Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston



Wednesday, February 24, 2010


So asks Peter Brown on the Wall Street Journal's blog:

"Sarah Palin would probably blanch at the comparison, given their widely divergent world views, but these days her political profile looks quite similar to the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s just over two decades ago.

Simply put, the two emerged as political and media celebrities backed by exceptionally strong support within the most ideological wing of their respective political parties. But both also carry substantial political baggage with the much larger numbers of American voters who decide November elections.

That profile made the idea that Mr. Jackson had a serious chance to win the presidency unrealistic. Ms. Palin’s poll ratings are actually lower than Mr. Jackson’s were then. And doubts about her ability to broaden her support past the true-believers, as numerous as they may be, raise the same questions about her chances in 2012.

To be fair to the former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate, her base within the Republican Party is larger and more influential in primaries than Mr. Jackson’s was a generation ago in the Democratic Party.

Nonetheless, the electorate today sees Ms. Palin much like it once viewed Mr. Jackson.

Transition to the Mainstream

He was a well-known civil rights leader who had made the transition to the conventional political mainstream in 1984 with a presidential campaign. She was a former small-state governor who zoomed to national political prominence when GOP nominee John McCain selected her as his running mate.

Current poll data show that more than seven in 10 Americans don’t think Ms. Palin is qualified to be president, including a majority of Republicans. But she commands strong loyalty among the grass-roots conservatives who have great sway in GOP presidential primaries.

Polling data two decades ago, asking voters whether they thought Mr. Jackson was qualified to be president, showed even fewer viewed him as Oval Office material.

Mr. Jackson was the candidate of the Democrats’ liberal wing and the first major African-American aspirant to seek the White House. He could count on firm support from black voters, who made up 15% to 25% of the primary vote in most of the major states, and some support from white liberals.

Ms. Palin, the candidate of the populist conservative wing of the GOP, has captured the support of many in the “Tea Party” movement characterized by anger at Washington, D.C.

Tugging to the Left – or Right

The fear among Democratic strategists in the ’80s was that Mr. Jackson would drag the party too far left through his primary candidacy, and God forbid what would happen should he actually win the presidential nomination. Many in the GOP hierarchy have similar fears about Ms. Palin.

Looking back today, the worry that Mr. Jackson might grab his party’s nomination seems out of the question.

But it is worth remembering that in the 1988 primary fight for the Democratic nomination, the contenders were often referred to as the “seven dwarfs” because of their collective lack of name recognition, and belief by some that none of them could be a good general election candidate.

That’s not unlike the current assessment of the potential 2012 GOP presidential wannabes in some quarters. Like Mr. Jackson in those days, Ms. Palin often leads the polls among contenders for the nomination because she is by far the best known.

Ms. Palin’s situation is somewhat different because at this point the idea she could win the 2012 GOP nomination does not strain credulity with many people. Still, her position reminds the rational analyst of mother’s teaching that “you never get a second chance to make a first impression.”


Oso said...

Probably accurate but somewhat unfair to Jackson who's a very intelligent man.

Shaw Kenawe said...


Point well taken! LOL!

dmarks said...

The good old "politician X is stupid because he/she does not share my views" argument.

Shaw Kenawe said...

No, dmarks, that's not correct. I have read many conservative writers who believe that ex-Gov. Palin has an ability to whip up her base, but she is quite lacking in depth of knowledge of foreign and domestic issues.

That's more of an ignorance problem, it is true. And there's no shame in being ignorant, only in willfully staying that way.

Palin mouths rhetoric and snark when she speaks to her idolizing base, but not much else.

Her disasterous interviews with Gibson and Couric during the last presidential campaign illustrated how lacking in substance she is.

An intelligent person--even lacking knowledge in certain areas--would have known that he or she was unqualified to run as vice president.

She gets points for being able to rouse her audience and give a good speech, but she cannot speak and has never spoken to a serious interviewer on serious policy questions.

FOX News, where Chris Wallace hoped she would sit on his lap, doesn't count.

Shaw Kenawe said...


Jeb Bush could hardly be considered the opposition. Here is a direct quote from him on Palin:

24 Feb 2010 09:11 pm

Quote For The Day

"I mean, I don't know what her deal is, but my belief is in 2010 and 2012, public leaders need to have intellectual curiosity," Jeb Bush, on Palin.

Intellectual curiousity is an attribute associated with intelligent people; therefore, if a person has no intellectual curiosity, that person is NOT...

Anonymous said...

71% of Ameericans who were polled on the question do not think Palin is qualified to be president. Thank God!

She appeals to a minority of Americans, and will probably continue to travel the country, speaking at conservative rallies and conferences, not saying anything of substance.

There will always be Americans who need someonelike Palin to make them feel underappreciated and like victims.

She's really good at doing that.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Bill O'Reilly on Good Morning America today:

As for frequent "O'Reilly Factor" guest Sarah Palin, O'Reilly says she absolutely wants to run but has to weigh whether she wants to put her family through the process. And, he added, she needs to study up.

"Sarah Palin needs to go to college," O'Reilly said. "Political college, world affairs college, and she is. She's hired a bunch of advisers and they're giving her a whole bunch of tracks to learn, because it is a sophisticated deal."

So another Republican/conservative understands that Palin is not the brightest bulb in the marquee. O'Reilly is hardly the opposition.

But the troubling part of what he said is that this 46 year old grandmother is just NOW studying up? She's been in politics--the governor of a US state, albeit 1/2 term--for years and she's just now figuring out how much she doesn't know? and she's going to get advisors to cram what she should have been sharp on for years into her head now?

How much depth on the hundreds of issues do you think Palin will have as she gets "advisors" to fill her head with information at this point in her life?

Less than 2 years ago--sometime after McCain chose her as his running mate--she herself said she didn't know much about the Iraq war! In fact, according to McCain's people, she actually thought Iraq was responsible for the attacks on 9/11!

That is tragic, and no matter how many advisors are filling her head with facts, this woman has shown an appalling lack of interest on one of the most important issues of our time.

She should stick to riling up the crowds who come to see her being a teevee entertainer. She's good at that.

libhom said...

Oso: You made the point I was going to make.

Arthurstone said...

Actually Palin isn't 'stupid' because I disagree with her politically.

She isn't 'stupid' at all. And let's just get rid of the word stupid anyway. It has no meaning.

Palin is unquestionably incurious. Poorly educated. Badly read. Superstitious. And far too proud of those obvious shortcomings.

That's my problem with Sarah Palin.

TRUTH 101 said...

I can take the elitist high road because I voted for Jesse Jackson in the 1984 and 88 primaries.

Anonymous said...

No she's stupid.

dmarks said...

Arther said: "Palin is unquestionably incurious"

Which anyone can say about any politician they dislike. The anon two comments later said what you were getting at.

Shaw Kenawe said...


People who do not like Mr. Obama can say a lot about him, but to call him incurious would be laughable. So I'm afraid what you typed is not apt in this case.

Arthurstone said...


Don't take my word for it.

Ask Jeb Bush.

dmarks said...

Shaw: The "incurious" insult can be used against Mr. Obama just as well as against Sarah Palin. Whether or not one finds it "laughable" for either depends on which side one is on. Because to use it against Sarah Palin thusly is to use it as an insult without attention to its meaning.

That "incurious" is nothing more than a vague insult is proven by the fact that no-one ever justifies it. Since the definition involves inquisitiveness and curiosity, has anyone actually compared the number of times Obama uses questions in his speeches compared to Sarah Palin?

And one very important part of the definition of incurious is "apathetic or indifferent". There's no way one can say this of any opinionated active politician.

Arthur: You can pick and choose what attacks from someone in the same party you can choose. There are some rather damning quotations from the current Secretary of State on the current President's qualifications. But I doubt I will see you using those, just as I doubt I see you using Jeb Bush as any sort of authority on anything else.

Shaw Kenawe said...

incurious definition:

Lacking intellectual inquisitiveness or natural curiosity; uninterested.

Couric: You've said, quote, "John McCain will reform the way Wall Street does business." Other than supporting stricter regulations of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac two years ago, can you give us any more example of his leading the charge for more oversight?
Palin: I think that the example that you just cited, with his warnings two years ago about Fannie and Freddie - that, that's paramount. That's more than a heck of a lot of other senators and representatives did for us.

Couric: But he's been in Congress for 26 years. He's been chairman of the powerful Commerce Committee. And he has almost always sided with less regulation, not more.

Palin: He's also known as the maverick though, taking shots from his own party, and certainly taking shots from the other party. Trying to get people to understand what he's been talking about - the need to reform government.

Couric: But can you give me any other concrete examples? Because I know you've said Barack Obama is a lot of talk and no action. Can you give me any other examples in his 26 years of John McCain truly taking a stand on this?

Palin: I can give you examples of things that John McCain has done, that has shown his foresight, his pragmatism, and his leadership abilities. And that is what America needs today.

Couric: I'm just going to ask you one more time - not to belabor the point. Specific examples in his 26 years of pushing for more regulation.

Palin: I'll try to find you some and I'll bring them to you.

This is an embarrassing example of Palin's lack of knowledge of what John McCain's political history and positions on major issues are. And she was his running mate?

She couldn't come up with anything.

As for your example of Secy. Clinton saying negative things about President Obama, that was during a primary campaign and it is not unknown in American politics to have competing candidates denigraate the person she/he is running against. See: George HW Bush and calling Reagan's financial plan "voodoo economics" and George W. Bush in his primary run against John McCain in South Carolina where phone calls were made suggesting that McCain's adopted child from Pakistan was his illegitimate black daughter.

Jeb Bush and Bill O'Reilly are not running against Palin in a primary.

They are acknowledging that she is embarrassingly deficient in the most basic knowledge on politial issues, domestic and foreign.

Nothing in her speeches speak to problem solving or policy. All she does is attack the opposition and mouth talking points--that have turned out to be lies [see Death Panels].

That got her props from her base, but the rest of the country saw her lie for what it is: A cheap and wildly dishonest criticism of something she clearly knew nothing about.

Arthurstone said...

Thanks dmarks.

I merely pointed out Jeb's remarks because I think he actually lifted them from me. I've said the same thing for months. Jeb finally smartened up. Heh. Heh.

But why quibble?

For what it's worth labeling a liberal Democrat a Maoist mass-murderer is an insult.

Suggesting Sarah Palin is incurious is an opinion supported by virtually every public speech she's given, very 'article' she's 'written' and every 'analysis' she's made on the telly.

For what it's worth I despise the politics of such as Newt Gingrich's or Phyllis Schafly but I wouldn't describe that pair as incurious.

An example (of many). Palin never had a passport until 2006 to prepare for a visit of US troops in Iraq.

And the reason she gave for not travelling is she wasn't one of those 'rich kids' whose parents paid for their travel. She (Palin) had to work and raise kids.

Two problems.

One is her completely mistaken belief travel is merely something the wealthy do with someone else paying. I've travelled extensively on my own dime. My parents certainly didn't shell out. My wife has travelled even more extensively & has lived for periods of time in Bangladesh, India, Mexico, Germany (10 years), Norway, & Spain (2 years) working at jobs and supporting herself.

Secondly whatever reason Palin had for never getting out of the physically huge but in all other ways tiny state of Alaska really doesn't matter. We don't need someone as provincial as she representing the nation. Listen to Dutch or German leaders speaking beautiful English for example. Look at Obama's academic achievements.

Supposedly she's a great Mommy (!!??) but being a hit at the coffee klatch isn't exactly what I look for in the acknowledged leader of the free world.

I expect a little more.

dmarks said...

Arthurstone said: "Suggesting Sarah Palin is incurious is an opinion supported by virtually every public speech she's given..."

Can you back this up? Show that she asks fewer questions than other politicians? Show that she is apathetic or indifferent?

"For what it's worth labeling a liberal Democrat a Maoist mass-murderer is an insult."

I've never done that. However, in the case of Van Jones, I did point out the fact that while Jones did not commit genocide, he was a pro-genocide kook who specifically embraced Mao's philosophy. I recognize a difference between liberal Democrats and Maoists, and attempting to portray Jones as a typical liberal Democrat seems like something that Limbaugh would do.

Arthurstone said...

Jones is a fairly typical liberal Democrat. That's why the President appointed him to his post.

My caucus contains folks who lived in collectives, worked in radical book stores, cut sugar cane in Cuba and did all sorts of things guaranteed to tie 'real' Americans in knots. Many had extremely radical politics at one point and clearly opted into the system. Just like Van Jones. And just like Van Jones they tend to be generous, engaged citizens who have tracked issues for years, are active in their neighborhoods and schools and work for the community.

Which makes them just the opposite of the tea party crowd far too many of whom take pride in their 'finally haven awakened'. Right.

As for Sarah Palin perhaps the time is right for a blog dedicated to the probing mind and wisdom of you know who.

You could start with her 'questions'.


dmarks said...

"Jones is a fairly typical liberal Democrat. That's why the President appointed him to his post."

Typical liberal Democrats are also Maoists?

I'm sorry, I have yet to meet one liberal Democrat who is a Maoist. I'd expect Beck or Limbaugh to carelessly mix the the two up....

I don't know about your bookstore and cane friends, and have no idea if they were ever enough of sickos to endorse Pol Pot, Mao, etc. I tend to assume someone isn't such a whacko unless it comes right out, as it did with Jones.

(I'm in fact having a hard time coming up with any of my "real world" staunchly liberal Democratic friends who had any such David Dukish "youthful flirtation" with such real extremism. The "worst" it seems to get, if you can even call that bad, is one couple who fled to Canada to avoid the draft. Most of them tend to be UAW-type mainstream Democrats).

dmarks said...

And these liberal Democrats, by the way, see a huge difference between Stalinism/etc and liberalism. They don't think it is all part of one happy progressive family.

dmarks said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Arthurstone said...

Jones isn't a Maoist dmarks.

If you can point our where Jones, in his own words, endorses Mao, Pol Pot and genocide then please do so. You'd be the first.

Quotes from Glenn beck and his red-baiting ilk on the blogosphere parsing a manifesto of a group Jones belonged to impresses those pre-disposed to commie conspiracies but that's about it.

dmarks said...

I provided the links several times in the past, just about every time this was discussed. Did you simply ignore it each time?

"Quotes from Glenn beck..."

Now I know you never bothered to read it. I never quoted Beck, but instead went to Wikipedia and deeper into the original sources. And it's not a commie conspiracy when someone comes right out and admits it.

dmarks said...

And by the way, you said

"Jones is a fairly typical liberal Democrat. That's why the President appointed him to his post."

Wow. I thought that only Bush made purely political appointments without regard to actual qualifications. I guess Obama is doing it now, according to your accusation.

Far be it for a President to look at important things when hiring someone, instead of at their party.

Arthurstone said...

Van jones has been described over and again by his political opponents as a Maoist, Marxist-Leninist commie rat bastard etc. etc.

All you need to do is provide a quote from Jones himself where he states his admiration for Pol Pot's and Mao's crimes. Not a description of him by others. If he really were what you suggest it shouldn't be difficult.

Van Jones was certainly qualified to serve in the White House. That's why Princeton hired him for its faculty.

And he's certainly not an actual accessory to murder like Eliot Abrams.

dmarks said...

From Wikipedia: "STORM considered Mao Zedong as their ideological leader"

Van Jones willingly joined STORM. It's quite obvious that when someone joins a political pressure group, from the ACLU to the NRA to STORM, it is because they endorse their policies and ideology.

So, which is it? Did Van Jones join STORM and thus endorse its ideology and its "ideological leader"? Or was he some sort of clueless moron who joined it think it had something to do with the Weather Channel? (If anything counts as incurious, it's someone who joins an ideological group and has no idea what it stands for).

(Also, Wikipedia classifies this particular hate group which Van Jones joined as one of the "communist parties of the united states". Do you think that one of Van Jones "political opponents" wrote this?

The quote in which Jones proclaimed that he was a communist (the left-wing version of a David Duke situation) came from the East Bay Express. Was that written by Beck, who faked the quote?

"Van Jones was certainly qualified to serve in the White House. "

And you yourself earlier said that the qualification that mattered was being a "fairly typical liberal Democrat".

dmarks said...

"And he's certainly not an actual accessory to murder like Eliot Abrams."

I could easily be convinced that Eliot Abrams did not belong in the White House.

However, I will never claim that some conservative with a Nazi past is some sort of hero because of it, as is being done with Jones on his communist past.