Obligatory WFT McChrystal?! Post

by matttbastard

Cole drops an Apocalypse Now reference, while The Artist Formerly Known as Tacitus thinks shitcanning is imperative if the republic is to survive the impact of McChrystal’s insta-infamous still-unpublished Rolling Stone interview [h/t Ben Smith].

Perhaps.

Laura Rozen usually has sound instincts and excellent sources:

One early thought: does [McChrystal] want to get fired for insubordination before his strategy is shown to fail?

But I also think Ed Morrissey might be illustrating ye olde canard about stopped clocks with this apt (if cynical) observation:

 [T]o paraphrase Lyndon Johnson, Obama may prefer to keep McChrystal in the tent even if he’s pissing out, rather than outside the tent pissing into it.  Once relieved of his command, McChrystal may have a lot more to say about the Obama administration than what will appear in Rolling Stone this month.

The good general is now walking backwards at quite the furious pace for someone supposedly trying to commit career seppuko. Plus, as Spackerman notes, thanks to the swift and overwhelmingly negative fallout from his comments, the White House may believe that “a chastened McChrystal isn’t going to say anything else outside of his lane to any reporter.”  We’ll have to see if the groveling, coupled with pragmatic political considerations, gives McChrystal a last-minute reprieve as he walks the Green Mile.

Last word, via the 140:

McChrystal oversaw prisoner abuse and Pat Tillman cover-up, but let’s get mad at him for a rude interview. [links added]

Touche.

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Israel & the Freedom Flotilla Assault: It’s All About the Gaza Blockade

by matttbastard

Israel does it again.

With one deadly commando raid of an aid flotilla bearing essential goods in violation of Israel’s (illegal) blockade of Gaza, the Israeli government has reasserted its expressed right to, essentially, defend its borders by any means necessary. Thus far, a good amount of the discussion of events has centered around whether Israel was prudent in ordering the military assault in light of the likely PR fallout, or if it should have been prepared for stiffer resistance. Yet focusing on proportionality, optics, or even the pristine character (or lack there of) of some passengers on board misses the point — or, rather, the context this incident occured within.

One can argue about whether or not IDF naval commandos were justified in using extreme force in reaction to violent provocation. But the entire event — the aid flotilla, the lethal IDF response — took place as the result of an immoral, oppressive policy structure designed to destabilize the already-strained foundations of Gazan civil society. No matter how restrained (or excessive) its actions, the reputation of Israel’s military will always be tainted by its dutiful service on behalf of a rogue mission.

Dan Drezner, no far-left anti-Zionist with a rep for laying down rhetorical IEDs he, makes the bold analogy of Israel as North Korea and the US, leery of stirring already unsettled diplomatic waters in the Middle East and provoking the political ire of domestic lobbyists, as China, a placid benefactor that enables an increasingly isolated state to continually act in brazen defiance of international law:

True, Israel’s economy is thriving and North Korea’s is not. That said, both countries are diplomatically isolated except for their ties to a great power benefactor. Both countries are pursuing autarkic policies that immiserate millions of people. The majority of the population in both countries seem blithely unaware of what the rest of the world thinks. Both countries face hostile regional environments. Both countries keep getting referred to the United Nations. And, in the past month, the great power benefactor is finding it more and more difficult to defend their behavior to the rest of the world.

As Peter Beinart (again, hardly a radical left-wing agitator) aptly notes, this US (and Canadian)-supported strategy (and resulting tactics) is entirely counterproductive if one’s aim is to convince an already besieged population that it should reconsider its support of a despicable but duly-elected government. No matter how horrible the Hamas leadership is, their government represents a plurality of (admittedly complex) Palestinian public opinion in Gaza (even as the West and Israel still refuse to recognize its legitimacy). Outside pressure directed towards the population inevitably pushes the masses towards the one element of what meager day-to-day security and certainty that still remains: Hamas.

But, again, all this should be moot. Until Israel lifts its illegal, immoral blockade of Gaza, many more people, Palestinian and Israeli, will continue to live in fear of escalating hostilities and almost guaranteed casualties. This is the frame in which we need to centre any discussion of the Freedom Flotilla raid or any other incident that occurs as a consequence of furthering Israel’s unacceptable policy of collective punishment.

We in the US & Canada who recognize the insustainability of this ongoing moral calamity must pressure our leaders to cease enabling the Israeli government as it makes a mockery of human rights and international law — and, in the process, offers a stark vision of the most clear and present danger to the purportedly democratic character of the Jewish state.

Related: Esther Kaplan evaluates the US media response to the Israeli flotilla assault, noting the overly “credulous” coverage of most mainstream news outlets, while over at TAP the inimitable Gershom Gorenberg patiently outlines the events that lead to yesterday’s disasterous raid, calling it “a link in a chain of premeditated folly”.

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Shorter Andrew Sullivan: It would be criminal NOT to speculate about Elena Kagan’s “alleged lesbianism”

by matttbastard

Sully momentarily veers from his dogged quest to discover the truth about Trig Palin’s parentage to set his sights on an even more momentous issue of international importance: Breathlessly demanding that SCOTUS nominee Elena Kagan come clean about her sexual orientation. Or, as Sully’s latest Murdoch Times column bluntly headlines, “Answer the lesbian question, Ms. Legal Eagle.”

FFS:

[Kagan] is unmarried, and apparently has no anecdotes of dates, no ex-boyfriends or girlfriends, no romantic interludes … nothing. In 4,500 words, we do not find out even where she lives or has lived or if she lives alone. (But we do know what her brothers do for a living — teaching). The far right has already identified her as a “lesbian homosexual”; and the gay blogosphere openly discussed her alleged lesbianism weeks ago.

But there is no confirmation of that anywhere and the White House reiterated last week that questions about sexual orientation “have no place” in judging a nominee (but her gender most certainly does). Quite how you defend this argument — from a president whose own criterion for nominees is a real experience of how law can affect ordinary people — is beyond me. It is also beyond most ordinary people out there.

1. Sully, baby, no matter how one feels about you and the vainly mercurial ‘of no party or clique’ passion play that defines your trademark rapid-fire, post-ideological preening, one could never, ever accuse you of being ‘ordinary’.

So don’t even try to project your latest singular obsession onto the vast, blank canvas that symbolizes your (mis)understanding of the great, collectively anonymous (and oh-so-noble!) unwashed you and your Serious™ ilk love to cite with blissfully ignorant impunity — you’re not fooling anyone.

2. This whole quest to uncover the sordid secrets of who (ALLEGED LESBIAN!) Elena Kagan does (or doesn’t) like to get freaky with is ridiculous — and, quite frankly, sexist.

Sully is Google-stalking someone to hunt down evidence of romantic/domestic minutia that might provide clues as to which way Kagan swings, all because her physical appearance and chosen lifestyle contradict sociatal norms.  IOW, the “lesbian question” is, as Jonathan Pitts-Wiley recently dubbed it, the “white version of being called uppity” (ie, ALLEGED LESBIAN ELENA KAGAN TOTALLY FITS THE STEREOTYPICAL IMAGE OF A DYKE). One would expect coverage of what is essentially an elite whisper campaign to be the traffic-boosting provenance of gossip outlets, not an Atlantic-affiliated political blog.

Elena Kagan isn’t some desperate, fame-seeking reality show contestant. She’s (most likely) the future next 9th SCOTUS justice  And, true to her own words, she should submit to a vigourous, extensive and transparent confirmation process* to help fill the serious chasms in her scant public record (not her dating record).

Going off on a demonstrative, tangential outing campaign is both an unnecessary digression from vital efforts to illuminate an all-too-opaque SCOTUS nominee and an all-too-familiar example of the sort of sexist speculation uppity women continually face.

*Which, though sure to be a (highly relative) ratings bonanza for CSPAN as it unfolds live and in real time on teh Twitterz, is totally NOT AT ALL LIKE A REALITY SHOW. Shaddap.

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Unintended Consequences, Redux

by matttbastard

(Photo: Paul Keller, Flickr)

Jane Mayer on the sudden prominence of ex-W speechwriter (and current Hiatt-approved pro-torture propagandist*) Marc Thiessen and why those who don’t pop wood for enhanced interrogation [sic] should be wary:

The publication of “Courting Disaster” suggests that Obama’s avowed determination “to look forward, not back” has laid the recent past open to partisan reinterpretation. By holding no one accountable for past abuse, and by convening no commission on what did and didn’t protect the country, President Obama has left the telling of this dark chapter in American history to those who most want to whitewash it.

Teach the controversy, maaan. Nothing is true; everything is permitted.

*As Harry Allen would say, don’t just read Alex Pareene’s superlative Gawker piece ‘The Washington Post Has the Worst Opinion Section in America‘ — memorize it.

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Burn, Hollywood, Burn

by matttbastard

Salon knows the score — no Hollywood wingnut roundup is complete without giving mad props to alpha-wingnut Victoria Jackson:

Again — no Hollywood wingnut roundup is complete without giving mad props to alpha-wingnut Victoria “There’s A Communist Living in the White House!!” Jackson.

Srsly.

P.S. surprise — he’s also the Anti-Christ. That is, indeed, “sooo evil.” 

You may now begin to panic. Or drink.

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Bye Bayh, Mon Cowboy

by matttbastard

Every Republican’s favourite soon-to-be retired moderate [sic] DINO gunslinger Evan Bayh refuses to quietly ride off into the sunset:

“There’s just too much brain-dead partisanship, tactical maneuvering for short-term political advantage rather than focusing on the greater good, and also just strident ideology,” the Democratic senator said on “Good Morning America” today.

“The extremes of both parties have to be willing to accept compromises from time to time to make some progress because some progress for the American people is better than nothing, and all too often recently, we’ve been getting nothing,” he said.

[…]

“The people who are just rigidly ideological, unwilling to accept practical solutions somewhere in the middle, vote them out, and then change the rules so that the sensible people who remain can actually get the job done,” Bayh said.

Aww, diddums.

In response to Bayh’s demonstrative bleating, the Village is once again pointing fingers at Angry Intertoob Partisans (oh noes!) for his sudden departure from public service :

During the long, still incomplete march to pass a health reform bill, Democratic moderates – in particular Montana’s Baucus and Nebraska’s Nelson — routinely took incoming from liberal bloggers for dragging the bill rightward. The left was especially critical of Bayh’s take last month on Republican Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts. Bayh told ABC News that voters up there “just don’t believe the answers we are currently proposing are solving their problems.” He said Democrats would court catastrophe if they ignored the wakeup call. John Amato wrote at CrooksandLiars.com that Bayh was promoting Fox News talking points.

Amato addresses accusations of cruel malfeasance — and the matter of Bayh’s saddle-sore bottom:

Voting almost 48 % of the time against a newly elected Democratic president is beyond being a conservative democrat. it’s aiding and abetting the enemy of change. Bayh whined like a teenager whose parents cut off their Internet yesterday when he gave his presser and said he was so tired of the partisanship. He could have done his part and helped President Obama and the Senate put together a good health care bill, but he did not. Politics is a contact sport and he proved he couldn’t take it.

Ok. Fuck Bayh’s reflexive, Broder-ready hand-wringing about “practical solutions” and “brain-dead partisanship.”

Sensible?

My ass. Bayh instead proved to be gutless and weak in the wake of constant, deliberate GOP obstruction — indeed, he aided and abetted them nearly half the time in their — wait for it — brain-dead partisan efforts to sink the good ship Obama by any means necessary. Call me “ideologically rigid” (please), but, based on his record, it seems quite apparent that Bayh fell under the all-too-expansive category of “with Dems like these…”.

Good fucking riddance.

Update: When even the sensibly centrist, DFH-hatin’ wusses at TNR are calling you a wuss, then, brother, you are a wuss.

Pull up your big boy pants and STFU.

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Cynical Calculations

by matttbastard

Cosign with Thomas H. Johnson and M. Chris Mason, who incisively and cooly slice away the bullshit surrounding Obama’s Afghanistan escalation:

Obama’s new “strategy” is no strategy at all. It is a cynical and politically motivated rehash of Iraq policy: Toss in a few more troops, throw together something resembling local security forces, buy off the enemies, and get the hell out before it all blows up. Even the dimmest bulb listening to the president’s speech could not have missed the obvious link between the withdrawal date for combat troops from Iraq (2010), the date for beginning troop reductions in Afghanistan (2011), and the domestic U.S. election cycle.

[…]

The only conclusion one can reach from the president’s speech, after eliminating the impossible, is that the administration has made a difficult but pragmatic decision: The war in Afghanistan is unwinnable, and the president’s second term and progressive domestic agenda cannot be sacrificed to a lost cause the way that President Lyndon B. Johnson’s was for Vietnam. The result of that calculation was what we heard on Dec. 1: platitudes about commitment and a just cause; historical amnesia; and a continuation of the exact same failed policies that got the United States into this mess back in 2001, concocted by the same ship of fools, many of whom are still providing remarkably bad advice to this administration.

[…]

In office less than a year, the Obama administration has already been seduced by the old beltway calculus that sometimes a little wrong must be done to get re-elected and achieve a greater good.

As they say, read the whole damn thing.

(Photo: Peter Casier, World Food Program, used under a Creative Commons License)

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US Health Care Reform: Made in…Afghanistan?

by matttbastard

Stephen M. Walt, commenting on Obama’s recent AfPak escalation and the incongruity of domestic spending initatives vs expensive foreign military endeavours on the part of the US:

As I’ve said before, Americans have come to believe that spending government revenues on U.S. citizens here at home is usually a bad thing and should be viewed with suspicion, but spending billions on vast social engineering projects overseas is the hallmark of patriotism and should never be questioned. This position makes no sense, but it is hard to think of a prominent U.S. leader who is making an explicit case for doing somewhat less abroad so that we can afford to build a better future here at home. Debates about foreign policy, grand strategy, and military engagement — including the current debate over Obama’s decision to add another30,000-plus troops in Afghanistan — tend to occur in isolation from a discussion of other priorities, as if there were no tradeoffs between what we do for others and what we are able to do for Americans here at home.

Thankfully, E-Mart has proposed a modest solution to one particularly contentious domestic issue currently mired in the US Senate:

Maybe we can set up an efficient health insurance delivery system in Iraq or Afghanistan and then import it to the States. Call it a part of our COIN strategy, get Petraeus to endorse it and then ship it home under cover of night.

Wow. That’s so crazy, it just might work.

Le sigh.

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Sarah Palin, Fauxpulism, and Right-Wing Identity Politics

by matttbastard

(Image: Tacoma Urbanist, Flickr)

Sarah Palin is back — and, seemingly, everywhere, as she launches a book tour (and, perhaps, a run at the White House in 2012).

Max Blumenthal:

In a Republican Party hoping to rebound in 2010 on the strength of a newly energized and ideologically aroused conservative grassroots, Palin’s influence is now unparalleled. Through her Facebook page, she was the one who pushed the rumor of “death panels” into the national healthcare debate, prompting the White House to issue a series of defensive responses. Unfazed by its absurdity, she repeated the charge in her recent speech in Wisconsin. In a special congressional election in New York’s 23rd congressional district, Palin’s endorsement of Doug Hoffman, an unknown far-right third-party candidate, helped force a popular moderate Republican politician, Dede Scozzafava, from the race. In the end, Palin’s ideological purge in upstate New York led to an improbable Democratic victory, the first in that GOP-heavy district in more than 100 years.

Though the ideological purge may have backfired, Palin’s participation in it magnified her influence in the party. In a telling sign of this, Congressman Mark Kirk, a pro-choice Republican from the posh suburban North Shore of Chicago, running for the Senate in Illinois, issued an anxious call for Palin’s support while she campaigned for Hoffman. According to a Kirk campaign memo, the candidate was terrified that Palin would be asked about his candidacy during her scheduled appearance on the Chicago-based Oprah Winfrey Show later this month — the kick-off for her book tour — and would not react enthusiastically. With $2.3 million in campaign cash and no viable primary challengers, Kirk was still desperate to avoid Palin-backed attacks from his right flank, however hypothetical they might be.

“She’s gangbusters!” a leading conservative radio host exclaimed to me. “There is nobody in the Republican Party who can raise money like her or top her name recognition.”

In contemporary politics, money + brand recognition = power –period. For a Republican party scrambling to maintain its ever-shrinking base, that makes Sarah Palin its most influential personality. And with the Democratic Party and the White House being seen, rightly or wrongly, as the party of Goldman Sachs, an avowed fauxpulist like Palin (she’s ‘one of us!’) driving the tone and tenor of conservative politics in an age of economic instability is not something to airily discount.

Tim Egan:

Right now, a time when only 20 percent of Americans call themselves Republicans and Democrats are shrinking as well, the independents are disgusted with both parties. In large part, it’s because neither one seems to be on their side.

The early warning shots came on Nov. 3, against an ineffective former Wall Street executive, ousted New Jersey governor Jon Corzine, and the billionaire mayor who barely bought himself a third term, Michael Bloomberg of New York. Both felt the back hand of an electorate that feels as if the system is rigged against them.

A year ago, most people were open-minded about the ground-shaking changes that came with the economic collapse. Polls found a slim majority in favor of Wall street bailouts to save the economy. They would listen, watch, wait.

By this fall, the majority were not only against the bailouts, but in favor of curbing pay on Wall Street, and tightening government regulation of same.

The continuous drip of perceived unfairness continues. One day it’s news that Goldman Sachs seems to have stepped ahead of the line of those waiting to receive H1N1 vaccines, prompting questions about why investment bankers were getting doses rather than children or pregnant women. This week, Gallup found one in five parents saying they were unable to get swine flu vaccine for their children.

Another day brings a report that the top banks are raising credit card interest rates – some as high as 29 percent, which would shame a Mob extortionist — even against people who have always paid on time. This is the thanks we get?

If Congress steers through the Great Recession without responding to the thousand points of pain among average Americans, people will see them for what they are in bottom-line terms: an insulated club. Proof, just recently, came from a Center for Responsive Politics report that 237 members of Congress — 44 percent — are millionaires, compared to just 1 percent for the country as whole.

It’s difficult to take the clumsy rhetorical and symbolic excesses of the so-called Tea Party protest movement seriously. The ham-fisted polyester populism employed by some of the more exuberant adherants seems designed to drive a stake through the barely-beating heart of parody. But the (partly manufactured) rage that is driving teabaggers to target moderate Republicans like Dede Scozzafava or burn Speaker Pelosi in effigy isn’t simply fodder for mockery by progressive bloggers and #p2 snarkmeisters; it’s a bellwhether for a burgeoning class divide that threatens to leave the Congressional millionaire elite behind — and give a boost to any political movement that figures out how to tap that rage, regardless of where that movement lies on the ideological spectrum.

The fall of social democracy in Europe may provide clues as to how this could play out if progressives fail to heed the mood of the electorate. In a piece for Red Pepper published in June of 2008, Magnus Marsdal tried to explain how and why the populist right has been ascendant in Europe over the past decade, using the Norwegian Freedom Party (FrP) as an example:

Talking to people who voted for the Norwegian populist right offers useful insights for anyone trying to fight radical right-wing populism elsewhere in Europe, particularly when it comes to what I call ‘identity politics’.

How does the FrP make the worker-voter identify with a party that is positioned so far to the right? Hostility towards foreigners and mobilisation of ‘white’ or ‘Norwegian’ identity plays a big part. So does the male- orientated FrP’s anti- feminism, which mobilises identity among male voters.

The right-wing populists also play with a particular type of consumer identity that sets the population as consumer individuals against the state, the tax system and the elite. These are the obvious side of the FrP’s identity politics.

There are two other elements that are less apparent but even more important to consider, both in Norway and in other countries where right-wing populism is on the rise.

Worker identity
First, the FrP’s rhetoric offers its own worker-identity. This is not the worker as opposed to bosses and owners. It is the worker contrasted to the lazy and dole abusers ‘below’ and ‘posh’, cultured people ‘above’.

It is quite normal for people to imagine society as if it were split into three different sections, with themselves in the middle. Moral values determine who is worthy, and who is unworthy, both ‘up there’, ‘down below’ and among ‘proper working people’. The unworthy ‘up there’ include all those who represent the state, the Labour Party, the government and everybody else who ‘lies and steals money from common workers’, as Hans Erling Willersrud, the car worker who is the main character in The FrP Code, puts it.

Among people ‘down there’, the worthy are those who, through no fault of their own, have become ill, disabled or been made redundant. Everyone else is unworthy, including those who don’t do their jobs properly. For many workers worthiness equals skills – you are worth something because you have skills and you do something. This way of measuring worth and dignity is an alternative to measuring by income or education. On this essentially moral scale, the ‘honest worker’ comes out on the same level as, or above, the rich person or the leading politician.

The unworthy also include the dishonest: those who turn with the wind, pay lip service to all, who are not ‘solid wood’, as Norwegians say. The worst are probably those who suck up to ‘posh’ people and intellectuals one moment, only to denounce them among workers the next. Not being perceived as ‘solid wood’ has created quite a few problems for politicians, especially for the Labour Party, which needs to present itself favourably to different groups at the same time.

From my interviews with working-class FrP voters, I made a simple model to show how those ‘up there’ and ‘down there’ stand in relation to the ‘proper working people’. The elite ‘up there’ are divided into three different types:

  • the ‘know-it-alls’ linked to the education system and the state;
  • the greedy, found at the top of the economy; and
  • the politically powerful (often connected to the ‘know-it- alls’ and the greedy).

[…]

A second element to the FrP’s identity politics is that of aggrieved identity. ‘I’m just an ordinary worker, I have no fucking say,’ says Hans Erling Willersrud. He knows what it means to be at the boss’s beck and call and he’s had enough of the condescending attitude of Labour politicians who ‘can’t be bothered to listen to what [he’s] got to say’.He had some contact with the social security office when he was sick, and ‘has had it up to here with the system’. ‘They wouldn’t even believe he was in pain,’ says his mother Eli.

Hans Erling thinks politicians and bureaucrats are driving his country into the ground. He believes the social democratic elite has arranged things so the rich, the shrewd and the sleazy can take advantage of the system at the expense of the common man. He’s at the bottom of the pile at work. He’s at the bottom of the pile at the dole office. He’s at the bottom of the pile in the trade union (as an FrP voter) and in politics in general. He sees himself as a ‘political underdog’.

This doesn’t mean he is weak. On the contrary: being an underdog is not about lacking personal strengths, but finding that they don’t count for anything. More powerful people, regardless of their competence, are lording it over theunderdog, without recognising his skills or paying attention to what he actually knows, thinks or wants. It’s humiliating. He feels aggrieved.

And how does a political party like the FrP exploit the popular mood? It uses political language and images to touch a nerve with people who feel ignored, trampled on and overruled.

Carl Hagen’s most important ploy is to place himself in the role of the underdog. When he rages against the other parties wanting to keep a strong FrP out of government, he says, ‘Our voters will not be treated as second-rate.’ This simple sentence is perfect for connecting with people who on a daily basis, whether at work, at school or in the media, feel that they are treated like second-class citizens. Widening the focus, Hagen implies that what ordinary workers are in the workplace, the FrP is in the party political system. The voters can identify only too readily with what he is saying.

At the same time, Hagen – in the role of the affronted man who refuses to back down – offers the promise of vindication. For more than 30 years he has paid for the conceited sins of others, he tells them. But he turns the other cheek. Unlike the powerful and the arrogant, he is not driven by haughtiness or personal ambition. He is only fighting for what’s fair.

This underdog pose is brilliant because it can be applied to so many different voter groups. Above/below is a relationship that most people can recognise. Because he understands the underdog mentality, Hagen can connect with social-democratic workers as readily as with Christian fundamentalists who feel that their Christian cultural heritage is under threat.

Other subjects that mobilise the affronted population’s sense of themselves as the underdog include the FrP’s attacks on ‘politicians and bureaucrats’, its protest against schemes such as ‘the new opera being paid for by taxpayers’ and accusations that overpaid journalists are ‘persecuting the FrP’.

So where does Sarah Palin and her overwhelming ubiquity fit in all this? Like Barack Obama in 2008, Palin could prove to be a blank canvas on which citizens could project their desires en masse. Only instead of hope and change driving a national popular movement, hate and fear would be the engine of political change in 2012.

Of course, recent polls make the likelihood of a Palin run for the Presidency seem dim for the moment, as Joan Walsh notes.

But that doesn’t mean progressives should exhale:

The main reason not to fear a President Palin can be seen in recent polling among independents and moderates. In a the most current ABC News/Washington Post poll, Greg Sargent drilled down to find that: only 37 percent of independents and 30 percent of self-described moderates think she’s qualified for the presidency, and 58 percent of moderates view her unfavorably. Even more intriguing (but not surprising): Palin’s approval rating with men is higher than with women, 48 percent to 39 percent, and just a third of women believe she’d be qualified to be our first female president. (So much for Palin’s appeal to Hillary Clinton fans!)

So I think the Sarah Palin rehab tour is more about Sarah Palin Inc. than Sarah Palin 2012. She’ll rack up the speaking fees, raise some money for red-state, red-meat Republicans, further polarize the party and live the high life she thinks she deserves. Still, even as I dismiss Palin as a serious GOP threat, increasingly I believe that the faux-populism of the right is something to worry about. It may be fun to mock Sarah Palin, but Democrats shouldn’t laugh at many of the people who admire her – who see a folksy, new kind of self-made mom trying to fight the bad old Eastern elites.

Digby nails it:

I’m not saying that we should panic. These people are politically weak in their own right. But when I see the liberal gasbags on TV blithely dismissing this as if it”s impossible that Americans could ever fall for such lunacy, I feel a little frisson of alarm. I’ve read too many accounts of people who, 80 or so years ago, complacently made the same assumption. And the whole world found out that under the right circumstances even the most civilized nations can throw in with the crazies.

Bottom line: If the ugly momentum of right-wing identity politics carries into 2012, we could see the nastiest, most polarizing Presidential campaign since 1972, regardless of who gets the GOP nomination.

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Glibertarian Follies in ME

by matttbastard

So. Maine puts marriage equality and access to medicinal marijuana up for referendum. Guess which one ends up getting tread on by a big ol’ homophobic bus?

Yup.

Heckuva job, kiddies.

As usual, Adam Serwer nails it:

It never ceases to amaze me how conservatives manage to erect political-cultural barriers that seem only to apply to liberals–conservatives have argued that any path to marriage equality that goes through the courts is illegitimate, “judicial activism” so to speak, even as gun rights advocates fight for the incorporation of Second Amendment rights into the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The path to freedom through the courts is fine for the NRA, just not for people looking for the right to marry the person they love.

Marriage [equality] is ultimately inevitable–but these referendums, which put up what should be individuals’ inalienable rights up to a majority vote–nevertheless mean a great deal, as they needlessly prolong an era of inequality which this country will someday look back upon in shame. Maine relaxed prohibitions on medical marijuana last night while voting down marriage equality–it may be time to put a picture of the state in the Balloon Juice Lexicon under “glibertarian“.

Oh, and what dnA also said about Obama being MIA in ME while stumping for the two gubernatorial losers in VA and NJ:

Just as this country will one day look back in shame at discrimination against same-sex couples, so should President Obama feel regret, wondering if things could have been different had he intervened and put the full force of his office behind those fighting for their rights, rather than simply looking out for his party.

Signed. Off.

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