Sarah Palin

Yeah, okay, I’ll write about her. But really only because I want to quote Ta-Nehisi Coates: I would never put gun-sights on the districts of my political opponents. Should violence break out, I don’t even want to be in the conversation as a factor--contributing or causal. We may never know what caused Loughner to snap. But at night, I’d like the security of knowing that it could not have possibly been me. Perhaps Sarah Palin has that sense of security. I can’t know. It’s always tough to try to get into the heads of our politicians.

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Does anybody truly believe, even in the wake of something as hideous as what happened in Tucson last weekend, that we can do something as quixotic and indefinable as policing incendiary language on the web? I get it if calling for this is about politics. But is anybody really thinking that this debate is about something real? The object of discussion is real enough: the coarser brand of language we hear along the lines of Ms. Palin’s “Don’t retreat, reload” line, which is a symptom of a larger ill, the escalation of political polarization.

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Conservatives are furious that the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords is being pinned on them. Their indignation is justified. The mania of Giffords's would-be assassin may be slightly more right-wing than left-wing, but, on the whole, it is largely disconnected from even loosely organized extreme right-wing politics. The rhetorical attempts to connect Jared Loughner to mainstream politics take two forms, neither convincing. One is to condemn the use of combat metaphors in politics, such as Sarah Palin's web page superimposing gunsights upon Democratic districts targeted by the GOP.

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Perhaps the stupidest and least surprising comment about the shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson came from New York Times columnist Matt Bai. Bai, the author of an interesting book about Democratic politics, analyzed the political environment—the universe of discourse that framed the alleged attempt at assassination by Arizonan Jared Lee Loughner. Here is what he wrote: Within minutes of the first reports Saturday that Representative Gabrielle Giffords, an Arizona Democrat, and a score of people with her had been shot in Tucson, pages began disappearing from the Web.

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In Her Own Words

WASHINGTON—There is one commentator whose words should enlighten us on the meaning of Saturday's shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the savage murders that took the lives of, among others, a federal judge and a 9-year-old girl.

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National Journal has a new poll of Republican insiders over who is likely to be nominated for president: Republican insiders are screwy! I keep saying this: Mitt Romney has a serious flip-flopper problem and a far more serious not-insane-on-health-care problem. He can't solve the latter without worsening the former. It's over. What's really odd is that Sarah Palin is up three points. Her polling numbers against Obama have cratered and the whole establishment, even former defenders, is ganging up on her. And what did Pawlenty do to crater? Nothing I can think of.

There’s just so much to get to in Matt Bai’s latest, in today’s NYT, on the 2012 presidential contest. First of all, Bai swallows whole the myth of “next in line” in GOP nominations contests. Next, I don’t really understand what he’s trying to say in his glance at history. Yes, Ford/Reagan in 1976 was the last contest that was a “thriller” in the sense of not being decided until the end (actually, the only one like that on the GOP side under the modern nomination system).

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A Gallup poll finds that the only contemporary Republican political leader who makes the Republicans' list of "most admired people" is Sarah Palin (who is cited as "most admired woman" by 26% of Republicans -- no other current politician cracks 3% among Republicans.) Ezra Klein notes: The closest thing the GOP has to a Dole or a Gingrich is Sarah Palin, whose interests and messages frequently diverge from those of the Republican Party and who polls very poorly among the broader populace. Perhaps the idea that you need a leader to deliver your message is outdated in an age when Fox News and o

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Now that the midterm elections are over and voices of the Tea Party will soon be established in Congress, the movement’s views on foreign policy will come under closer scrutiny, and the results may prove surprising, not least to the Tea Partiers themselves. Those views are far from Republican orthodoxy. On some issues, the Tea Partiers will predictably line up with the Republican leadership, but on others they may find they have more in common with Democrats. They may even provide Barack Obama with unexpected support.

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Joe Scarborough implores Republicans to denounce Sarah Palin: Republicans have a problem. The most-talked-about figure in the GOP is a reality show star who cannot be elected. And yet the same leaders who fret that Sarah Palin could devastate their party in 2012 are too scared to say in public what they all complain about in private. Enough. It’s time for the GOP to man up. In fact, many Republicans are castigating Palin in public.

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