The intellectual entirety of the Tea Party movement in one screencap

Cue the fail at the Teabagger Convention: Here’s cover girl Sarah Palin, after banking 100 large to give a speech slamming overspending and greed, answering one of the pre-screened questions by looking at notes written on her hand.

As a number of folks have already remarked, most of us were a little more subtle about this kind of cheating in junior high school, for chrissakes. And 53% of Republicans think she’s more qualified to sit in the White House than Obama!? Look, whatever you think of the man’s policies, he’s definitely not a complete paste-eating chowderhead. I knew this country was into breeding the stupid, but I’m always astounded at how polluted the gene pool has really gotten.

No! Not Sarah too!

For those of you who don’t keep up with Ed Brayton’s enjoyable blog Dispatches from the Culture Wars, he has a funny post today featuring an excerpt from Sarah Palin’s new book that does a pretty fair job of illustrating why the lady hasn’t got what it takes to be elected dogcatcher let alone leader of the free world, followed by some hearty criticisms. Go read and enjoy. But I thought I’d just mention that I couldn’t help being struck by one passage from the book in particular. Here’s Sarah kvetching about how incredibly controlling Nicolle Wallace, Sarah’s official minder on the McCain campaign, supposedly was.

But something always struck me as peculiar about the way [Wallace] recalled her days in the White House, when she was speaking on behalf of President George W. Bush. She didn’t have much to say that was positive about her former boss or the job in general. Whenever I wanted to give a shout-out to the White House’s homeland security efforts after 9/11, we were told we couldn’t do it.

ZOMG! Oh noes! Did Sarah actually use the phrase…shudder…”shout-out”!?!? Dear Lord in Hebbin, she must be an inner-city gangbanger! Somebody quick…alert Brannon Howse!

PS: I never cease to be amazed at the way the GOP continues to elevate Sarah Palin to rockstar status despite her consistent ineptitude and penchant for whining and casting blame on others for her shortcomings. I have a little hypothesis as to why this is so, and it goes like this (ahem): Take a look at the kinds of people who make up arch-conservatism and the radical right in America these days — you know, the teabaggers, the Glenn Beck zombies, etc. — and you’ll see, in the phrasing of vintage Mad magazine, the usual gang of idiots. To wit, fundamentalist Christians whose favorite sport is their strident denial of anything in the world of politics and science that contradicts their cherished beliefs and ideologies. In their world, intellectualism, education and expertise are all bugs rather than features. They love Sarah because she represents them to a tee in her combination of intellectual mediocrity, hubris, and embarrassing lack of self-awareness or any sense of irony. Sarah famously could not name the three countries covered by NAFTA, and yet she’s seriously being pushed as the Republican front-runner to challenge Obama in 2012. She’s so clueless that she can actually write this in her book, about her respect for Hillary Clinton…

Compared to the guys [Clinton] squared off against, a lot of her supporters think she proved what Margaret Thatcher proclaimed, ‘If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman.’

…and her fans will be so clueless that they’ll read this and not immediately roll their eyes that such a remark came from the keypad of a woman who couldn’t be bothered to finish out even her first term as governor. Way to get it done, Sarah!

Well, every political party gets the candidate it deserves. And the rise of Sarah Palin’s superstardom, at a point in her career when she should be treated as little more than a joke whose fifteen minutes were up long ago, demonstrates just how low the formerly Grand Old Party has sunk. Yes, there are plenty of moderates in the GOP outside of the “base” who are groaning in dismay that Sarah has become the party’s glamour girl and hope for the future. Heck, the rising schism has me heating up the popcorn…

Back in the saddle with some political observations

Yes, I’ve been a mite busy of late, which has precluded my blogging here as often as usual. But I see others of the team have stepped up admirably to take up the slack. Kazim’s Objectivism post has generated either the third or fourth longest comments thread this blog has ever seen. Nice to see a good scrap going on in my absence.

Really not much to talk about, except some obvious notes about the 2008 campaign. I have nothing to say about Sarah Palin that hasn’t been said. John Scalzi, in a very timely and brilliant post, has some pointed cautionary words for Dems and liberals that everyone needs to read and Digg like mad. Short version: focus, focus, focus, and stop playing into the fundie neocons’ hands by losing your shit over the Palin media frenzy. And Phil Plait reminds us why supporters of science, something vital to our nation’s very survival (yes, science is that thing, not religion) that has been in freefall for eight solid years, have a friend in Obama. These are the kinds of facts that need to be cutting through the media noise right now. Spread ’em far and wide.

As Scalzi points out, Palin was brought on board to placate the waffling fundagelicals, who were worried McCain wasn’t Christofascist enough. And choosing her shows just how easily placated those people are by a shallow ideologue who can get away with telling lie after lie after lie as long as she toes the proper ideological lines. We ought to expect the GOP to play dirty pool, and they are. For my part, the fact that Palin is a creationist wackaloon of dubious character and political experience who attends a Dominionist church with ties to such disturbing, militarist fringe movements as Joel’s Army was enough to disqualify her pretty much instantaneously. The GOP will, of course, portray her extremism in the conservative-friendly mainstream media as a feature, not a bug. The thing for sensible people to do is stay on message. Yes, I know that didn’t exactly work out for Gore or Kerry. But it isn’t over till it’s over, and by being diligent and displaying the kind of integrity that the win-at-all-costs neocons can’t be bothered with, two months is still plenty long enough to get the message out that the party that has spent the last eight years destroying America from within more thoroughly than Osama bin Laden ever dreamed of destroying it from without does not need to be rewarded for their evils with four more years of power.

Addendum: There are many things I don’t like about Ariana Huffington and HuffPo, but this post of hers makes more excellent points about the distraction Sarah Palin has quite deliberately represented, and how the Dems cannot afford to fall into the GOP’s trap here.

Her critics like to say that Palin hasn’t accomplished anything. I disagree: in the space of ten days she’s succeeded in distracting the entire country from the horrific Bush record — and McCain’s complicity in it. My friends, that’s accomplishment we can believe in.