing.

Apart from the irony of this appeal being made by the very president who has just killed NASA’s manned space program, there is the fact that for three decades, since Jimmy Carter’s synfuel fantasy, Washington has poured billions of taxpayer dollars down a rat hole in vain pursuit of economically competitive renewable energy.

And the concluding point:

Indeed, he went beyond this. He tried to cast this more-of-the-same into a call to national greatness, citing two Michigan brothers who produce solar shingles as a stirring example of rising to the Sputnik moment.

“We do big things,” Obama declared at the end of an address that was, on the contrary, the finest example of small-ball Clintonian minimalism since the days of school uniforms and midnight basketball.

From the moon landing to solar shingles. Is there a better example of American decline?

Oh well. WTF.