Treating different things differently

>> Saturday, January 10, 2009

Browsing Salon, I see one of their bloggers is discussing some comments that Governor Sarah Palin has recently made about media treatment of Caroline Kennedy:

I’ve been interested to see how Caroline Kennedy will be handled and if she will be handled with kid gloves or if she will be under such a microscope. It’s going to be interesting to see how that plays out and I think that as we watch that we will perhaps be able to prove that there is a class issue here also that was such a factor in the scrutiny of my candidacy versus, say, the scrutiny of what her candidacy may be.

Salon's Tracy Clark-Flory seems to sit on a fence about this: she sort of reluctantly agrees with Governor Palin but isn't quite willing to go all the way with her.

Is it just me, or is this whole thing apples and oranges? I don't feel strongly one way or another about Caroline Kennedy: she seems like a somewhat under-accomplished representative of the Kennedy clan, and maybe you're sick of the Kennedys as a political dynasty or still love 'em or fall somewhere in the middle. She doesn't have the experience Teddy Kennedy has after decades in the Senate1, but she doesn't seem to have the increasingly-derranged wackiness of RFK Jr., either. But she's also not a possibly appointee for one of my state's Senatorial seats, much less a candidate for a national office who would be one old man's heartbeat from the Presidency of the United States--if Caroline Kennedy really is a lightweight (and I'm not sure I care enough right now to find out, frankly), she's New York's lightweight.

And, actually, I feel much the same about Governor Palin. Alaskans are presumably capable of electing whomever they want to their highest executive position: if Alaskans want to amend their state constitution to allow them to appoint a horse to succeed Governor Palin (as Caligula allegedly appointed his horse, Incitatus, as a Consul), well, okay. That's weird and funny, let the rest of us in the other forty-nine states know how that works out. It's only when Governor Palin became a possible Vice-President Palin or a possible President Palin that her abilities (or lack thereof) became a national concern. It doesn't have anything to do with class, or even with media bias or liberal bias, even. You look at somebody who's going to act as fifty percent of a State's national representation for the purposes of casting one percent of a legislative body's total vote just a little bit differently from the way you look at somebody who could conceivably be in charge of, for instance, the nation's nuclear arsenal.

This might be a little parochial and narrow-minded on my part, I'll admit: after all, Senator Jesse Helms, regularly re-elected in my own home state for years and years to serve that fifty percent/one percent function, did all sorts of national and maybe even international damage from his perch as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. So maybe, actually, I should be all kinds of concerned about Caroline Kennedy's ability and achievements, since her appointment to the Senate could be followed by her everntually being re-elected by New Yorkers and ultimately casting decisive committee votes or even chairing some critical committee or sub-committee. Still, I don't know. Okay, so the Vice-President's duties are fairly narrow (succeeding an incapacitated President, breaking ties in the Senate, overseeing NASA, protecting the entire space-time continuum)--still, that first one, the succession, that's a pretty big doozy, don't'cha think?

I have to conclude, really, that Governor Palin is talking out of her ass when she says things like "...we will perhaps be able to prove that there is a class issue here also that was such a factor in the scrutiny of my candidacy...," and the real question is whether she's talking out of her ass deliberately, trying to drum up the base by inciting a little bit of us-and-them-ism, or if she really just doesn't get it and fails to understand that the reason her candidacy might have provoked greater scrutiny than Ms. Kennedy's is that a bid for the Vice-Presidency merits greater scrutiny.

1I'd readily say the same of Republican Arlen Specter, who seems to be an alright guy even when I disagree with him (and sometimes I haven't disagreed with him at all), or if you want somebody further right, former Congressman Newt Gingrich, who I loathe but would readily concede was an effective politician who, for better or worse, left his mark in Washington and seems to have met his constituents' expectations.


rbird Saturday, January 10, 2009 at 11:48:00 AM EST  

Is that horse getting into office by its own free will? I'm calling PETA.

Jim Wright Monday, January 12, 2009 at 12:35:00 PM EST  

Well, see, Eric - The current Palin, is not the Palin we elected, or the Palin I wrote about.

The current Palin is an ignorant neocon jackass who's spending far to much time campaigning for 2012 by pandering to the lowest far-right element of the Republican party - and spending Alaskan's money to do it. She seems to have forgotten that she already has a job, a job we're paying her to do and which she can't seem to find enough time in state to take care of.

Her approval rating has taken a significant nosedive here in Alaska since the election. I doubt she'll get reelected. She can go back to gutting fish for all I care.

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