How dare they be working class – and how dare she be a woman?

September 08, 2008

* The New York Times retracts one Palin story, but other smears continue, as the media elites try and destroy her candidacy.

* Personally, I don’t find it funny when New York magazine runs a headline “Levi Johnston and Fat Girlfriend Arrive in St. Paul.” Or when The Washington Post’s online magazine, Slate, launches a “Name Bristol Palin’s Baby” contest.

* I don’t want to even begin imagining the outcry if The Washington Post had instead compared Barack Obama to an animal.

* The snobs on The New York Times editorial page will never forgive Sarah Palin for going to the University of Idaho, or for having a husband who isn’t a lawyer or an investment banker, but a member of the United Steelworkers union, who doesn’t have a degree, whose mother (who is part Yup’ik) is a former secretary of the Alaska Federation of Natives, and whose grandmother is a member of the Curyung tribe.

* America appears to have got over its race problem, but sexism is alive and kicking.

* Taxpayer-funded Canadian TV columnist: Palin looks like a “porn actress.”

[This dispatch does not concern the Middle East. A dispatch on Mideast issues will follow in a couple of days.]

 

CONTENTS

1. The NY Times retracts one Palin story, but other smears continue (By Tom Gross)
2. Women’s organizations celebrate the advancement of women (Two cartoons)
3. “If the Dems want real change, quit nominating lawyers” (By Victor Davis Hanson)
4. “When Barack’s berserkers lost the plot” (By Nick Cohen, The Observer)
5. “Democrats must learn some respect” (By Clive Crook, Financial Times)
6. “The liberal media gangs up on a 17-year-old” (By Tom Gross / Sam Schulman)
7. “What Sarah Palin didn’t say” (By Claudia Rosett)
8. “Madam President: Hillary Clinton -v- Sarah Palin in 2012?” (By Tom Gross)
9. “Canadian TV repeats lies even after Daily Kos moves on” (By Tom Gross / Jon Kay)
10. Taxpayer-funded Canadian TV columnist: Palin looks like a “porn actress”
11. “ABC TV on Obama’s parentage: whoops”


YOU DON’T HAVE TO SUPPORT PALIN TO BE DISTURBED BY THE SMEARS

I attach an article by myself published in America today. It was also scheduled to be published in leading newspapers in Britain and Canada. However, senior editors at those papers overruled their commissioning editors, saying they would publish it but didn’t want to draw their readers’ attention to the fact that they too were caught out by the “Palin membership of the Alaska Independence Party” hoax. At least The New York Times, unlike other papers, have to their credit apologized to their readers for being caught out and running that hoax of their front page.

-- Tom Gross

 

FULL ARTICLES

HOW DARE THEY BE WORKING CLASS – AND HOW DARE SHE BE A WOMAN?

The NY Times retracts one Palin story, but other smears continue
By Tom Gross
National Review Online
September 8, 2008

New York Times writers are still sneering at Sarah Palin and her family on a daily basis. After all, these snobs will never forgive her for going to the University of Idaho, or for having a husband who isn’t a lawyer or an investment banker, but a member of the United Steelworkers union, who doesn’t have a degree, whose mother (who is part Yup’ik) is a former secretary of the Alaska Federation of Natives, and whose grandmother is a member of the Curyung tribe.

But at least The New York Times has now retracted the outrageous fabrication it printed on the front-page of Tuesday’s edition: that Sarah Palin was a member of the Alaska Independence Party for two years in the 1990s.

Other papers around the world continue to print this falsehood (in London, The Guardian’s front page had a banner headline which read “My fellow Alaskans”) and other lies generated by left-wing smear blogs continue to be lapped up by many in the mainstream media.

No, Sarah Palin didn’t support Pat Buchanan in the 1999-2000 campaign; she was an official on the campaign of Republican presidential contender Steve Forbes.

No, her eldest son Track (who is deploying to Iraq this week) didn’t join the National Guard because he was a drug addict.

No, her daughters Willow and Piper aren’t named after witches on TV.

No, she has nothing in common with a “porn actress” as one taxpayer-funded Canadian TV columnist suggested.

No, she’s not anti-Semitic. In fact, she has an Israeli flag in her office, and quietly turned up for services at a newly opened Wasilla synagogue to pay her respects.

No, she didn’t cut funding for unwed mothers, but increased it by 354 percent (and no, The Washington Post doesn’t appear to have corrected its story about this despite being asked to do so).

NO, SHE’S NOT A HORSE

But, yes, she did try to cut her own salary by $4,000 a year when she was mayor of Wasilla; and yes, she voted against the $4,000-a-year raise while on the city council.

And yes, she (like John McCain) did get it right when she supported the surge in Iraq, while Barack Obama and Joe Biden got it badly wrong.

And yes, she did take on the corrupt Republican Party establishment in Alaska, while hardly anyone is asking why Obama failed to ask questions about the notoriously corrupt Democratic Party machine in Chicago, or was happy to take huge donations from the now-jailed crook Tony Rezko.

Whatever else happens in this too-close-to call 2008 presidential election, I think we can happily conclude that America has come a long way in getting over its race problem. Thankfully, there has been very little racism directed against Barack Obama by anybody except for people on the absolute fringes.

But, as Hillary Clinton came to realize when she was given unfair treatment by the Obama-infatuated media, and as Sarah Palin has seen to a much greater extent in the period of a mere week, clearly the same cannot be said of America’s sexist problem.

Personally, I don’t find it funny when New York magazine runs a headline “Levi Johnston and Fat Girlfriend Arrive in St. Paul.” Or when The Washington Post’s online magazine, Slate, launches a “Name Bristol Palin’s Baby” contest.

Richard Cohen, leading columnist at The Washington Post thought it was acceptable (even amusing) to compare Sarah Palin to a horse, and so, judging by many of their online comments, did his readers. I don’t want to even begin imagining the outcry if The Washington Post had instead compared Barack Obama (or any other political candidate) to an animal.

I’m someone who shares the left’s purported views on equal rights, and essentially agrees with them on issues such as abortion, gay rights, and gun control (though firmly disagreeing with them on bigger issues such as the economy, foreign policy, and helping spread democracy abroad). But it is precisely the kind of McCarthyite-style witchhunt we have witnessed in the past week against the Palins by the left’s phony feminists and snooty media establishment that makes me – and many others I know – stay well clear of the official left.

(Tom Gross is a former Middle East correspondent for London’s Sunday Telegraph.)


TWO CARTOONS

Women’s organizations celebrate the advancement of women.

Two Palin cartoons here.

 

THE PROBLEM WITH LAWYERS

Tom Gross writes: In this article, historian Victor Davis Hanson points out that the Democratic Party keeps losing presidential elections because they keep nominating lawyers as candidates. Every Democratic presidential nominee for president and vice president in the last seven elections – except Al Gore, who dropped out of law school to run for Congress – has been a lawyer.

If the Republicans win this year, it may well be because – like George Bush and Dick Cheney, and Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush – John McCain and Sarah Palin aren’t members of the legal culture.

As Hanson writes, “The problem is that lawyers usually do not run companies, defend the country, lead people, build things, grow food, or create capital.”

“If this year Democrats were looking for populist candidates from diverse backgrounds and training who talked and thought differently from those of the past, then why didn’t they nominate someone who was not trained in writing legalese?”

***

The Dems’ Legal Eagles: Want real change? Quit nominating lawyers!
By Victor Davis Hanson
The National Review
September 5, 2008

The 2008 presidential campaign is supposed to be a referendum on “change” – who brings it and who doesn’t.

Real change, however, hasn’t yet proven to mean new politics.

The “hope and change” Barack Obama sounds like a traditional Northern liberal who always wants to raise taxes on the upper classes and businesses, expand government services, and provide more state assistance to the middle class and poor.

“Maverick” John McCain talks like a conventional Western or Southern conservative in favor of spending cuts, across-the-board lower taxes, and smaller government.

This year the media seem to think change means race and sex – whether Barack Obama’s background of mixed racial ancestry or the gender of Democratic primary candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.

It’s certainly true that either the next president or next vice president will not be a white male. But does that mean de facto that the country will be run any differently?

There is, however, one area where we might have seen real change. The Democrats could have not nominated another lawyer. This may partly explain why former military officer John McCain and working-mom Sarah Palin are polling near even with Obama and his running mate, Joe Biden, in a year that otherwise favors the Democrats.

A snowmobiling, fishing, and hunting mom of five who was trained as a journalist seems like a breath of fresh air – and accentuates the nontraditional background of former naval officer John McCain. If the Republicans win, it may well be because – like George Bush and Dick Cheney, or Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush – they weren’t members of the legal culture.

On the Democratic side, Barack Obama got out of Harvard Law School, worked for a firm, offered his legal expertise as a community organizer, and went into politics. Joe Biden graduated from law school and almost immediately ran for office.

In the Democratic primary, winner Obama, runner-up Hillary Clinton, and third-place finisher John Edwards were all lawyers. In 2004, both Democratic nominees, John Kerry and Edwards, were lawyers. Al Gore, who ran in 2000, left law school without a degree and went into politics. His running mate, Joe Lieberman, was a Yale-trained lawyer. Mike Dukakis, the 1988 Democratic presidential nominee, was a Harvard-trained lawyer and ran with lawyer Lloyd Bentsen.

In fact, every Democratic presidential nominee for president and vice president in the last seven elections – except Gore, who dropped out of law school to run for Congress – has been a lawyer.

What saved Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996 was the presence in the race of third-party conservative candidate Ross Perot – and the image of Clinton as a Southern moderate, which seemed to reassure voters that this particular Yale-trained lawyer was nevertheless not quite another Democratic nominee like Walter Mondale or Dukakis.

Of course, there have been Republican nominees and presidents who were lawyers – Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and Bob Dole – but recently far less so than the Democrats, as the administrations of Ronald Reagan and the two Bushes attest.

So, what’s wrong with the Democratic nominee once again being a lawyer? After all, legal minds are trained to think precisely and evaluate both sides of an issue.

The problem is that lawyers usually do not run companies, defend the country, lead people, build things, grow food, or create capital.

If this year Democrats were looking for populist candidates from diverse backgrounds and training who talked and thought differently from those of the past, then why didn’t they nominate someone who was not trained in writing legalese and working the government legal labyrinth?

Instead, they needed different sorts, candidates who might have sounded a little rougher, a little less condescending, and a little more like most voters. Most Americans have never been in – and never want to be in – a courtroom.

In the past, law school has not necessarily been considered ideal presidential training. Harry Truman was audacious perhaps because he had tried and failed as a haberdasher. Dwight Eisenhower learned about leadership from his years as a general. George H. W. Bush was a businessman and Ronald Reagan an actor. Even unpopular presidents like Jimmy Carter (farmer) and George W. Bush (businessman) brought different perspectives to the job.

Change for Democrats this year was not a new strain of liberal politics or a different race or gender. Instead, they needed to have run candidates who talked, thought, and acted differently from their usual run-of-the-mill sorts.

And that meant someone other than the same old, same old legal eagles who appear glib – but so often manage to lose in November.

 

MY COLLEAGUES IN THE AMERICAN LIBERAL PRESS HAD LITTLE TO FEAR AT THE START OF THE WEEK...

Tom Gross writes: This article was published yesterday in The Observer, which is the Sunday edition of Britain’s left-liberal Guardian newspaper. Columnist Nick Cohen writes:

“Journalists who believe in women’s equality should not spread sexual smears about a candidate, or snigger at her teenage daughter’s pregnancy, or declare that a mother with a young family cannot hold down a responsible job for the pragmatic reason that they will look like gross hypocrites if they do...

“In Britain, the most snobbish attacks on Margaret Thatcher did not come from aristocrats but from the communist historian Eric Hobsbawm, who opined that Thatcherism was the ‘anarchism of the lower middle classes’ and the liberal Jonathan Miller, who deplored her ‘odious suburban gentility.’”

***

When Barack’s berserkers lost the plot
By Nick Cohen
The Observer (UK)
September 7, 2008

My colleagues in the American liberal press had little to fear at the start of the week. Their charismatic candidate was ahead in virtually every poll. George W Bush was so unpopular that conservatives were scrambling around for reasons not to invite the Republican President to the Republican convention. Democrats had only to maintain their composure and the White House would be theirs. During the 1997 British general election, the late Lord Jenkins said that Tony Blair was like a man walking down a shiny corridor carrying a precious vase. He was the favourite and held his fate in his hands. If he could just reach the end of the hall without a slip, a Labour victory was assured. The same could have been said of the American Democrats last week. But instead of protecting their precious advantage, they succumbed to a spasm of hatred and threw the vase, the crockery, the cutlery and the kitchen sink at an obscure politician from Alaska.

For once, the postmodern theories so many of them were taught at university are a help to the rest of us. As a Christian, conservative anti-abortionist who proved her support for the Iraq War by sending her son to fight in it, Sarah Palin was ‘the other’ - the threatening alien presence they defined themselves against. They might have soberly examined her reputation as an opponent of political corruption to see if she was truly the reformer she claimed to be. They might have gently mocked her idiotic creationism, while carefully avoiding all discussion of the racist conspiracy theories of Barack Obama’s church.

But instead of following a measured strategy, they went berserk. On the one hand, the media treated her as a sex object. The New York Times led the way in painting Palin as a glamour-puss in go-go boots you were more likely to find in an Anchorage lap-dancing club than the Alaska governor’s office.

On the other, liberal journalists turned her family into an object of sexual disgust: inbred rednecks who had stumbled out of Deliverance. Palin was meant to be pretending that a handicapped baby girl was her child when really it was her wanton teenage daughter’s. When that turned out to be a lie, the media replaced it with prurient coverage of her teenage daughter, who was, after all, pregnant, even though her mother was not going to do a quick handover at the maternity ward and act as if the child was hers.

Hatred is the most powerful emotion in politics. At present, American liberals are not fighting for an Obama presidency. I suspect that most have only the haziest idea of what it would mean for their country. The slogans that move their hearts and stir their souls are directed against their enemies: Bush, the neo-cons, the religious right.

In this, American liberals are no different from the politically committed the world over. David Cameron knew that he would never be Prime Minister until he had killed the urgent hatred of the Conservative party in liberal England. A measure of his success is that hardly anyone now is caught up by the once ubiquitous feeling that no compromise is too great if it stops the Tories regaining power. Hate can sell better than hope.

When a hate campaign goes wrong, however, disaster follows. And everything that could go wrong with the campaign against Palin did. American liberals forgot that the public did not know her. By the time she spoke at the Republican convention, journalists had so lowered expectations that a run-of-the-mill speech would have been enough to win the evening.

As it was, her family appeared on stage without a goitre or a club foot between them, and Palin made a fighting speech that appealed over the heads of reporters to the public we claim to represent. ‘I’m not going to Washington to seek their good opinion,’ she said as she deftly detached journalists from their readers and viewers. ‘I’m going to Washington to serve the people of this country.’

English leftists made the same mistake of allowing their hatred to override their judgment after the Iraq war. If they had confined themselves to charging Tony Blair with failing to find the weapons of mass destruction he promised were in Iraq, and sending British troops into a quagmire, they might have forced him out. They were so consumed by loathing, however, they insisted that he had lied, which he clearly had not. They set the bar too low and Blair jumped it with ease. ‘When a man believes that any stick will do, he at once picks up a boomerang,’ said GK Chesterton, and when the politically committed go on a berserker you should listen for the sound of their own principles smacking them in the face.

Journalists who believe in women’s equality should not spread sexual smears about a candidate, or snigger at her teenage daughter’s pregnancy, or declare that a mother with a young family cannot hold down a responsible job for the pragmatic reason that they will look like gross hypocrites if they do. Before Palin, we saw hypocrisy of the right when shock jocks who had spent years denouncing feminism came over all politically correct when Bill Clinton had an affair with Monica Lewinsky.

In Britain, the most snobbish attacks on Margaret Thatcher did not come from aristocrats but from the communist historian Eric Hobsbawm, who opined that Thatcherism was the ‘anarchism of the lower middle classes’ and the liberal Jonathan Miller, who deplored her ‘odious suburban gentility’. More recently, George Osborne, of the supposedly compassionate Conservative party, revealed himself to be a playground bully when he derided Gordon Brown for being ‘faintly autistic’.

In an age when politics is choreographed, voters watch out for the moments when the public-relations facade breaks down and venom pours through the cracks. Their judgment is rarely favourable when it does. Barack Obama knows it. All last week, he was warning American liberals to stay away from the Palin family. He understands better than his supporters that it is not a politician’s enemies who lose elections, but his friends.

 

FT: “DEMOCRATS MUST LEARN SOME RESPECT”

Columnist Clive Crook of the openly Pro-Obama Financial Times, makes some interesting observations in a piece published today titled “Democrats must learn some respect.” He writes:

The trouble is, the Democrats lack respect for the objects of their solicitude [ordinary people]. Their sympathy comes mixed with disdain, and even contempt...

Curiously, whereas the conservative media know they are conservative, much of the liberal media believe themselves to be neutral...

Because it was so unexpected, Sarah Palin’s nomination for the vice-presidency jolted these attitudes to the surface... her selection induced an apoplectic fit...

If only the Democrats could contain their sense of entitlement to govern in a rational world, and their consequent distaste for wide swathes of the U.S. electorate, they might gain the unshakeable grip on power they feel they deserve...

The Palin nomination could still misfire for Mr McCain, but the liberal reaction has made it a huge success so far. To avoid endlessly repeating this mistake, Democrats need to learn some respect...

 

JOHN EDWARDS HAD A BABY?

The liberal media gangs up on a 17-year-old
By Tom Gross
The National Review (Media Blog)
September 7, 2008

As I noted in my article (above), the campaign by America’s phony feminists and snooty media establishment against Sarah Palin and her family that began mere seconds after John McCain picked her, has produced many outstandingly nasty comments.

But perhaps the most telling bias of all can be observed when one compares the coverage Palin’s poor teenage daughter received with the complete pass given by the liberal media to the would-be Democratic Party presidential candidate John Edwards, whose adultery during the campaign, even as his wife lay terminally ill, they did so much to cover up.

Sam Schulman makes some good points too:

1. Bristol Palin’s pregnancy was broadcast to the world as soon – or sooner than – it was discovered. John Edwards’s mistress Rielle Hunter’s pregnancy was covered up by major media sources even though it was well documented.

2. Rielle Hunter received: Rent-free housing. $15,000 a month from John Edwards’s campaign treasurer. The use of a private jet.

Bristol Palin received: the support of her community, Wasilla, the fourth-largest city in Alaska. The support of her mother and father. The love of her baby’s father. Period.

3. Rielle Hunter and John Edwards received: Privacy and solicitude from The New York Times, The Washington Post, network news, cable news – everyone in the respectable world media, except Mickey Kaus.

Bristol Palin received Internet rumor-mongering widely reported in the mainstream press.

4. Rielle Hunter and John Edwards continued to lie about their relationship after it was revealed.

Bristol Palin’s family gave a simple, dignified statement of the truth of the situation after it was revealed.

5. Bristol Palin and the father of her baby are 17 or 18 – and their relationship concerns themselves and their parents.

The combined age of John Edwards and Rielle Hunter is close to, if not over, a century. John Edwards has a mortally ill wife and three other young children to be concerned about.

6. The number of column inches and network TV coverage devoted to Bristol Palin compared to John Edwards is – immeasurable.

 

WHAT SARAH PALIN DIDN’T SAY

Sarah’s speech
By Tom Gross
The National Review (Media Blog)
September 3, 2008

Sarah Palin is preparing to take the stage at the Republican convention, and here is a sneak preview of what she might say (as told to writer Claudia Rosett):

“There are a few more things you need to know about me.

“As a troubled teenager, I myself used cocaine and marijuana (yes, I inhaled), and as an adult, I attended and took my family to (and my inspiration from) a church where the preaching included hate-speech about America and assorted ethnic and religious groups.

“In my business career, before entering politics, I had talents that allowed me, simply by reading the newspaper, to earn a 10,000% return on a $1,000 investment in cattle futures in the space of 10 months.

“While holding elected office, my experience included the pursuit of assorted adulterous liaisons, including intimate activities in my landmark government office with an intern less than half my age, though as I regard it, I did not have sex with that person (depending on the meaning of “is”). When I got caught, my spouse denounced my critics as members of a vast political conspiracy.

“I could add a great deal more to this list (though please remember that when I got caught taking home state silverware, I eventually did send it back), but let us now turn to the mighty issue of the hour…”

That scene, of course, is fantasy, as Claudia Rosett points out: “Sarah Palin won’t say these words, because they do not apply to her. But they do apply to the three most prominent political figures who paraded across the stage at the Democratic convention in Denver last week, Barack Obama, and Hillary and Bill Clinton – to wild ovations from the crowd.”

 

MADAM PRESIDENT

Click here to see a cartoon and note by myself welcoming the possible 2012 presidential race between Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin.

 

CANADA’S STATE-FUNDED TV, IN THE FOOTSEPS OF DAILY KOS

Canada’s CBC continues the lies even after Daily Kos has moved on
By Tom Gross
The National Review (Media Blog)
September 4, 2008

On Monday, even the Daily Kos admitted that the disgusting smear that they had helped spread – that Sarah Palin wasn’t really the mother of her 4-month-old baby Trig – wasn’t true.

The rest of the media then moved on to bashing Palin’s defenseless teenage daughter, Bristol.

Yet on Tuesday, star reporter Neil McDonald of Canada’s taxpayer-funded CBC reported this gutter lie as if it might be true.

How, asks Jonathan Kay in the posting below, could CBC sink so low?

 

TAXPAYER-FUNDED CANADIAN TV COLUMNIST: PALIN LOOKS LIKE A “PORN ACTRESS”

This commentator, Heather Mallick, is a columnist at the taxpayer-funded Canadian Broadcasting Corp (CBC). What she says about Sarah Palin and the people who support her is jaw-dropping.

Her article begins:

I assume John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his vice-presidential partner in a fit of pique because the Republican money men refused to let him have the stuffed male shirt he really wanted. She added nothing to the ticket that the Republicans didn’t already have sewn up, the white trash vote, the demographic that sullies America’s name inside and outside its borders yet has such a curious appeal for the right.

So why do it?

It’s possible that Republican men, sexual inadequates that they are, really believe that women will vote for a woman just because she’s a woman. I mean, I know men have their secret meetings at which they pledge to do manly things, like being irresponsible with their semen and postponing household repairs with glue and used matches. Guys will be guys, obviously.

Palin was not a sure choice, not even for the stolidly Republican ladies branch of Citizens for a Tackier America....

John Doyle, the cleverest critic in Canada, comes right out and calls Palin an Alaska hillbilly. Damn his eyes, I wish I’d had the wit to come up with it first. It’s safer than “white trash” but I’ll pluck safety out of the nettle danger. Or something.

... Palin has a toned-down version of the porn actress look favoured by this decade’s woman, the overtreated hair, puffy lips and permanently alarmed expression. Bristol has what is known in Britain as the look of the teen mum, the “pramface.” Husband Todd looks like a roughneck; Track, heading off to Iraq, appears terrified. They claim to be family obsessed while being studiously terrible at parenting. What normal father would want Levi “I’m a fuckin’ redneck” Johnson prodding his daughter?

(You can read it all, if you must, here.)

 

ABC TV ON OBAMA’S PARENTAGE

A moment for the history books.” Whoops.


All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.