Saturday, 11 February 2012

Sarah Palin defending Newt Gingrich - Fox News/Fox Nation - January 29, 2012

When recently asked about how Newt Gingrich, given his 20 years in Congress and role as Speaker of the House, could be portraying himself as a Washington outsider, Sarah Palin responded: 

“Yeah how can he say he is not part of the establishment? Well look at the players in the establishment, who are fighting so hard against him. They want to crucify him because he has tapped into that average everyday American Tea Party grassroots movement that has said ‘enough is enough of the establishment that tries to run the show that tries to tweak rules and law and regulations for their own good and not for our nation’s own good.’ Well when both party machines and many in the media are trying to crucify Newt Gingrich for bucking the tide and bucking the establishment that tells ya something.  I say, ya know, you gotta rage against the machine, at this point in order to defend our Republic and save what is good and secure and prosperous about our nation, we need somebody who is engaged in sudden and relentless reform and isn’t afraid to shake it up. Shake up that establishment.  So, if for no other reason to rage against the machine vote for Newt, annoy a liberal. Vote Newt. Keep this vetting process going, keep the debate going…”*

Of course what one first notices is Palin’s ability to not answer the question put to her – the sign of a true Washington insider if ever there was one.  That aside, the notion that she is ‘raging against the machine’ is just flat-out amusing.  Palin and Gingrich don’t want to eliminate the machine – they merely want to be at the helm when that machine is programmed.  And it is not a question of the machine being re-programmed (or the call for ‘relentless reform’) it simply needs a slightly altered emphasis.   Remind me again exactly how Gingrich is ‘bucking the tide’?  It is easy to say you are going to ‘shake up the establishment’ (talk about co-opting the ancient leftist language) but how exactly this is to be done by a person such as Gingrich is another question entirely. 

In a style that is typical of the contemporary conservative politicians, the aim is to portray both yourself and the person you are defending as victims or oppressed little guys.  Are we are to assume that Newt is an injured party merely because everyone – including Republicans – is picking on him?  How the treatment Gingrich has received is different from any other presidential candidate is unclear (and those of you with long memories will recall that Newt is not above mud-flinging with the best (or worst!) of them).  Still, utilizing the most excessive language available Palin claims that the media and political parties are aiming to “crucify” Newt.  It is nice to see Palin has not lost her ability to be subtle and levelheaded (and religious).

Perhaps most amusing of all is that Palin thinks the prime goal in all this is to annoy liberals.  That sounds like a solid foundation for political policy!  Presumably she is talking about those mythical bogeyman liberals who run both the media and Washington.  According to this view the liberals don’t represent anyone in the United States – yet somehow they remain all-powerful.  Perhaps it is for the best that Palin doesn’t even try to explain how this mysterious magic works.  And while I’m not exactly sure what publications Palin reads, or which television networks she watches, but it seems as if someone needs to tell her that Gingrich is not running for the leadership of the Tea Party.  I can’t help but feel this will be news to her.  

A brief reminder about the grass roots establishment-bucker from yesteryear…

Noam Chomsky, Z, January 1995:

Gingrich represents Cobb County Georgia, which the New York Times – reasonably enough – selected in a recent front-page story to illustrate the rising tide of “conservatism” aimed at ridding us of the “nanny state.”  The headline reads “Conservatism Flowering Among the Malls,” in this wealthy suburb of Atlanta, one of several that “offer – particularly to whites – a sense of prosperity and safety, conservative southern values and a relaxed, friendly way of life.”  It’s a “Norman Rockwell world with fiber optic computers and jet airplanes,” Gingrich comments with pride.  With its “history of inhospitality toward blacks,” Cobb county is scrupulously insulated from any urban infection so that the inhabitants can enjoy the fruits of their ”entrepreneurial values” and market enthusiasms in “the conservative heart of a conservative region,” defended in congress by the leader of the conservative triumph.  

A small footnote: Cobb County receives more federal subsidies than any suburban county in the country, with two exceptions: Arlington Virginia, effectively part of the federal Government, and Brevard County Florida, the home of the Kennedy Space Center.  When we move out of the state system itself, Cobb County is the leading beneficiary of the “nanny state.”  Its largest employer is Lockheed Aeronautical Systems Company, which is designing the F-22 advanced tactical fighter and other military aircraft.  72% of the workforce are in white-collar jobs “in expanding areas of the economy like insurance, electronics and computers, and trade” – all carefully tended by “the nanny state.”  It’s remarkably easy for conservative entrepreneurial values to flourish while one is feeding happily at the public trough.  Meanwhile praises to market miracles reach the heavens, notably where “conservatism, is flowering among the malls.”

* - I’ve corrected a few obvious errors from the transcription on the Fox News website – although the inclusion/interpretation of words such as ‘ya’ and ‘gotta’ is from their webpage.