September 12, 2008

Palin the typical American

Here's an explanation of why Sarah Palin is so popular: because she embodies the greed and ignorance of many Americans.

Sarah Palin, HypocriteWhat interests me today about Palin's speech, however, isn't its predictable reception. Rather, it's the cognitive dissonance of the following passage:

[W]hen the cloud of rhetoric has passed; when the roar of the crowd fades away; when the stadium lights go out, and those styrofoam Greek columns are hauled back to some studio lot—what exactly is our opponent's plan? What does he actually seek to accomplish, after he's done turning back the waters and healing the planet? The answer is to make government bigger—take more of your money—give you more orders from Washington …
The woman who made this complaint about big government taking your money is the governor of Alaska. Please take a moment to look at this U.S. Census chart showing federal-government expenditures, per capita, in the 50 states. You will observe that Alaska receives about $14,000 per citizen from the federal government. That's more than any other state, and a good $4,000 more than every other state except Virginia, Maryland, New Mexico, and North Dakota. The chart is from the Census Bureau's Consolidated Federal Funds Report for Fiscal Year 2005. I skipped over the 2006 report, the most recent one available, because Hurricane Katrina put Louisiana and Mississippi ahead of Alaska that year. But that's an anomaly. Alaska held the per-capita record for sucking on the federal teat in 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, and 2000. According to the nonprofit Tax Foundation, Alaska gets back $1.84 for every dollar it pays into the U.S. Treasury—even though Alaska enjoys a higher per-capita income than 34 of the 50 states. This is a state that preaches right-wing libertarianism while it practices middle-class socialism.

Palin has not bucked this venerable tradition. It's been widely reported that even though Palin came out against the federally funded, $223 million "bridge to nowhere," a wasteful Alaska earmark (and one she'd supported before it created an uproar in Congress), Alaska ended up receiving the same amount of federal money as transportation funds to be spent at the state's own discretion. When Palin was mayor of Wasilla, she hired the former chief of staff to Sen. Ted Stevens, the recently indicted dean of the Alaska congressional delegation, to lobby for the town (pop. 6,700)—which, as a result, wound up receiving nearly $27 million in federal earmarks over four years. As governor, Palin just this past February sent Stevens a memo outlining $200 million in new funding requests. Granted, Palin enjoys inexplicably warm relations with the secessionist Alaska Independence Party, whose founder's anti-Americanism, Rosa Brooks points out in the Los Angeles Times, puts Rev. Jeremiah Wright in the shade. ("The fires of hell are frozen glaciers compared to my hatred for the American government," he told an interviewer in 1991—a year when Republicans controlled the White House and U.S. troops went into battle to free Kuwait from Iraqi occupation.) But there's little real danger that Alaska would ever choose to secede from the Lower 48. Independence would cost it too much in lost federal revenue.

A pit bull with lipstick? I'd describe Palin as a hog who recommends diet books while feeding at the trough.
Comment:  How is this posting relevant to this blog? Well, we've always cherished our Myth of American Self-Reliance. We think of ourselves as rugged individualists, lone gunslingers, John Wayne. We're tough enough to tame a continent without anybody's help.

This is why we keep electing cowboy presidents (Reagan, Bush, McCain?) despite their obvious lack of policy acumen. This is why we invaded two separate countries to "get even" with the 19 terrorists who attacked us on 9/11. And this is why we killed, robbed, or removed the Indians who got in our way.

In all these cases, the facts are much different than the myth. In reality, we're a bunch of self-centered crybabies who whine when we don't get our "due." Look at the Republicans wail when reporters dare to question Palin on her lies, corruption, and fiscal flip-flops.

Palin is so typically American in so many ways. She trumpets conservative values while her teenager has premarital sex and gets pregnant. She pretends she hates the US government and wants to abandon it while wallowing in its dough. She "appreciates" Alaskan Natives while ignoring their rights and cutting their services.

I'm not surprised she's popular with conservatives, since she embodies their hypocritical contradictions. Nor am I surprised that McCain nominated her. The only question is whether Americans want another four years of wars, recessions, and the elimination of constitutional rights.

Below:  Palin looks to God or somebody for her next handout. Behind her, I think, is the mushroom cloud that would appear if she launches a war against Russia, as she said she might.


Anonymous said...

What a bunch of liberal BS.

Anonymous said...

No its not, this is true. its true for all "aliens" in this country. Asians, African Americans, Native Americans... THey are all targeted by racism while our polititians (who, by the way, should care a little bit) do absolutely nothing. nada. zip. zero. whatever language, its still the same. Oh, they SAY theyll end racism and gang violence and all that jazz, but in the end, it turns out to be just a bribe for votes. THATS what I call BS.