No one ever expected Sarah Palin to show any modicum of consistency in her Rupert Murdoch-published-and-backed book, America By Heart, but this takes the proverbial cake.
Yesterday, Media Matters noted that the former half-term governor of Alaska spent several pages in her new book taking on 90s television sitcom Murphy Brown -- how timely! Yes, Palin takes the bold step of defending former vice president Dan Quayle's 1992 broadside against of the fictional character for having the temerity to have a child out of wedlock.
What, pray tell, did Palin write about the 2007 film Juno? You remember Juno. It's that movie where a young teenage girl finds herself unexpectedly pregnant and decides to give the child up for adoption only to ultimately hand her new born off to a woman whose marriage has just disintegrated -- i.e. she's single.
Here are Palin's insights about Juno (p. 233-235) -- you'll notice what she fails to address with the same gusto as her condemnation of Murphy Brown:
From the moment she finds out she's pregnant it seems like a foregone conclusion that Juno will, as she says, "nip" her problem "in the bud." And sure enough, she makes an appointment and goes to a clinic. There's an abortion protestor outside whom Juno basically ignores. But just as Juno is about to enter the clinic, the young, sweet protestor says something that seems to affect her. She yells, "Your baby has fingernails!" And Juno pauses. She continues into the clinic, but you can tell she's struggling. Inside, she sees the heavily pierced receptionist texting as she monotones a greeting and asks Juno to fill out a form. "Don't skip the hairy details," the receptionist says, bored. "We need to know about every score and every sore." Then she offers Juno a free condom, boysenberry-flavored. Juno can't take it. She leaves. ''I'm staying pregnant," she tells her friend.
You could argue (as some did) that there wouldn't be much of a story to tell in Juno if she had an abortion in the first fifteen minutes -- certainly nothing very funny. But it strikes me that the reason she rethinks her automatic decision to have an abortion -- hearing that her baby has fingernails -- sends a very understated but powerful message. Despite all the rhetoric designed to make abortion just another "choice" that Juno and her friends grew up with, she ultimately recognizes that there is a living being growing inside her. It is a life she didn't ask for. It is an inconvenient life at the time. But it is a life nonetheless. She just can't bring herself to destroy it once she imagines it as something human, as opposed to an abstract "problem" to be "solved" by a routine medical procedure.
Most Americans, I think, are a lot like Juno. They don't think in ideological or political terms about their religious faith. They may not even be actively religious at all -- but they still want to do the right thing, and they want to see others do the right thing as well. Our culture encourages this by doing something unique and, I think, highly exceptional: it takes fundamentally religious values such as the sanctity of life and secularizes them without surrendering their morality. America has a special ability to take the truths and moral lessons of religion and put them to work in ways that benefit everyone, regardless of their faith.
Yep, you read that correctly. It is as if Palin is saying, "to hell with a woman actively choosing to be a single mother, this is a great opportunity to score points on abortion!"
Talk about demonstrating the strength of one's convictions.
h/t Liberal Oasis
From the November 24 broadcast of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
Loading the player ...
Palin's America By Heart largely breaks down along two themes: Ronald Reagan, freedom, Constitution = good; Barack Obama, "socialism," Hollywood elites = bad. It's not a hard-and-fast rule -- Palin, for example, devotes many, many, many words to praising the films of six-time Academy Award winner Frank Capra; and at one point she brags about accepting federal stimulus dollars for Alaska that "would go to create real private-sector jobs through construction projects and provide needed medical care to the disadvantaged" (this was before she quit as governor).
But, for the most part, Hollywood elites take it on the chin for not being "commonsense constitutional conservatives," including a few you weren't expecting, largely because you haven't thought about them in years.
Case in point: Candice Bergen and Murphy Brown:
Standing up for the family wasn't fashionable then and it is even less fashionable now. Many of us remember one of the early and epic clashes of the American heartland versus Hollywood over the role of the American family.
It was May 1992, and thirty-eight million Americans watched as a fictional television journalist named Murphy Brown, finding herself over forty, divorced, and pregnant, decided to have the child alone. Without the baby's father. On prime-time television. [Page 116]
The nerve! An actress expressing herself in a manner incongruent with the beliefs of a narrow slice of the country? Unacceptable!
Palin spends the next several pages defending then-vice president Dan Quayle for blaming the moral decay of American society on the actions of a fictional unmarried pregnant woman. She also claims that the only way to raise "good citizens" is with one mother and one father, and attacks "the left" for having us "believe that any grouping we choose to call a family is worthy of the name."
I'd point out that the current President of the United States was raised by a single mother, but in her twisted worldview that might actually be seen as reinforcing her point, so instead I'll just thank her for reminding us that there was once a show called Murphy Brown and there was once a vice president named Dan Quayle, and together they cause some controversy once.
In her new book America by Heart, Sarah Palin (egregiously) crops a quote from President Obama about American exceptionalism and then offers the observation that it "reminds me of that great scene in the movie The Incredibles":
Astonishingly, President Obama even said that he believes in American exceptionalism in the same way "the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism." Which is to say, he doesn't believe in American exceptionalism at all. He seems to think it is just a kind of irrational prejudice in favor of our way of life. To me, that is appalling.
His statement reminds me of that great scene in the movie The Incredibles. Dash, the son in the superhero family, who is a super-fast runner, wants to try out for the track team at school. His mom claims it won't be fair. "Dad always said our powers were nothing to be ashamed of. Our powers made us special!" Dash objects. When his mom answers with the politically correct rejoinder "Everyone's special, Dash," Dash mutters, "Which is another way of saying no one is." [Page 69]
Palin's writing is strikingly similar to Jonah Goldberg's November 9 syndicated column -- presumably written after Palin finished her book -- in which he says Obama's quote "reminded me of the wonderful scene in Pixar's 'The Incredibles'":
Last year, when asked if he believed in American exceptionalism, President Obama responded, "I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism."
This reminded me of the wonderful scene in Pixar's "The Incredibles," in which the mom says "everyone's special" and her son replies, "Which is another way of saying no one is."
But at least the president made room for the sentiment that America is a special place, even if he chalked it up to a kind of benign provincialism.
If you think this is just a coincidence -- hey, great minds think alike! -- consider one other piece of information: In her acknowledgements section, Palin offers a "special thanks to the brilliant, independent self-starter who got her start in Alaska, Jessica Gavora. Thank you for your most important work on America by Heart." Gavora is the wife of Jonah Goldberg; Goldberg recently tweeted that his wife "worked with Sarah Palin on her new book."
I contacted Goldberg for comment on the similarities, but have not heard back. I will post his comment if he does reply.
I'm reading Palin's draft stump speech conclusion to her new book, America By Heart, and this passage simply leaps out from the pages [emphasis added]:
A prominent Czech official has called America's current foreign policy "enemy-centric," and I think he's on to something. An enemy-centric foreign policy is one that seems more interested in coddling adversaries (in Washington, they call this "outreach" or "resetting relations") and apologizing than in standing up to enemies and sticking by principles -- among which are friendship and support for our fellow democracies. The current foreign policy is one that values the opinion of European elites more than the freedom of Iranian democrats. [Page 263]
Yep, our foreign policy values the opinion of European elites too much -- just ask this European elite whose opinion I value.
Did you know that Barack Obama and liberals hate America and don't understand why it is the best country ever?
I had never heard such groundbreaking analysis until I cracked open Sarah Palin's new book, but it's true - and Palin can even egregiously crop a comment by Obama to prove it.
In a chapter titled "America the Exceptional," Palin claims that "many of our national leaders no longer believe in American exceptionalism," and instead think that "America is just an ordinary nation and so America should act just like an ordinary nation."
They don't believe we have a special message for the world or a special mission to preserve our greatness for the betterment of not just ourselves but all of humanity. Astonishingly, President Obama even said that he believes in American exceptionalism in the same way "the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism." Which is to say, he doesn't believe in American exceptionalism at all. He seems to think it is just a kind of irrational prejudice in favor of our way of life. To me, that is appalling. [America By Heart, pg 69]
A few pages later, Palin laments Obama's "global apology tour" and yearns for a time when America was led by people that "are not embarrassed by America, who see our country's flaws but also its greatness."
The dishonesty of Palin's assessment of Obama's views on American exceptionalism is really staggering. Let's return to the half-sentence Obama quote she uses to prove that he views American exceptionalism as "just a kind of irrational prejudice in favor of our way of life."
Obama's remark that he believes in American exceptionalism in the same way "the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism" came in response to a question by Ed Luce of the Financial Times in April of 2009 about whether Obama subscribes to American exceptionalism.
While Palin quotes Obama's first sentence, she leaves out the rest of the statement in order to lie about Obama and contrast him with Presidents Reagan and Kennedy.
Earlier this year, Fox News televangelist Glenn Beck spent several months making a mockery of the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.
In the build-up to his 8-28 Restoring Honor rally, Beck repeatedly tried to co-opt King's legacy and portray himself and his followers as the true torchbearers of King and the civil rights movement.
In her new book America by Heart, Sarah Palin continues this shameful tradition by using MLK's words to attack Obama for seeking a "fundamental transformation" of our country. After (approvingly) citing then-candidate Obama's speech on race during the 2008 presidential campaign, Palin writes:
My only wish is that President Obama would follow through on this hopeful view of America. To want a better and brighter future for our country does not mean a rejection of our founding or a "fundamental transformation" of who we are. Instead it means following, in part, the wisdom of the most powerful American voice for civil rights of the twentieth century, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Famously, Dr. King called not for a rejection of America's founding principles, but for America to "rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed." [America by Heart, pg 32]
In a rare moment in which Palin and I agree wholeheartedly, she claims on the next page "it's a shame that not everyone wants to quote Dr. King these days."
Aside from repeatedly quoting King's "I Have a Dream speech" - while removing it from the historical context of the culmination of a march on Washington by civil rights and labor leaders not only to combat racial injustice, but also calling for massive federal intervention in the economy to fight economic injustice - conservatives like Palin and Beck like to ignore the balance of King's writings and speeches.
First of all, Palin spends much of her book railing against big government and spending, joining Beck in decrying people who want "handouts." King, on the other hand, spent much of his life explicitly calling for the government to fight poverty by redistributing our nation's wealth; called for an economic bill of rights guaranteeing a job to all Americans; wanted the government to ensure a "guaranteed national income"; and called for our country to "place the problems of the poor at the seat of government of the wealthiest nation in the history of mankind."
From the November 22 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
Loading the player ...
Much has been said of the fact that News Corp honcho Rupert Murdoch's Fox News currently employs several Republicans eyeing a race for the White House in 2012. Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and John Bolton have all expressed such interest.
As Media Matters noted last week, the GOP shadow primary being waged within Fox News has resulted in at least $40 million in free airtime for those considering a bid, not too mention the paychecks they receive from the network.
But Murdoch is doing a bit more to help at least one employee/would be Republican nominee -- namely, as her publisher, bankrolling the upcoming book tour of a certain former half-term governor that "disproportionately dotes on the primary states."
As Frank Rich wrote in Saturday's New York Times, Murdoch has emerged as Palin's chief backer appearing to take sides in the looming primary despite pointed criticism of Palin from the likes of Fox News contributor and former Bush advisor Karl Rove and others (emphasis added):
Thanks to the in-kind contribution of this "nonpolitical" [TLC reality] series, Palin needn't join standard-issue rivals like Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Haley Barbour and Tim Pawlenty in groveling before donors and primary-state operatives to dutifully check all the boxes of a traditional Republican campaign. Palin not only has TLC in her camp but, better still, Murdoch. Other potential 2012 candidates are also on the Fox News payroll, but Palin is the only one, as Alessandra Stanley wrote in The Times, whose every appearance is "announced with the kind of advance teasing and clip montages that talk shows use to introduce major movie stars." Pity poor Mike Huckabee, relegated to a graveyard time slot, with the ratings to match.
The Fox spotlight is only part of Murdoch's largess. As her publisher, he will foot the bill for the coming "book tour" whose itinerary disproportionately dotes on the primary states of Iowa and South Carolina. The editorial page of Murdoch's Wall Street Journal is also on board, recently praising Palin for her transparently ghost-written critique of the Federal Reserve's use of quantitative easing. "Mrs. Palin is way ahead of her potential presidential competitors on this policy point," The Journal wrote, and "shows a talent for putting a technical subject in language that average Americans can understand."
With Murdoch, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity on her side, Palin hardly needs the grandees of the so-called Republican establishment. They know it and flail at her constantly. Politico reported just before Election Day that unnamed "party elders" were nearly united in wanting to stop her, out of fear that she'd win the nomination and then be crushed by Obama. Their complaints are seconded daily by Bush White House alumni like Karl Rove, Michael Gerson, and Mark McKinnon, who said recently that Palin's "stock is falling and pretty rapidly now" and that "if she's smart, she does not run."
Remember Levi Johnston? He's the father of Sarah Palin's grandchild who, after the 2008 election wrapped up, lobbed inflammatory attacks at the Palin family and posed for Playgirl before (briefly) getting engaged to Bristol Palin and then falling off the map entirely. He's someone that America easily could and probably should forget. The only problem is that Sarah Palin won't let us.
The Associated Press reports today:
Sarah Palin isn't done with Levi Johnston. And she isn't crazy about "American Idol," either.
The former Alaska governor and GOP vice presidential candidate writes in her new book that it was "disgusting" to watch Johnston, the estranged father of her grandson, exploit his sudden fame after she was chosen as U.S. Sen. John McCain's running mate in the 2008 election. She alleges that he was absent when her daughter Bristol Palin gave birth to Tripp and that he disgraced himself by repeatedly criticizing the Palins.
"Of course, we all had to bite our tongues -- more than once -- as Tripp's father went on a media tour through Hollywood and New York, spreading untruths and exaggerated rhetoric," Palin writes. "It was disgusting to watch as his fifteen minutes of fame were exploited by supposed adults taking advantage of a lost kid."
There are a couple of things to point out here. First of all, the title of Palin's forthcoming book is America By Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith, and Flag, and I'd be curious to know where score-settling attacks on the "lost kid" who criticized her fit into that framework.
Secondly, she most certainly did not "bite" her "tongue" while Johnston was out on his publicity tours. After one CBS interview she released a scathing statement on Johnston's "mean spirited, malicious and untrue attacks on our family," and chastised CBS "for continually providing a forum to propagate lies. Consider the source of the most recent attention-getting lies -- those who would sell their body for money reflect a desperate need for attention and are likely to say and do anything for even more attention."
That's well and good, but now, long since he's ceased to have any sort of relevance, Palin is the one paying Levi Johnston the attention she says he doesn't deserve. Why would she do that?