Here’s the latest bit of wisdom from Sarah Palin:
McCain’s running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, speaking in Colorado Springs, Colo., said Fannie and Freddie had “gotten too big and too expensive to the taxpayers.” The companies, however, aren’t taxpayer funded but operate as private companies. The takeover may result in a taxpayer bailout during reorganization.
It is appalling, of course, that Ms. Palin was unaware of a basic fact central to what is likely to be one of the major economic issues of the next few years. But this sort of gaffe is entirely typical among Republicans, who speak completely in talking points and code words. Fannie and Freddie have something to do with the economy, therefore a statement about wasting taxpayer money is in order. That’s all she knows about or cares about. It is reminiscent of her brilliant statement regarding the inclusion of “under God” in the Pledge:
Q: Are you offended by the phrase “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance? Why or why not?
PALIN: Not on your life. If it was good enough for the founding fathers, its good enough for me and I’ll fight in defense of our Pledge of Allegiance.
“Something about religion and patriotism?” she thought. “That means I’m supposed to say something about the Founding Fathers.”
She will get away with it because that is also the level at which much of the country thinks about political issues, and she will be backed up by a compliant media that is uninclined to bring it up. Some hapless, vaguely left-leaning pundit is likely to mention it on one of the chat shows this evening, but he will be shot down quickly by the host and the other guests.
Meanwhile, just in case you were uncertain as to the current state of the media, I urge you to read Glenn Greenwald’s latest column. MSNBC, you see, will not be allowing Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann to continue as the lead anchors of their election coverage. Olbermann, who is the only one on the network to get non-embarrassing ratings, is too liberal, you see. The right-wing has complained, and MSNBC has caved:
Finally, and perhaps most notably of all, Olbermann’s role as anchor somehow destroys the journalistic brand of both MSNBC and NBC, while Fox News continues to be deemed a legitimate news outlet by our political and media establishment. Fox does this despite (more accurately: due to) its employing Brit Hume as its main anchor — someone who is every bit as partisan and ideological as Keith Olbermannn is (at least), who regularly spews the nastiest and most vicious right-wing talking points, yet because he’s not a liberal, is deemed to be a legitimate news anchor.
The Washington Post’s Howie Kurtz — while repeatedly lamenting the ascent of Olbermann (and Maddow) as a threat to objective journalism — proclaims that “Hume is no partisan brawler” while Charlie Gibson gushes: “He has a wonderful style which makes you want to hear what Brit has to say, in an age when so many people are in your face.” The Associated Press recently declared that Fox News has never gone as far as MSNBC in producing partisan news coverage, asserting that “Olbermann’s popularity and evolving image as an idealogue (sic) has led NBC News to stretch traditional notions of journalistic objectivity” and that “Fox has never done that, perhaps mindful of the immediate controversy that would result.”
Consult the original for links, and for many other quotable nuggets.
Put all of this together and you begin to see why all of the national polls now show McCain in the lead. During the summer, when the only people paying attention were the ones who, well, pay attention, Obama had a comfortable lead. But now that the Republicans have had their convention, and the media is falling into lockstep behind their version of reality, and the 527’s are mobilizing to rip into Obama, and Obama’s very real weaknesses are pointed out 24/7 through every media outlet, you are seeing the natural order of things beginning to be restored.
Finally, here is one more example of why Christopher Hitchens is reliable only when talking about religion, and should be ignored on every other issue. Actually, it seems he is not always reliable even on religion:
Interviewed by Rick Warren at the grotesque Saddleback megachurch a short while ago, Sen. Barack Obama announced that Jesus had died on the cross to redeem him personally. How he knew this he did not say. But it will make it exceedingly difficult for him, or his outriders and apologists, to ridicule Palin for her own ludicrous biblical literalist beliefs. She has inarticulately said that her gubernatorial work would be hampered “if the people of Alaska’s heart isn’t right with god.” Her local shout-and-holler tabernacle apparently believes that Jews can be converted to Jesus and homosexuals can be “cured.” I cannot wait to see Obama and Biden explain how this isn’t the case or how it’s much worse than, and quite different from, Obama’s own raving and ranting pastor in Chicago or Biden’s lifelong allegiance to the most anti-“choice” church on the planet. The difference, if there is one, is that Palin is probably sincere whereas the Democratic team is almost certainly hypocritical.
Even accepting Hitchens’ rather dubious characterizations of all the relevant people and organizations, I should think the difference is obvious. Obama and Biden have no interest in implementing the policies of the religious right. Palin does. (And McCain doesn’t really care one way or the other). Obama and Biden will protect the separation of church and state and a secular society. Palin won’t. Obama and Biden have no interest in having creationism taught in schools. Palin does. Obama and Biden recognize that their religious beliefs are personal, and are not a sound basis for public policy. Palin doesn’t.
This, mind you, was one of the better arguments Hitchens made in the entirety of his ridiculous column. This is Hitchens at his worst: desperate to be contrarian even when simple facts and logic are against him.