This is priceless.
At the WashPost blog dubbed "Politics and Policy" [emphasis added], here are Ann Gerhart's observations about Sarah Palin's Tea Party convention last night:
1) She's lost a lot of weight, perhaps 15 pounds. She looked trim and firm, like she's hoisting the barbells or maybe chopping wood. Her chair at the head table was empty; if she had the shrimp and filet mignon served to attendees, she ate in her hotel room.
2) She wore a fitted black suit, black hose and high black platform heels. She had on three opera-length strands of pearls, two white and one multi-colored. In her lapel, a small pin with two flags -- for Israel and the United States.
3) She was animated and full of energy, so much so that she kept knocking her microphone with her hand as she made her points. Hope the Texans are ready for her when she campaigns Sunday for Gov. Rick Perry. She certainly looks like a woman who has some plans.
Question: Has the newspaper ever made those kind of observations about a male politician giving a keynote address?
During an interview that aired on Fox News Sunday today, former vice presidential candidate-turned-Fox News contributor Sarah Palin took another swipe at President Obama for using a teleprompter to make speeches. She told host Chris Wallace that she doesn't want to be the de-facto leader of the Tea Party because, "It's much bigger than any charismatic guy with a teleprompter. It is the people's movement. It's about the people and I'm proud to be a part of this."
Perhaps the Tea Party movement isn't bigger than a charismatic woman who has crib notes apparently scribbled on her hand when she is giving speeches.
A Huffington Post blogger seems to have caught Palin with the words "energy," "tax cuts," and "lift American spirits" written on her hand during her keynote speech yesterday at the Tea Party Convention. (Oliver Willis -- who works for Media Matters -- and Think Progress also caught Palin apparently reading off her hand during a later Q & A.) Palin also said during the speech -- without a hint of irony -- that the Tea Party movement is "a lot bigger than any charismatic guy with a teleprompter." Palin appeared to be reading her speech from an apparently far-more-appropriate paper copy.
Of course, we'd be remiss if we didn't point out that there are numerous photos of Palin using teleprompters to give speeches while on the campaign trail. For example, here's a photo posted last year by Florida TV station CFNews 13 of a November 1, 2008, Palin rally in Ocala, Florida:
And here's another of Palin in Missouri a few days later, courtesy CNN:
And a third of her in Ohio the same day, posted by The Plain Dealer:
Time to retire this talking point?
Sarah Palin's interview this morning on Fox News Sunday again exposed the central problem Fox News has in maintaining a stable of once and potentially future Republican candidates, officeholders, and strategists: how can you expect honest analysis from contributors who have the ulterior motive of trying to maintain their own political viability?
Asked who the frontrunner is for the GOP nomination, Palin replied, "I have no idea." After Wallace told her that such a response indicates that she's "not a very good analyst," Palin added, "Fire me then, Roger [Ailes]. Sorry, I already failed." And yes, she did, but so did Ailes in hiring her.
How exactly is Palin supposed to respond to that question? Everyone and their dog knew when Palin was hired that by Fox that she was considering a presidential run. So Palin has two options: She can talk up someone who may be a potential opponent, or she can talk down those potential opponents and boost her own stock. Fox News has created a situation in which it is impossible to determine whether their contributors are actually trying to provide strong analysis of the political landscape, or whether they are trying to help themselves.
And it's not like Palin is unique in this respect. Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and Mike Huckabee are all Fox News contributors or hosts who are considering a run for president in 2012. Former Bush administration officials Karl Rove and Dana Perino appear regularly on the network to burnish their old boss' - and thus their own - legacy. Dick Morris uses his Fox News appearances to fundraise for political organizations with which he is affiliated.
Minutes after Palin's speech at the National Tea Party Convention last night, poor Mike Huckabee was asked to comment on how she "electrified" the crowd there:
You can almost see the gears turning in his head as he tries to figure out how best to respond. Trash Palin and risk the ire of her supporters? Praise her and risk the clip ending up in a future Palin 2012 primary campaign ad? The Fox News Shadow Primary is shaping up to be an awkward one; the networks' viewers will surely not benefit from such a sideshow.
Lots of chatter about a Washington Independent article in which David Weigel, reporting from the Tea Party convention, captured Andrew Breitbart and RW birther nut Joseph Farah having a heated exchange about the whole birther crusade.
Breirtbart castigated Farah's obsession as being "self-indulgent", "narcissistic," and being "a losing issue" for Republicans at the ballot box. And oh yeah, Farah couldn't prove his case, so Breitbart said he ought to just drop it already.
That's all very interesting and some are pointing to Breitbart as a right-wing voice of reason, which is always a big mistake. Why? Becuase Breitbart site, Big Hollywood*, last year gladly published birther nuts who used Breirtbart's platform to push the hate.
Behold Breitbart's birther past, via Big Hollywood:
On September 10, Burt Prelutsky criticized the "hypocrisy of liberals" in not expressing any "concern over Obama's refusal to offer up" his birth certificate:
On August 22, Chele Stanton claimed that the media are giving Obama a "free pass" on issues such as Obama saying "he was born in Hawaii -- Yet his own Grandmother says he was born in Kenya and she was there at his birth" and that Obama "[w]on't release his school records, medical records, or birth certificate -- no explanation." Stanton concluded: "Obama promised transparency, but all I've seen is secrecy. If there is nothing to hide... then why are those records still being hidden? Concerned Americans want to know and deserve to know... the truth."
On August 11, Jeremy D. Boreing wrote a post headlined, "In Defense of the Birthers." Boreing claimed he is "not a Birther" but wrote that the treatment of birthers is "completely unfair" because they are raising "perfectly legitimate questions." Boreing added that Obama "plainly is not one of us":
Carl Kozlowski wrote on July 30 that "the more I read about [Obama], the more questions I had. I also had always held respect for John McCain and his incredible sacrifices for the nation, so by the time fall rolled around, I was campaigning for the war hero and speaking out against the man who couldn't even produce a normal birth certificate to prove he belonged in the White House."
Joseph C. Phillips wrote on April 13 that "[t]here are a vast number of Americans that are not even aware that there are ambiguities surrounding the president's birth certificate or that those questions remain unanswered. The issue is not one promulgated by the opposition party, nor is it one entertained by any mainstream conservative or Republican writers."
Prelutsky claimed on April 15 that "our president went to Europe recently and, doing his rather uncanny impression of Michael Moore, apologized for American arrogance. Naturally, his own arrogant words were greeted with great applause from a pack of jackals who would have been under the boot of Hitler or Stalin, except for America's hatred of tyranny, its unrivaled display of courage and fortitude, and its sacrifice of treasure and blood. It is at such times that one can easily understand why the question about Obama's citizenship continues to plague so many people."
To recap, Breitbart now says the birther stuff is "self-indulgent" and wrong. But not that long ago his site published all kinds of birther nonsense, including a column called "In Defense of the Birthers."
*Changed. I originally suggested the birther nonsense appeared on Breitibart's Big Government site. Instead, it appeared on Breitbart's Big Hollywood site.
From a February 6 Politico article:
A Fox spokesperson rejected the suggestion that the network promoted the tea party movement, and differentiated the network's news coverage from the treatment given the movement by some of the network's opinion commentators, who have actively encouraged participation in protests.
Media Matters' archive of Fox News and the tea parties.
As Gawker notes:
Fox News has generously placed the full, unedited conversation between Bill O'Reilly and Jon Stewart online, so we can see precisely how unfairly and deviously Fox edited the interview in order to weaken Stewart's case: A lot!
You be the judge. Watch the entire video below and be sure to check out the post from Gawker in its entirety.
Boy, they don't make NYT, A1, above-the-fold pieces like they used to. Today, the Times sets aside that prime real estate to ponder the fact that (I kid you not) Sarah Palin is "becoming increasingly vocal and visible"! And that, Sarah Palin posts stuff on Facebook! And that, people say Sarah Palin might run for president some day!
Ground-breaking stuff, I know. But just how thin was the piece? Look at this `graph, which details how Palin talks with her advisors about current events:
People with knowledge of the daily briefings say they are conducted by phone or e-mail. They typically include information on the day's news, material that could be relevant to an upcoming speech, or guidance about a candidate Ms. Palin might endorse.
Fascinating stuff, indeed. (Love the hush-hush, "people with knowledge" tone used to describe utterly mundane events.)
And oh by the way, the Times article does not include a single sentence regarding Palin's continued polling woes, which indicate that even a majority of Republicans don't want her to run for president.
I'm getting the feeling that if Tea Party conventioneers told the Times' Kate Zernike that the earth was flat she'd run with it.
As noted earlier, she referenced Tea Party organizers who claimed "millions" had marched at Tea Party protests within the last year; a figure that appers to be fabricated.
Now in a follow-up piece, Zernike writes [emphasis added]:
Susan and Gil Harper from Cushing, Me. — she a lawyer who telecommutes to New York, he a furniture maker — said they had limited their political involvement to voting. But Mr. Harper said the bank bailout outraged them, and pushed him to his first Tea Party rally.
By Christmas, he told his wife that what he wanted was a ticket to the Tea Party Convention. When she gave it to him, she said she would go along, but only incognito, wearing a hat and sunglasses.
"Because of Nancy Pelosi calling people who believe in the Tea Party movement Nazis," she explained. "My grandfather's family, as Polish Jews, escaped Nazism. To call us Nazis is an abomination."
Fact: Nancy Pelosi never called Tea Party supporters "Nazis." Period. But the Times quotes a conservative making that slanderous claim. The Times treats the outlandish allegation as fact.
This was Andrew Breitbart's message to journalists at the Tea Party convention last night [emphasis added]:
"It's not your business model that sucks, it's you that sucks."
Breitbart thinks you suck. He thinks you're corrupt, lazy losers who are purposefully ruining this country and have "contempt for the American people." So yeah, by all means, keep publishing cushy profiles of Breitbart, because that's working out just great for your guys.