What’d I Miss?

I’ve been at a retreat and haven’t seen the news since Friday morning. I take it the polls say a majority of veep debate viewers who were polled favored Biden. I agree with Bill Curry:

Why then did Palin take a drubbing in the polls? It may have to do with the very personality that brought her to the ball. You may recognize it: it’s Marge Gunderson, from the darkly comic Coen Brothers film “Fargo.”

For her portrayal of the small-town sheriff forever saying “golly” and “you betcha,” Frances McDormand won an Oscar. So should Palin. The resemblance is uncanny. Some reporter should find out if Palin talked that way before the movie came out.

Palin also draws on goofy neighbor characters from old situation comedies. I watched the debate on CNN, which had hooked undecided voters up like hamsters to a machine. As the night wore on it sunk in that her impersonation was really of them and more condescending than any they’d suffered at the hand of Harvard.

Not every Palin cliche is borrowed from show business. She calls herself both “Joe Six Pack” and a “Hockey Mom,” labels spawned by political consultants. The people she patronizes don’t really talk that way. With their homes and retirements threatened, they are less easily amused. That Biden cleaned up may indicate that the crisis bearing down so hard has put us all in a more serious frame of mind.

I don’t know that Palin is impersonating Marge Gunderson (one of the all-time great film characters) as much as she and Frances McDormand are/were evoking a generic woman of the Frozen North. But Marge Gunderson is less of a caricature than Sarah Palin, IMO. Palin’s “by golly” and “you betcha” stuff is just too contrived.

I see also that the McCain-Palin campaign is still trying to scare voters with the alleged Bill Ayers-Obama connection. CNN does a good job explaining that there is no “there” there.

It’s striking to me that the Right continues to flog the Ayers (non)issue, even though they’ve been at it for months and it has gotten them nowhere. I don’t think most people give a bleep about former 1960s radicals, frankly. Especially since Obama himself was born in 1961 and, obviously, was a small child when all this radical-ness was going on.

17 thoughts on “What’d I Miss?

  1. Marge Gunderson is, of course, hardworking, honest, brave, and pretty much entirely admirable. Aside from the fact that they both use some of the same turns of phrase, I don’t see much similarity between her and Sarah Palin.

  2. Looks like Palin is McCain’s “Designated Liar”.

    Now that the Republicans have chosen to avoid discussion of the economy, McCain has Palin reading off her notes to create lies about Obama… like saying he “pals around with terrorists”. That she used a plural is interesting. That she cited a totally disproved case is abominable. That she is being used as a diversion to keep the issues from being discussed is Republican.

    CNN covered this and I have a video at Under The LobsterScope.

  3. The McCain attacks are going to be launced as a salvo with the intent of creating doubt about Obama, and painting McCain-Palin as the comfortable alternative. The other torpedoes to be launched directly or through surrogates are Obama is a Muslim. Expect to see Louis Farrakhan, Rev. Wright, Bill Ayers. Michelles college thesis from 2 decades ago is being branded racist. The hope is that the cummilative effect will persuade the uninformed voter.

    This tactic works if Obama makes either of the following mistakes.

    1) Ignore the rumors. If you don’t answer a false accusation at once, you can suffer the same swiftboat fate as Kerry.

    2) Become distracted or obsessive about the rumors. McCain WANTS Obama to spend all his time answering questions about false rumors. It takes Obama off-message in the final weeks.

    IMHO, Obama’s campaign manager should open EVERY daily press briefing with a SHORT item with the same repeated heading and hope the MSM will pick it up. “The Daily Republican Gutter-Politics False Rumor-of-the-Day.” Whenever possible do NOT have Obama respond directly, but have the Obama campaign bring them this crap light with disgust & ridicule – and then go back on message.

  4. Roger Ebert thought she didn’t sound so much like Marge as she did another Fargo character:

    But who did she resemble more? Marge Gunderson, whose peppy pleasantries masked a remorseless policewoman’s logic? Or Jerry Lundegaard, who knew he didn’t have the car on his lot, but smiled when he said, “M’am, I been cooperatin’ with ya here.” Palin was persuasive. But I felt a brightness that was not always convincing.

    And BTW, Unrepentant Old Hippie shows that Palin’s folksiness is faux folksiness by putting up two videos, one the VP debate and the other the 2006 Alaska Governor’s Debate about same-sex marriage benefits, in which her folksy voice is nowhere to be heard.

  5. Methinks Sarah is in need of another laying on of hands to cast out the witches.

    Where is old Charles Keating these days anyway? You know, the developer who bought John McCain and his wife Cindy. The one who Cindy invested some of Daddy’s hard earned money with. That guy.

  6. Josh Marshall just linked to KeatingEconomics.com. Goes live tomorrow at noon, complete with a 13-minute documentary on McCain’s part in the S&L bailout scandal 20 years ago.

    I had a feeling that once McCain decided to play hardball, Obama would respond in kind. I’ve been wondering for months why he hadn’t played this card yet, and had concluded that he was saving it until the end of the campaign, if the need arose. And here it is. Things are gong to get interesting now.

  7. The key difference between Sarah Palin and Marge Gunderson is that the Gunderson character, like so many decent Americans, is not into lying and manipulation. Palin, however, fits the classic profile of so many ambitious and deceitful Republican leaders. Think of them: Richard Nixon, Oliver North, Lee Atwater, Newt Gingrich, Tom DeLay, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, Paul Wolfowitz, Jack Abramoff, Ralph Reed, Grover Norquist, Pat Robertson, Douglas Feith, Karl Rove, Duke Cunningham, Alberto Gonzales, Scooter Libby and on and on and on.

    Neither Democrats nor Republicans are perfect, but our nation has been going down an increasingly darker road since January 1981. I’m no fan of Reagan, but I am astounded by the scores of Republican leaders who felt Reagan didn’t go far enough. How many now feel that George W. Bush didn’t go far enough?

    We can turn our nation around but only when enough people reject the kind of values that have dug our nation into the deepest hole we have seen in 75 years.

  8. Palin also draws on goofy neighbor characters from old situation comedies.

    Love that. I see no similarities with Marge Gunderson, except maybe that the VP debate inspired me to speak Marge’s line: “Oh, no… I just think I’m gonna barf.”

    Sarah McPal-in’ Around With Secessionists was in my state last evening. The GOP actually fears losing Omaha, Nebraska to Obama! I avoided hearing her remarks, because I already know it consisted of false attacks. Bring it on, unfunny comedic sidekick.

  9. I think Palin’s folksy schtick is about as authentic as George Bush’s Texas drawl. Both are weapons or personas, to be used as needed.

    In the debate she tried to use it to turn a disadvantage – her utter inexperience – to an advantage. But she did it in such an over the top, earnestly ambitious way that was off putting to at least me.

  10. The link at #11 posted by the Original Maverick is a must read!

    Although it’s nothing new for most informed people, it is a nice compilation of facts that shows just how self serving and deceitful Mr.Country First really is. One item that was left out of the article was McNasty’s recent involvement in facilitating an extremely lucrative land swap for one of his high rolling donor buddies. The crux of it was that it was an equal swap in so far as acre for acre —federal land for private land — But the market value per acre had a disparity in McNasty’s buddy’s favor of over a thousand times per acre. Worthless desert for prime government real estate swindled from the American people under the guise of just serving a constituent. The same game NcNasty played in just helping Charles Keating.

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