Poor Palin

If you haven’t read Douthat’s song of Sarah in today’s Times, you’re in for a real treat. He blames Letterman and comes up with this doozy:

But Sarah Palin represents the democratic ideal — that anyone can grow up to be a great success story without graduating from Columbia and Harvard.

This ideal has had a tough 10 months. It’s been tarnished by Palin herself, obviously. With her missteps, scandals, dreadful interviews and self-pitying monologues, she’s botched an essential democratic role — the ordinary citizen who takes on the elites, the up-by-your-bootstraps role embodied by politicians from Andrew Jackson down to Harry Truman.

[…]

Sarah Palin is beloved by millions because her rise suggested, however temporarily, that the old American aphorism about how anyone can grow up to be president might actually be true.

But her unhappy sojourn on the national stage has had a different moral: Don’t even think about it.

For now, let’s put aside the fact that Andrew Jackson was a successful general before running for president and the fact that Harry Truman had served in various public offices for 20 years before becoming president. There are plenty of ordinary Americans who can tell you what papers they read. There are plenty of ordinary Americans who don’t wink their way through job interviews. There are plenty of ordinary Americans who don’t sound like computer-generated speech.

Nothing annoys me more than the conservative myth that to be an ordinary American you have to be a moron. Although it’s probably just a corollary of the myth that to be an ordinary American you have to be conservative.






116 replies
  1. 1
    Aimai says:

    Uh…she didn’t prove that an ordinary American can become president in this reality. She proved something more trivially true, more like even a faith healing cannibal serial killer can be nominated for the Nobel prize in medicine because anyone can be nominated– they just tend not to hand the suckers out just because the cannibal appeals to other cannibals.

    In our reality Obama proved douthats democratic point, though he is unnwilling to acknowledge it.

    Aimai

  2. 2
    MikeJ says:

    How does it make you feel that there are plenty of ordinary Americans who don’t sound like computer-generated speech?

  3. 3
    r€nato says:

    Sarah Palin is beloved by millions because her rise suggested, however temporarily, that the old American aphorism about how anyone can grow up to be president might actually be true.

    Actually, our last three Democratic presidents – Obama, Clinton, and Carter – each and every one of them proved that anyone can grow up to be president.

    Fixed Douthat:

    Sarah Palin is beloved by millions because her rise suggested, however temporarily, that the old American aphorism about how anyone any old Bible-thumping idiot can grow up to be president might actually be true.

    …however, if it’s any consolation to Douthat, the GOP has proven that any old Bible-thumping idiot can get their party’s nomination for the presidency.

  4. 4
    monkeyboy says:

    In an aristocracy a large part of the function of the media is to convince the peons to be proud that they are peons and to stay in their place. Palin seems to be being used toward this end.

    I really can’t recall examples where ‘elite’ liberals/progressives do this. Sure there are things like “Black Pride” where blacks are encouraged not to be ashamed of their heritage, but it doesn’t say that their children highest aspiration should be to live in a falling down dangerous ghetto.

    The only Left encouragement for ‘low status’ is in the dropout (aka hippie) movement where some people are quite happy to live on a small farm that produces organic chickens and Brussels sprouts.

    Democratic politicians on the other hand make a habit of promising help to the poor that they never deliver on.

  5. 5
    Calouste says:

    But Sarah Palin represents the democratic ideal — that anyone can grow up to be a great success story without graduating from Columbia and Harvard.

    Just like George W. Bush and Meghan McCain represent the aristocratic ideal that anyone can graduate from Columbia or Princeton or Yale as long as you have enough money.

  6. 6

    Sarah Palin is beloved by millions because her rise suggested, however temporarily, that the old American aphorism about how anyone can grow up to be president might actually be true.

    But her unhappy sojourn on the national stage has had a different moral: Don’t even think about it.

    You have to admit, it is a real setback for ignorant, stupid and batshit-insane Americans everywhere.

  7. 7
    Surreal American says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t both Reagan and Clinton come from humble beginnings?

    Even if this not the case, I’m really sick and tired of this patronizing “common = ignorant” malarky that the wingnuts and their media abettors are peddling.

  8. 8
    Llelldorin says:

    I’m still stunned by this part:

    Your religion will be mocked and misrepresented. Your political record will be distorted, to better parody your family and your faith.

    Given that both those statements were certainly true of Obama, and that the mocker-in-chief was in fact Governor Palin, all I can think is that Douthat is upholding the great Republican belief that attacks on Democrats are justifiable patriotic outrage, while attacks on Republicans are beyond the pale.

    Douthat’s “what sort of monster would hatchet our hatchet man” argument borders on the traditional definition of chutzpah.

  9. 9
    Surreal American says:

    I’m also quite tired of Palin at this point too. She’s gotta be on Minute 18 (or perhaps Minute 90) of her allotted 15 minutes of fame by now.

  10. 10
    trizzlor says:

    Douthat reveals the classic conservative anti-intellectualism in his bashing of Harvard and Columbia. The simple fact is, while not everyone at a good school is stellar, most stellar college applicants end up going to good schools. There’s nothing contrary to the American dream in wanting to go to an Ivy and I’m sick of prominent conservatives (who frequently graduated from these schools due to family ties and money) pretending that it’s elitist. Michelle Obama, Sotomayor, Bill Clinton all attended elite universities in spite of their modest upbringing – and yet you’ll never see a conservative admit that they are representing the democratic ideal.

    Douthat might as well have said Americans like to see “that anyone can grow up to be a great success story without doing well in school” – there he has a point with Palin. Sadly, I’m sure in a few years such a statement will no longer sound strange.

  11. 11
    Nylund says:

    Don’t you think our current president, you know the black guy named Hussein who was born to a poor 18 year old girl and a dad that promptly abandoned him already proves that no matter how unlikely it may sound, anyone can grow up to be president?

    Sarah failing didn’t disprove the American dream to me. If anything, I’m quite happy that someone who bounced around 7 schools in 5 years, only to settle on TV sportscaster as a career and can’t write or speech a coherent sentence and has no clue about public policy or governance can’t become president. (and it was scary enough how close she got).

  12. 12
    cliff says:

    OT:

    get ready for a interesting week guys… I hope you all are not still long in the stock market!

    Good luck!

    http://www.reuters.com/article.....2220090706

    (article says Try, but it really means did.)

    recommend visiting zerohedge http://www.zerohedge.com/ today .. also, if you can ignore all the politics … (ha.) http://market-ticker.org/archi.....Pwned.html –> really, seriously, If you want to participate, leave the politics at the door.

  13. 13
    burnspbesq says:

    Presumably the irony of Douthat – a graduate of an elite New England prep school and Harvard – taking a resolutely anit-elitist position will not be lost on anyone.

    *headdesk*

  14. 14
    Surreal American says:

    can’t write or speech a coherent sentence and has no clue about public policy or governance can’t become president.

    Sorry, you were proven wrong from January 20, 2001 to January 20, 2009.

    It goes without saying that I wish you were correct on the above quoted points.

  15. 15
    Crusty Dem says:

    What the fuck?

    Douthat’s not lamenting that anyone can’t become president, he’s lamenting that everyone can’t be president, including the morans. As Jon Stewart said, doesn’t “elite” mean “good”? Do we really want any Tom, Dick, or Sarah to be president? I’m not saying you have to come from Harvard (and Douthat, as well as W, are proof that that’s not nearly enough to make someone worthy of the office), but having an intelligent, well-educated, and yes, elitist candidates for high office in this country isn’t something that needs to be lamented by the prissy Harvard grads at the NY Times (and it won’t give him any more street cred than George Will’s baseball books).

    Of course, this isn’t really Douthat’s point, he’s just trying to blame the evil media for destroying poor Sarah.

    Here are lessons of the Sarah Palin experience, for any aspiring politician who shares her background and her sex. Your children will go through the tabloid wringer. Your religion will be mocked and misrepresented. Your political record will be distorted, to better parody your family and your faith.

    There’s nothing about her background or sex that are unique here, does Douthat think Palin suffered more unfair attacks than Obama? Was she called a terrorist, a muslim, a non-American? I will grant that her children got more attention that Obama’s, but that’s because she put them front and center, again and again and again. They got more stage time than Joe Biden! Somebody get Douthat the smelling salts, I believe all the concern trolling has given him the vapors…

  16. 16
    Sloth says:

    @trizzlor:

    Michelle Obama, Sotomayor, Bill Clinton all attended elite universities in spite of their modest upbringing – and yet you’ll never see a conservative admit that they are representing the democratic ideal.

    Well, so did Russ Douthat. Even wrote a book about it.

    And so, of course, did Barack Obama. A point that Douthat has somehow managed to miss, thereby rendering this column one for the wingnut record books.

    He could have pointed out the innate sexism of the elites, but oh my, we do have counter examples of that as well.

    Or racism…ooops.

    Racism, sexism and classism and rolled together? Not a good line to take either.

    That leaves the fact that Palin truly does appear to be unqualified and, essentially, unable, to hold higher office – and so, in fact, our electoral process (elites and all!) may have actually, er, worked this time.

    How disturbing.

  17. 17
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    I see someone already commented on the hypocrisy of claiming that “mocking your religion” was something only Palin underwent rather than something she did herself to Obama.

    The next parts get even better I think. Explaining what “anyone of her background” will be subjected to, he writes:

    You’ll be sneered at for how you talk and how many colleges you attended.

    Meaning that anyone who’s working class went to six colleges and quit each time?

    Sounds like someone is pretty bigoted about certain “classes”, but I’d say it’s Douthat.

  18. 18
    Peter J says:

    I’d love to see the actual quote that he cherry picked to get this nonsense.

    You don’t want to, part of it is still stuck up Douthat’s ass.

  19. 19
    burnspbesq says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim:

    I got yer context right here.

    http://newsweek.washingtonpost.....s_the.html

    Her greatest hypocrisy is in her pretense that she is a woman. The Republican party’s cynical calculation that because she has a womb and makes lots and lots of babies (and drives them to school! wow!) she speaks for the women of America, and will capture their hearts and their votes, has driven thousands of real women to take to their computers in outrage. She does not speak for women; she has no sympathy for the problems of other women, particularly working class women.

  20. 20
    Ryan says:

    They’ve got to stop running that photo with Douthat’s column, the one with the light reflecting just so from his eyes as if it’s the light of some fierce intelligence beaming out from within, like he’s someone who sees right into the heart of things and tells you what he sees, straight up, without any spin, the brave, lone, conservative voice of reason…which is an image of the media has had of the conservative since Reagan and apparently even after Palin.

    I wish the NYT, the Post, etc., would learn there’s a difference between being thoughtfully contrarian and being wrong; and that just because someone says things that no one else intelligent will say doesn’t mean they’re pointing out that the emperor has no clothes. And that it’s not brave to say something stupid just because you’re risking someone calling you stupid.

  21. 21
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @Peter J: Sorry, I deleted that part because I found the quote and wanted to read it more before commenting. It seems this woman said exactly that, making about as much sense as Douthat does.

    Everything surrounding the line makes perfect sense, but the line itself is just as he reports it and it’s as insane as he is.

  22. 22
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    I wish the NYT, the Post, etc., would learn that just because conservatives are wrong doesn’t make them contrarian;

    The Washington Post doesn’t think that people like Douthat are contrarians. They think the tiny amount of liberals they present are.

  23. 23
    Townie says:

    Rumor at the diner in Wasilla is is Sarah is 2-3 months pregnant again.

  24. 24
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @Llelldorin:

    You should post that in the comments section under his article.

  25. 25
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim:

    I’m pretty sure Al Gore got plenty of wingnut ridicule for how many colleges he attended/dropped out of (three/two).

  26. 26
    JosieJ says:

    @Ryan:

    They’ve got to stop running that photo with Douthat’s column, the one with the light reflecting just so from his eyes as if it’s the light of some fierce intelligence beaming out from within

    Oh, that’s not a reflection, that’s just the light coming through from the hole in the back of his head.

  27. 27
    Rick Taylor says:

    I take it that Douthat is a great admirer of Barack Obama and Sonia Sotomayor, two Americans who really did prove it’s possible to achieve great things starting from a humble background.

  28. 28
    jp2 says:

    They’ve got to stop running that photo with Douthat’s column…

    He looks like David Brent with that cute little beard.

  29. 29
    Ted the Slacker says:

    The Peter Principle – “Every person rises to his level of incompetence”.

    The Dilbert Principle – “Companies promote incompetent employees into management to limit the damage they can do”.

    The Palin Principle – “Incompetent politicians rise to the point where they will inflict maximum, deserved damage to their enablers and supporters.”

    I am of course open to better suggestions, but there has to be a Palin principle, and the Hippies will best articulate it.

  30. 30
    Ash Can says:

    ::reads excerpt, eyes glaze over::

    You know, if Douthat has a crush on Palin, that’s fine. He can crush on her to his little heart’s content. But when he tries to disguise his crush as some sort of grand philosophical and moral ideal of democracy and civic valor, he just comes off looking like a myopic and disingenuous twit. Which, then again, I suppose he actually is, so never mind.

  31. 31
    Michael says:

    According to Pat, Mika and Joe, there was all this inexplicable hatred from the “left” media.

    If any of their producers happen to wander across this blog, give ’em a hint.

    1. She’s a fucking idiot, a skank who winks her way into the hearts of horny old goobers.

    2. She’s a Bircher nut, a group that mainstream Republicans used to despise and mock.

    3. She’s a Big “C” Conservative*spit* in an era when we’ve learned that they’re incompetent, corrupt and venal. What more could you expect when you hire people to run government when their overarching personal ideology is that government sucks and they want to drown it in a bathtub?

    4. She’s got the sort of screechy voice that makes some of us feel pre-emptive pity for poor Todd Palin when we think about what she must be like when she’s on a tear.

    5. We’ve noticed that she seems to surround herself with all her cronies from high school, minorities need not apply – and she’s got a nasty streak a mile wide.

    6. She lies. Pathologically.

    Sarah Palin is a nasty skank, and needs to just shut the fuck up. Her only recourse to evade scrutiny to to forever quit opining publicly or pretending that she’s entitled to high office.

  32. 32
    MelodyMaker says:

    Way to not make your point, skank.

  33. 33
    bago says:

    To paraphrase: “Other than her epic failure as a leader, Sarah Palin shows how anyone can become an epic leader.”

  34. 34
    Ash Can says:

    @Michael: Add to your list of complaints the fact that she’s a walking, talking sexist insult thrown in the face of all of us women by the GOP: “Vote for us! We’ve got a real live, gen-yew-wine fee-male on our ticket!”

    Fuck you very much, GOP.

  35. 35
    A Mom Anon says:

    @Ash Can:

    This applies to most of the idiot men(and probably a few of the women)who write such”Oh Sarah,you’re just too good for this world”screeds. It’s embarassing and makes me cringe.

    About her kids,where were all these protective nitwits when she was dragging the kids all over the place and using them as props? All of them should have been in school during the campaign,I have to wonder how far behind the younger one is,let alone the older one. I’m not saying kids have no place beside mom or dad on the trail,but every single day? The Obamas handled that one just right IMO.

  36. 36

    Shorter Douchethat: Democracy can be represented by any ordinary American, provided they a) Are Caucasian and b) Make me feel funny in the pants.

    It’s been tarnished by Palin herself, obviously. With her missteps, scandals, dreadful interviews and self-pitying monologues

    So, she sucks, Douchethat admits that on the surface she sucks, but she never had a chance because America refused to look past the surface suckiness … to the deep wells of suckiness within.

    Wah.

  37. 37
    Ted the Slacker says:

    If the Purdum Vanity Fair article about Palin is an accurate piece, then I think part of the explanation for Palin’s rapid exit stage right was this.

    In Alaska, she could pull her vindictive snowbilly routine against political enemies and succeed. That was a schoolyard which she was able to bully.

    Then last year she graduated to a new schoolyard – a much bigger one – and she’s taken 10 months or so figure out how utterly over-matched she was; and that she couldn’t just return to her snowbilly backstabbing and hope that the national media wouldn’t notice.

    Ross Douthat, he’s like one of the nerds at the big schoolyard who’s just devastated that his dream-chick who he imagines holding hands with is leaving town. And now he’s going to have to go back to handing his protection lunch-money to folks like Gingrich and Romney. His emotional esteem has been set back a whole year, back to when he had to do favors to bullies to have any sort of life.

    Poor loser.

  38. 38
    Michael says:

    Her brain trust (and her wagon circlers) are making the GOP look even more like that Jesco White clip every day.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZX0F1fGEfKA

    Her “base” consists of people who can’t design anything or cooperate enough in an industrial society to make things work. They’re a buck of deliberately ignorant fucks who destroy society by their disdain for education, for cooperation, for restraint.

    They’re Know-Nothings, and proud of it. This group has always been poison in any country in which they’ve gained control.

  39. 39

    Sarah Palin is beloved by millions because her rise suggested, however temporarily, that the old American aphorism about how anyone can grow up to be president might actually be true.

    Actually Russ, two other aphorisms come to mind when the subject of Sarah Palin comes up;

    “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

    ” You can fool some of the people all the time, and …….well, the rest of this one doesn’t really apply.

    I think you get the idea.

  40. 40
    WereBear says:

    The whole “salt of the earth” thing being a con-within-a-con, because Palin had no problem blowing 150k in fancy stores. The true Christian woman is supposed to bake cookies and stay home.

    Isn’t that what they told us for decades?

    The hypocrisy of promoting Palin as a stateswoman blew away all that rhetoric. She’s just a token, like Phyllis Schafly; flying all over the country to tell women to stay home and shut up.

    I’m glad this lie blew up so quickly; it hasn’t even been a year on the national stage, and I haven’t hear so many excuses for bad behavior since I’ve raised teenagers.

    Even their hand-picked media, with all their boot-licking, couldn’t sell this lie… Sarah blew it up herself.

  41. 41

    So in order for us to remain “real Americans” we must encourage our children to not work hard in school. Working hard in school so you have a shot at getting into the best colleges and universities is only for–elitists? Why would I want my daughters to attend MIT or Brown when the can relax, play basketball, attend five state sponsored educational institutions, and still be the governor of the 47th most populated state in the US! Dude, where are the tickets to that parade?

  42. 42
    Ash Can says:

    @ A Mom Anon: “The Obamas handled that one just right IMO.”

    Yes, because they take both politics and parenting seriously. And by taking both seriously, they know that the two have to be kept separate. (A correlation of taking parenting seriously is taking education seriously, so it was a foregone conclusion that the Obamas would bend over backwards to ensure that the girls would miss as few days of school as possible. It would have been a different story if the GOP or the Palins were springing for a tutor to keep the Palin kids up to speed while on the campaign trail, but I see no evidence that this was the case.)

  43. 43
    4tehlulz says:

    Elite New York Times columnist complains about elitism.

    The only proper response is :”lol”

  44. 44

    As a Detroit Lions fan I found many parallels between the George Bush presidency and Matt Millen as GM. For those of you who are not NFL fans [Anderson Cooper I mean you!] think of where the US was in 2000, and where you ended up in 2008. The Lions went from 9-7 in 2000 to 0-16 in 2008. Sound familiar? Think of the bufoonery and the enabling “owners”.
    If Sarah Palin becomes a TV commentator, she will be trying to replicate the Millen strategy in its purest form. Millen was a fairly popular colour commentator on Fox NFL games before becoming the Lions GM, even though he was totally unqualified.

    The mind reels.

  45. 45
    Jason says:

    Shouldn’t all these dimwits be backing Jan Brewer?

  46. 46
    kay says:

    Bill Clinton is the best modern example of a small state governor who transcended class to reach the Presidency.

    Not that conservatives can ever, ever admit that, nor can they admit that all the “bubba” nonsense was about class, and it came directly from the elite on the right, not the left. It wasn’t even subtle. You had to be deaf to miss the subtext of nearly every attack.

    Clinton gets extra points for not whining. Oh, and not quitting.

  47. 47
    rob! says:

    Very much enjoying watching “Morning Joe” and seeing how Mika The Parrot doesn’t understand why people are offended by her comment this morning that Sarah Palin appeals to “Real Americans.”

    Hey Mika–I vote, I pay taxes, I even do volunteer work–I’m not a Real American just because I despise that vapid, power-hungry, nasty, stupid, bigoted, incompetent GOP mouth-breather?

  48. 48
    someguy says:

    I’m starting to think that most liberals get into the Ivies through their own brilliance (Clintons 1 and 2) while conservatives get into them based on money and family connections (Bush 1 and 0). So maybe the right and left assign different values to an Ivy League education because one side understands it as a mark of true merit and individual worth, while the other understands it as spoils.

    Me? I’m a moron who went to state schools because I wasn’t connected or smart. I don’t feel jealous of my betters though – if you aren’t brilliant you shouldn’t get into a top notch university, and in the case of conservatives, I wouldn’t want to get in because my daddy gave a couple hundred thou to the Arts & Sciences department.

  49. 49
    JK says:

    Douthat is a Douchebag.

    To be an ordinary American you have to be a moron.

    It isn’t only being a moron. Sarah Palin revels in the fact that she’s a moron and wears it like badge of honor.

    To Sarah Palin and her knuckle dragging supporters, knowledge and expertise are part of a socialist plot.

    Palin is a malignant cancer within our body politic and the sooner the other shoe drops (hopefully a criminal indictment resulting in a conviction) the better off the country will be.

  50. 50
    KidA says:

    “…that the old American aphorism about how anyone can grow up to be president might actually be true.”

    Oh, does he mean, perhaps a black mam?

  51. 51
    David says:

    Sure anyone can become president but you have to distinguish yourself in some manner BEFORE people will vote for you and BEFORE you take office.

  52. 52

    […] Cole: Nothing annoys me more than the conservative myth that to be an ordinary American you have to be a […]

  53. 53
    JD Ryan says:

    I’d also add that one has to be an unsophisticated moron, as iceburg lettuce, Twinkies, Hamburger Helper, and Old Milwaukee are the only proper items for consumption. If you eat arugula or something John Boehner can’t pronounce, you’re waging class warfare.

  54. 54

    @rob!:

    I had to leave for work before she got to explain where all the e-mail outrage was coming from and what for. Thanks for the update, to be honest when she said that I thought WTF is this Real American shit? Particularly the “real americans agree with her” I think Mika’s meds are messed up this morning.

  55. 55
    Michael says:

    OT, but Jesus H. Christ on a stick…..

    http://www.thestate.com/154/story/852436.html

    About 1,500 people showed up at the Capitol for the four-hour, issue-oriented rally on a hot July Fourth holiday, where everything from the fair tax to the abolition of all public schools and a return to a gold-standard currency was pushed.

    Big “C” Conservatism (particularly in the South) has become a cartoon – a combination of an episode of “Hee Haw” and that Jesco White clip, only funnier by an exponential factor.

    The scary part is that they’ve been dragging the mainstream of the GOP along with them, and too much of the mainstream of the GOP has been willing to avert their attention from the goobers, mainly because they’ve bought the “can’t win elections without them, they’ll keep their votes at home if we can’t keep them ‘excited’ (translate ‘tumescent’)”.

  56. 56
    KidA says:

    @rob! ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh yah bro!

    Then her comment regarding women in TV getting spit-out after loosing their youth. Time for Mika to be spit-out.

  57. 57
    sparky says:

    the question i have is why exactly does the NYT hire like this? i know the simple answer but really i can’t believe they think this is going to get readers. i dunno–maybe there IS a secret Catholic conspiracy of sorts. it sure seems like it these days with a bunch of cranky white males (Alito, anyone?) who seem to be writing from somewhere inside a VERY unhappy convent. ewww.

  58. 58

    […] other news, DougJ at Balloon Juice speaks of myths.   […]

  59. 59
    Frank L says:

    “Nothing annoys me more than the conservative myth that to be an ordinary American you have to be a moron. Although it’s probably just a corollary of the myth that to be an ordinary American you have to be conservative.”

    John, speaking of Harry Truman, his spin on this phrase was, “Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a Republican. But I repeat myself”.

  60. 60
    gbear says:

    Nothing annoys me more than the conservative myth that to be an ordinary American you have to be a moron.

    I blame Mel Brooks.

  61. 61
    sarah says:

    But Sarah Palin represents the democratic ideal nightmare — that anyone can grow up to be a great success story without graduating from Columbia and Harvard trying, caring, or committing to the job they were elected to do.

    This ideal has had a tough 10 months. It’s been tarnished by Palin herself, obviously. With her missteps, scandals, dreadful interviews and self-pitying monologues, she’s botched an essential democratic role — the ordinary citizen who takes on the elites, the up-by-your-bootstraps role embodied by politicians from Andrew Jackson down to Harry Truman. working within the position she was elected to and carrying out her full term.

    […]

    Sarah Palin is beloved by millions morons because her rise suggested, however temporarily, that the old American aphorism about how anyone can grow up to be president who has a lazy welfare queen attitude can bleed the beast might actually be true.

    But her unhappy sojourn on the national stage has had a different moral: Don’t even think about it. Sorry, this isn’t an idiocracy.

    Fix’t.

  62. 62
    Jim-Bob says:

    NOT SURE WHETHER ANYONE ELSE HERE POINTED IT OUT YET, BUT DOUCHEHAT WENT TO HARVARD.

    So anyone who went to Harvard or Columbia (my safe schools, by the way…lulz), conversely, can be an abject failure.

    Like, say, Douchehat…

  63. 63
    Santiago says:

    Shorter Douthat: morans should be presidents too waaah waaah
    .
    .
    .
    .

    Been there, done that.

  64. 64
    JGabriel says:

    Nothing annoys me more than the conservative myth that to be an ordinary American you have to be a moron. Although it’s probably just a corollary of the myth that to be an ordinary American you have to be conservative.

    Isn’t that redundant? All you did was switch moron and conservative, and I’m pretty sure my thesaurus says they mean the same thing.

    Yep, it here is in my copy of The Good Liberal’s 1978 Thesaurus of Modern Everyday Usage:

    Moron – syn. Conservative, religious, idiot, fundamentalist, Agnew.

    .

  65. 65
    El Caballo de Sangre says:

    There’s a fairly vanilla AP article by Mark Thiessen that near the end makes the excellent point that her stated reasons for resigning are valid, if “truthy”, and if only accidentally so. If we take it as given that her official gubernatorial agenda (gas pipeline, etc.) was “good” for Alaska, her resignation makes it much, MUCH more likely that that agenda will be implemented.

    I suppose it’s truer than ever that even a blind (and stupid) squirrel (in lipstick) finds an acorn once in a while.

  66. 66
    jrg says:

    Could someone explain to Douthat the difference between a leader and a mascot?

  67. 67
    nants says:

    To claim that the treatment received by Sarah Palin was due to her gender and class is to do a disservice to others who fall into her gender and/or class. She uses it when it works and then balks at it when she is feeling backed into a corner. Which is it, Sarah? I believe that she and her handlers/supporters have done a terrible disservice to women everywhere and to others who may come from humble beginnings and strive towards greater things for themselves and others. Dealing with adversity and challenges is a part of life, a part of leadership and walking away is not the way to demonstrate your leadership courage and tenacity. I shudder to think what would have happened had McCain/Palin succeeded—she clearly was not qualified (never was) and IN NO WAY was this because of her gender or class. Politicians are in the limelight and she couldn’t hack it…..drew the light to herself and then complained about the light as it didn’t shine on her in a favorable way. If you dare to take risks…..you must be willing and able to face the consequences. I do hope that Sarah opts to stay out of the light now, lest she continue to face the scrutiy that is well deserved.

  68. 68
    Ted the Slacker says:

    @jrg “Could someone explain to Douthat the difference between a leader and a mascot?”

    I nominate Joe the Plumber for that job.

  69. 69
    Jason says:

    @jrg:

    Could someone explain to Douthat the difference between a leader and a mascot?

    Could you also tell him the difference between a goatee and a chin, while you’re at it

  70. 70
    RusS says:

    “…to be an ordinary American you have to be a moron. …a corollary of the myth that to be an ordinary American you have to be conservative.”

    These are both corollaries of (John Stewart) Mills’ Law: “It’s not true that all conservatives are stupid people. It is true that most stupid people are conservative.”

  71. 71
    burnspbesq says:

    @jrg:

    Could someone explain to Douthat the difference between a leader and a mascot?

    And explain further that the only field of human endeavor in which there is a place for life-size mascots is college sports?

  72. 72
    burnspbesq says:

    Douthat’s degree from Harvard is evidence that even the most thoughtfully designed and carefully administered admissions policies are capable of the occasional epic failure.

  73. 73
    ric says:

    thank god she is not the vice president

  74. 74
    Cyrus says:

    It’s been tarnished by Palin herself, obviously. With her missteps, scandals, dreadful interviews and self-pitying monologues

    Wow, that’s an amazingly stupid line. Talk about conceding the point. “But other than that, Mr. Lincoln, how did you like the play?”

  75. 75
    someguy says:

    @ RusS

    “It’s not true that all conservatives are stupid people. It is true that most stupid people are conservative.”

    I’m loathe to correct crypto-Randians like Mills, I hate to even address his arguments, but that one needed fixing pretty badly.

  76. 76
    slag says:

    @Cyrus: That he can wax poetic about what a loser Sarah Palin is and yet see no hilarity in insinuating that “ordinary” Americans are just like her fascinates me. Even more so after years and years of watching his fellow conservatives loudly profess their love of America. Just like watching these proud patriots being members of the secessionist crowd. I mean, how do they manage this disconnect?

  77. 77
    plasticgoat says:

    When looking up the Peter Principle in the dictionary no explanation is necessary, the only thing needed is a picture of Sarah Palin. She is the embodiment of reaching the level of her own incompetence. Her rambling resignation speech said it all.

  78. 78
    Steeplejack says:

    @Ryan:

    Well said.

  79. 79
    Steeplejack says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim:

    Jeez, c’mon, she was speaking metaphorically. Seemed pretty clear from her piece.

  80. 80
    Notorious P.A.T. says:

    Hiring Ross Douthat was a good move.

  81. 81
    ricky says:

    But Ross Douthat represents the douchebag ideal. That any film critic can find a place as a politcal commentator at the Op-Ed page of the New York Times when a conservative hole is created by abandoning the never accurate Bill Kristol.

  82. 82
    Aldorossi says:

    I, for one, am relieved.

    To think I almost achieved the “Meritocratic Ideal” at the expense of the “Democratic Ideal” when I turned down acceptance to an Ivy League University (Cornell). As the son of a beer truck driver, I’ve been sort of proud of my journey, and I’m glad I didn’t tarnish any acheivements by atttaing them through merit rather than democracy.

    WTF?!

    While I appreciate all of the more nuanced critiques of Douthat, I got to the “Meritocratic/Democratic Ideal” thing, upon which his entire column hinges, and tossed the whole thing out.

    What a dope.

  83. 83
    Steeplejack says:

    @Frank L:

    It’s actually Mark Twain: “Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.”

  84. 84
    Tsulagi says:

    to be an ordinary American you have to be a moron.

    For president, seems nothing else gets starbursts from the R-base. See word salad Bush and word aerosol Palin. McCain did his best to dumb down and pander, but he wasn’t the real deal.

    Although it’s probably just a corollary of the myth that to be an ordinary American you have to be conservative.

    Only if you’re the right kind of conservative having passed the Purity Test. You must score at least in the 90th percentile on the standardized Bachmann test.

  85. 85

    […] I just finished the Douthat piece DougJ linked to earlier, and my only question is how did he write that whole column without using the terms Orthogonians […]

  86. 86
    Llelldorin says:

    The amazing thing about Douthat’s writing is that he usually provides layers within layers of stupidity. Most conservative writers are content to expound upon a single bad idea until their columns are full, but Douthat flits from one silly contention to another like a drunk butterfly.

    Bizarrely, his individual sentences are well-crafted. In the service of a clear mind, his writing skills would actually make him a decent pundit. As it is, it’s like seeing someone hit expensive tiles with a copper pipe and claim that he’s building a luxurious bathroom.

  87. 87
    HRA says:

    Being the child of 2 schoolteachers in Wasilla was a humble beginning?

    Mika revered SP from the first day. No surprise there at all. Though it’s really surprising considering her Dad served in a Democratic administration.

  88. 88
    Gus says:

    But Sarah Palin represents the democratic ideal — that anyone can grow up to be a great success story without graduating from Columbia and Harvard.

    Says the Harvard educated Douthat. Is he auditioning to be the next Bobo Brooks? The educated member of the big city elite who somehow understands the common person?

  89. 89
    Chinn Romney says:

    Actually, our last three Democratic presidents – Obama, Clinton, and Carter – each and every one of them proved that anyone can grow up to be president.

    Reagan and Bush Boy are better examples of the ANYONE can grow up to be president. Hell, Bush Boy demonstrated you don’t even need the ‘grow up’ part.

  90. 90
    Chris G says:

    Has anyone suggested that Palin may just be going Galt?

  91. 91
    Martian Buddy says:

    You’ll be sneered at for how you talk…

    …like pronouncing “Pakistan” correctly.

  92. 92
  93. 93

    […] DougJ over at Ballo0n Juice on the ridiculousness of conservatives in general and Sarah Palin specifically. […]

  94. 94
    Demo Woman says:

    Sarah has a problem with the truth. Ethics complaints cost the state $296,000 most due to Troopergate.

  95. 95
    TuiMel says:

    But Sarah Palin represents the democratic ideal — that anyone can grow up to be a great success story without graduating from Columbia and Harvard.

    I wonder if Ross has ever heard of Bill Gates? Or Michael Jordan? Or Dwight Eisenhower? Or, dare I say, Ronald Reagan? Or any of a number of Americans who had great success stories without the cache of Columbia and Harvard (why do ‘spose he chose those to schools over – say MIT and Standford)? He is not – at least in the line quoted – saying that the democratic ideal involves becoming POTUS (Obama has lived that ideal) – just a great success story. Maybe if Palin had been a GREAT success either prior to or even during her 2008 turn on the national stage she would have been given her due. But, she failed to impress – with her own actions and through the stories of how she chose to “govern” in Wasilla and Alaska.

    Sarah Palin did not tarnish the democratic ideal. She proved a point: If you come from humble beginnings and do not work hard to master the material on which you are attempting to prove yourself, you will most likely fail. Katherine Weymouth, proves the opposite: If you come from priviledged beginnings, you can fail spectacularly and repeatedly and not lose the protections of those priviledges.

  96. 96
    norbizness says:

    Mayor Quimby: Are those moronic NYT columnists getting dumber or just louder?

    Quimby’s Aide: (looking at clipboard) Dumber, sir.

  97. 97
    leo says:

    +1

    Actually it doesn’t matter where you come from — it’s what you do and whose interests you support once you get to where you’re going that matter. You can have the most plebeian of roots but if you do nothing in office but promote the interests of the rich and powerful, the fact that you grew up in a sharecropper family and went to a one-room-school house is completely irrelevant.

    In any case, if you look at who actually supports the GOP in election after election, you’ll see that people with modest backgrounds are about as numerous in their ranks as people from non-white ethnic groups and those under 40.

    So sure, having someone in their leadership who never went to Harvard is something of a phenomena for the GOP but then so is having someone with common sense. Hopefully Douthat will write about that when he gets the chance.

  98. 98
    Xanthippas says:

    Nothing annoys me more than the conservative myth that to be an ordinary American you have to be a moron.

    Ha. Indeed. It’s one thing to be distrustful of liberal elites, and quite another to distrust knowledge itself.

  99. 99
    someguy says:

    @ TuiMel

    Bill Gates may not be the best example of humble beginnings – except to the extent that a “humble” child of multi-millionaires can bravely claw his way up the ladder into being a billionaire. And Michael Jordan went to UNC. The ruling class in North Carolina goes to UNC. Or possibly Wake. It’s not Harvard but it ain’t San Jacinto CC either.

  100. 100
    gwangung says:

    Bill Gates may not be the best example of humble beginnings – except to the extent that a “humble” child of multi-millionaires can bravely claw his way up the ladder into being a billionaire.

    Paul Allen might be a bit better…

  101. 101
    Nellcote says:

    Palin has successfully become a celebrity. I expect her children to now get the same amount of media discression as MJ’s.

  102. 102
    TuiMel says:

    Bill Gates may not be the best example of humble beginnings – except to the extent that a “humble” child of multi-millionaires can bravely claw his way up the ladder into being a billionaire.

    Fair enough.

  103. 103
    TuiMel says:

    Deleted because of repeat

  104. 104
    Llelldorin says:

    @TuiMel:

    why do ‘spose he chose those to schools over – say MIT and Standford

    Because to a certain type of person, going to college isn’t so much about learning something as being something. To the Douthats of the world, you don’t go to Harvard because of the strong faculty or the research, you go to Harvard so you can be a Harvard Grad. Not a journalist who got their AB at Harvard—that’s the view of someone who went to school to learn something. No, you go to mark your position at the top of the pecking order.

    Because to Douthat college isn’t about education, he sees the mocking of Palin’s dubious educational background as mocking of her class, not of her intelligence.

  105. 105
    patrick says:

    Sarah Palin Cut And Run

  106. 106
    Elie says:

    I am greatly reassured that at least once in a while the media and body politic does its job and keeps the right people out of power. Same cannot be said for the Republican Party or John McCain and his campaign that should care enough about this country to both vette and exclude someone with such poor capabilities and capacities. As reckless as McCain has been accused of being, this is the worst example. He should be ashamed of himself, if such a thing was possible. All the people who kinda like this dude and are indulgent of him, including Jon Stewart ought to remember this…. It was as though he invited an axe murderer to his daughter’s wedding…Some patriot

  107. 107
    buggy ding dong says:

    Bill Clinton and LBJ were “ordinary Americans” who had extraordinary abilities and became president.

    The only thing extraordinary about Palin is that she was a Vice Presidential nominee.

  108. 108
    Elie says:

    I also think that the Republicans will eventually have to discredit her — or handicap their more competent candidates as she sucks the air out of the room as they try to “protect” the unprotectable.

    If I was a solid Republican candidate ( if such a thing exists anymore), I wouldnt want her within 1000 miles of me or my campaign. She is a curse and stain of incompotence — highlighting over and over that this is the party of stupid incompetents and out of control fringe crazies, hungry for celebrity but unwilling and incapable of doing any real work except destruction. And they though W was bad enough.

    She is like a Trojan Horse. Even if the Democrats wanted to they could not have ginned up a solution to better destroy the remnants of the Republicans…and they keep holding her close further poisoning themselves and their prospects. Who would think that the Republicans could be this suicidal?

  109. 109
    jimbo says:

    if you realy want to see a pig and piglets look at the white
    house

  110. 110
    Chris says:

    I went to a state school for undergrad and a state school for graduate school. I’ve had many opportunities to interact with people from those with amazing academic credentials to those that graduated from less prestigious online schools. I can say with 100% certainty that there are idiots that have Ivy League backgrounds and geniuses that have less flashy pedigrees. I’d love to embrace Palin for being a rebuke to the notion that one needs a certain pedigree to be a national leader. If Palin reflects anything, however, it isn’t democracy or meritocracy, but idiocracy.

  111. 111
    mere mortal says:

    But Sarah Palin represents the democratic ideal — that anyone can grow up to be a great success story without graduating from Columbia and Harvard.

    I thought she represented the Republican ideal — that intellect, temperament, or relevant skills are immaterial. As long as you look good on camera and can deliver a prepared speech, there’s no telling how far you can go.

  112. 112
    Cris says:

    jimbot’s post is so random and off-topic, the only thing missing is a link to an online gambling site.

  113. 113

    How easy is this one to take apart?

    Joe Biden: U of Delaware; Syrace U. College of Law

    Kathleen Sebelius: Trinity Washington U; U of Kansas

    Jim Webb: U.S. Naval Academy; Georgetown Law School

    Ah-nold: U of Wisconsin

    Steven Chu: U of Rochester; UC Berkeley

    Janet Napolitano: Santa Clara U.; UVA Law

    and so on and so on.

    Ross mistakes degrees earned for level intelligence. Unfortunately they don’t always mesh. In Sarah’s case neither the degree nor the intelligence is there.

  114. 114

    @Llelldorin

    Bizarrely, his individual sentences are well-crafted. In the service of a clear mind, his writing skills would actually make him a decent pundit. As it is, it’s like seeing someone hit expensive tiles with a copper pipe and claim that he’s building a luxurious bathroom.

    FTW.

  115. 115
    Eugenian says:

    Who is this Ross Asshat, anyway? And how did he get a column in the national paper of record?

  116. 116

    My own advice to Sarah Palin is, if you can’t take the heat, don’t run for President.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] DougJ over at Ballo0n Juice on the ridiculousness of conservatives in general and Sarah Palin specifically. […]

  2. […] I just finished the Douthat piece DougJ linked to earlier, and my only question is how did he write that whole column without using the terms Orthogonians […]

  3. […] other news, DougJ at Balloon Juice speaks of myths.   […]

  4. […] Cole: Nothing annoys me more than the conservative myth that to be an ordinary American you have to be a […]

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