January 11, 2011
Sarah Palin is not responsible for the shooting in Arizona. However, she is responsible for bad taste by targeting Giffords in that poster. Whether she could have been considered guilty of bad taste at the time of the posting is a different story. But in retrospect, it can be seen as in bad taste. And I guess that’s too bad for her. Her misunderstanding of how politics works and her own inability to assess risk in her political actions is her own fault. Had last week’s shooting not happened she might have gotten away with her tasteless posting. It is, in fact, somewhat rare for a politician to be assassinated in the U.S. She may have weighed the risk and decided it was worth using violent imagery to gain the necessary House seats for her cause, which, from what I can tell, is self-aggrandizement. She gains power by looking like a kingmaker but has no official gain in power if Giffords and the other targeted members lost.
But now she looks like a tasteless, terrible person and that was the risk that she took. It is not her fault that Giffords was murdered, but it is also not anyone else’s fault for thinking that what Palin did in the past looks horrible now. Hindsight is 20/20 but emotional reaction is much blurrier.
She really has no recourse now but to fight the accusations that she somehow contributed to the assassination attempt. However, she will forever be associated with the event in a bad way. Is it fair? Yes, it is. She should have assessed the risks of using violent imagery and she may have. Other politicians choose not to use such imagery and politically that looks very wise right now. But Palin may have influenced some extra people to vote against other members of congress on that map and those votes cannot be retroactively changed. This may be an example of winning the battle and losing the war but that’s how things work in politics.
Sometimes it works the other way. Richard Nixon might have been elected in 1968 because some crazy person killed Robert Kennedy. Had Nixon made some tasteless remark about Kennedy before the assassination, he might have lost through no fault of his own.
The facts are that Palin targeted Giffords with a crosshair symbol and Giffords was subsequently shot. It may be unfair to blame her for the shooting, but it’s also unfair to blame people for associating her with the shooting.
October 15, 2010
Continetti wrote a book called The Persecution of Sarah Palin, which I have no interest in reading, but I assume that its thesis is that Sarah Palin was persecuted by the media and that said persecution hurt her credibility unfairly. Read the rest of this entry »
October 9, 2010
Let’s face it, Apple lovers can no longer claim Apple is the benevolent alternative to the evil empire in Microsoft. The people who build iPhones and iPads continue to be abused and exploited in China and now they seem to have evil plans to kill the greatest app I use regularly–Spotify. If Apple can create a program that is better than iTunes then that’s one thing. But Spotify is so much better than iTunes it’s hard to believe. For instance, Spotify responds to the play pause forward and backward keys on my MacBook faster than iTunes does and iTunes is an Apple program! The search function is extremely quick unlike iTunes. I don’t have to download another version of Spotify every month like I have to do with iTunes. And so on. If iTunes can replicate those great features then fine. But it’s not real capitalism for it to just muscle a better product out of its competition just so it can suck. It’s become Microsoft.
It’s not unlike those promising liberators in certain African countries who, once they get into power, end up being just as bad as they guys they replace.
October 6, 2010
That’s the lesson to learn from Mitt Romney, who Jonathan Chait notices was endorsed by the National Review until the Democrats decided he made good policy ideas. Once Obama, Reid, and Pelosi adopted Romney’s health care plan, it was considered anathema and pretty much killed Romney’s chances of winning the Republican primary in 2012. Maybe that’s why the Republicans seem to be bereft of ideas. If they somehow persuade the Democrats to adopt them, they will be dirty. Or something.
September 19, 2010
More on Glenn Beck as false prophet in the evangelical movement.
Money quote: Read the rest of this entry »
September 9, 2010
Terry Jones has a tiny church in Florida. If he offends people in his church, they can leave and no one will care or listen to them. He has a much greater chance of increasing his membership by generating major controversy through hating on a religion most Americans don’t care for in the first place. In a world where publicity counts more than integrity, Jones is doing the smart thing.
When I noticed everyone commenting on this story, it reminded me of the gum company that bought a piece of used gum by Luis Gonzalez on EBay for $10,000. Why would anyone spend that much on something worth so little? Because it was so outrageous and no one had ever done it before so it got a lot of publicity for a company. This article, on the subject, suggests that the $10,000 spent on the worthless gum was worth $500,000 in advertising because of the free publicity that went along with it. How is this any different than what Jones is doing this weekend? He will be forever famous because of this stunt. He will get an infinite number of hits on his website and if he writes a book, he will be able to sell it to more people. It’s a win-win situation, really.
There will be copycats, as well, won’t there? But they can’t do the same thing or no one will care.
September 3, 2010
There is apparently, a bit of concern among conservative evangelicals over Glenn Beck and his theology. This is no surprise. The only surprise to me is that it isn’t a bigger deal, though it may become one. Beck is opening himself up to a dangerous place. It’s almost as if he doesn’t realise how serious a threat Mormonism is taken to be among otherwise likeminded Christians.
I had the opportunity to ask a conservative protestant minister from Utah about the spirituality of Beck and his rally recently and the response was what I would have expected before getting a little confused by the underreported nature of the religiosity of it. That is, I got a very long rant about the craziness of Mormonism and its insidious evangelistic techniques. The pastor and his wife, who seem otherwise disposed to the conservative republican agenda and especially the low tax Tea Party talk (we had had a conversation about the “evils of Obamacare” and the tax code in Britain earlier) were not happy about Mormons using Scripture and the patois of evangelical Christianity in order to promote their own particular theology. Consider this tweet by Reihan Salaam:
Who else thinks Beck is more of a tent revivalist than a political pitchman, and that his ultimate goal is to win souls for the LDS Church?4:28 PM Aug 29th via Twitterrific
This will likely not end well for Beck. Or perhaps he is so savvy that he will know to change gears before it blows up in his face and people’s ministers start preaching against him from the pulpit. It might not make a dent in the size of his audience, but who knows.
Ironically, you know who might come to his defence in the end? Jim Wallis, who writes in an open letter to Beck:
I’ve been asked by people in the media if it matters that you are a Mormon. I unequivocally answer, no, it does not. We don’t want more anti-Mormon bigotry any more than we want the anti-Muslim bigotry now rising up across the country.
One interesting side note: In the conversation I had with the pastor from Utah, I asked him about Mitt Romney and if Glenn Beck might be making Romney more acceptable to conservative evangelicals. He said that he didn’t think that Romney would be a bad president and that him being a Mormon wouldn’t affect it either, but he sounded awfully guarded when discussing whether he would vote for him or not. “I suppose if he were running against a far left Democrat I would still vote for him.” Wow, there was nothing this guy said that suggested he would consider voting for any Democrat, but maybe Romney would do it. On the other hand, he certainly talked about Obama as if he were a far left Democrat, so maybe I’m being generous. No far left Democrat would ever have thought of Obama as one of them. He is merely a gateway for a far left agenda. Much like Beck is for Mormonism.
August 31, 2010
I was starting to really wonder what the hell happened to American evangelicalism since I left the States in the 90s. When I was growing up in Texas, Mormonism was considered a cult and heresy and yet this Glenn Beck thing in Washington had been reported as if it were a religious event rather than a political one. I still don’t understand why this isn’t a bigger deal. I blogged about it previously.
But some have started to pick up on this weird phenomenon. I predict some prominent evangelical with brass balls and no sense of tact to declare Beck the antichrist before the year is up.
August 1, 2010
Much of the criticism of Ron Ramsey has been about him calling Islam a “cult or whatever you want to call it.” But I also thought it interesting that he suggested it might be a nationality. Reason being that Christianity is a nationality depending on how one defines nationality. Jesus didn’t preach tolerance or accepting him as your personal lord and savior. He preached the Kingdom of God. It is at hand, he says. I don’t think Christians take this seriously enough. If one should read the bible literally or believe in its inerrancy as many do, one has to contend with what it means to participate or become a citizen of the Kingdom of God. Read the rest of this entry »
July 29, 2010
I don’t know how he does it, but I think if somehow Obama got Joe Biden to change positions in his administration, picking Elizabeth Warren for Vice President would seem like a great idea. She is likeable, smart, comes from humble roots in Oklahoma. She was educated at state schools and moved her way up to Harvard. She taught sunday school. She’s not a career politician and people seem to trust her.
I also think it would totally undermine the Republican opponent, whoever he or she is. Any hint of sexism from the Democrats against a Sarah Palin would be countered by charges of sexism from the Republicans. There would be downsides, of course, not the least of which that it would look like political opportunism.
Also, I don’t know why she would want to do it and I don’t know how Biden leaves the position for another position without ruffling other feathers. For instance, Biden would seem to be best suited for Secretary of State, since his expertise seems to be foreign policy. But that position is being filled rather well by Hillary Clinton. Of course, secretaries of state often don’t remain so for 8 years (one term seems pretty standard), but it would be silly and stupid to ask Clinton to step down if she doesn’t want to.
Still, the more Elizabeth Warren in government the better.