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Don’t misunderestimate her

Oh, you betcha!

Mark Halperin gets it:

FROM: Mark Halperin

TO: Coastal Elites, the Media and Establishment Politicians of Both Parties

RE: Sarah Heath Palin

Don’t underestimate Sarah Palin. Yes, she is hyper-polarizing: she sends her fans into rapture and drives her detractors stark raving mad. But she can dominate the news cycle with a single tweet and generate three days of coverage with a single speech (as she did this past Friday in Iowa). Her name recognition is universal.


But the mistake you are making is to assume that Palin needs or wants to play by the standard rules of American politics. Or that it even occurs to her to do so. Trash her all you want (even you Republicans who are doing it all the time behind her back) for being uninformed, demagogic and incoherent, and brandish the poll numbers that show fewer and fewer Americans think she is qualified to be President. Strain to apply political and practical norms to Alaska’s former governor. You are missing the point.


But ask yourself why Palin was in Iowa this of all weekends. Remember that she herself negotiated the date for the Iowa Republican Party’s annual Ronald Reagan dinner. This allowed her to conveniently skip the Values Voter Summit simultaneously going on in Washington, where most of the other potential 2012 Republican candidates appeared. By choosing Iowa over Washington, Palin avoided having to compete head to head with her would-be rivals and dodged the event’s concluding straw poll. Meanwhile, Palin got more weekend coverage than all the other prospects combined. Not everything she has done thus far has been obviously calculated, but her choices overall have been too savvy to be coincidence or luck.

The past 22 months have been replete with situations in which Palin has refused to adhere to the conventional playbook of presidential contenders and party honchos.


Palin is operating on a different plane, hovering higher than a mere celebrity, more buoyant than an average politician.


She is like Obama: the camera loves her and both sides of the political spectrum hang on her every word. She is like Bush: able to communicate with religious conservatives and Middle Americans. Most of all, she is like Bill Clinton: what doesn’t kill Sarah Palin makes her stronger. So as the world gets ready for the midterm elections and for the start of the epic contest in which Republicans will pick their champion to go into battle against Barack Obama, be advised: Palin is very much alive and, despite what you think, extraordinarily strong.

Yep. Love her or hate her, just don’t misunderestimate her. While the rest of the GOP hopefuls are kissing ass and begging for money, she’s kicking ass and taking names.

The Wall Street Journal:

A new comprehensive national survey shows that independent voters—who voted for Barack Obama by a 52%-to-44% margin in the 2008 presidential election—are now moving strongly in the direction of the Republican Party. The survey, conducted by Douglas E. Schoen LLC on behalf of Independent Women’s Voice in late August, raises the possibility of a fundamental realignment of independent voters and the dominance of a more conservative electorate.

Today, independents say they lean more toward the Republican Party than the Democratic Party, 50% to 25%, and that the Republican Party is closer to their views by 52% to 30%. This movement comes in spite of independents’ generally negative views of the GOP—a majority of independents (54%) view the Republicans unfavorably, compared to 39% who have a favorable impression. (The poll also revealed that 48% of independents were either “sympathetic to or supporters of the tea party.”)

Mene mene tekel upharsin:

Men say they are going to vote for the Republican candidate rather than the Democratic candidate in their district by a margin of 45 percent to 32 percent. The numbers are nearly reversed for women with 36 percent saying they will vote Republican and 43 percent saying they will vote Democratic.

Ever since 1980, when Ronald Reagan inspired more men than women, the difference in the way the sexes vote has been a critical part of American politics. Women have been more likely than men to favor Democratic candidates, an advantage Democrats have come to count on. Women also historically outnumber men when it comes to showing up at the polls.

But this year may be different. Even though women are still more likely to vote Democratic, the poll suggests they may stay home this year, giving more of the decision-making to men by default.

So far in this election, women are not nearly as attentive as men and express less enthusiasm about voting, the poll found. Men are more likely than women to fall into the category of voters who say they are paying a lot of attention to the campaign right now. They are also more likely than women to say they are more enthusiastic about voting in this congressional election than they remember being in past mid-terms elections.

The poll suggests that men are angrier than women, and that their anger may be more motivating than the sense of hopelessness expressed by women, particularly on economic issues.

Cue Mama Grizzly with a “conservative feminist” platform:

Continue reading

Democracy ain’t pretty

Steve Kornacki at Salon:

This is just a preview of the GOP’s Tea Party hell

What’s most striking about the trauma the Tea Party inflicted on the Republican establishment in the Senate primary season that ended last week is how much worse it could have been.

Sure, the Tea Party base managed to dethrone two sitting senators, Utah’s Robert Bennett and Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, and to scare another senator, Arlen Specter, and a governor, Charlie Crist, out of the party. And it knocked off establishment favorites in a handful of key states, like Delaware and Colorado, while scaring the bejesus out of others, like New Hampshire’s Kelly Ayotte (who survived her primary by 1,600 votes).


As it is, though, the Tea Party is out of Republican targets for 2010. But 2012 is just around the corner, and the Tea Party may pick up right where it left off when the next round of Senate primaries convenes..

This, at least, is what history suggests. The last time there was this much upheaval within the GOP was in the late 1970s, in the wake of Ronald Reagan’s challenge to President Gerald Ford in the 1976 primaries. While Reagan fell just inches short in that race, the writing was on the wall: The GOP’s demographics were changing and the conservative wing that Reagan represented would soon dominate; Ford’s win would be the Rockefeller crowd’s last stand.

After ’76, New Right activists set out to purge the remaining liberal Republicans from the party — a task that only took on more urgency when liberal Republican senators provided critical votes for Jimmy Carter’s Panama Canal treaty in 1977. To the right, this represented a blatant sellout of American sovereignty. In the 1978 midterms, the right organized several high-profile primary challenges. In New Jersey, they united behind a Reagan aide named Jeffrey Bell and took out an icon of liberal Republicanism, four-term Sen. Clifford Case. In Massachusetts, they rallied around a radio talk-show host and anti-busing crusader named Avi Nelson and nearly knocked off Sen. Ed Brooke, the only black Republican ever elected to the Senate. There was no collective name for the movement that did this, but in spirit and style, it was very much the Tea Party’s precursor.

And the movement didn’t stop in ’78 — not with Reagan running again in 1980, and not with liberal Republicans still roaming the halls of Congress. Down went Sen. Jacob Javits, Herbert Lehman’s literal and ideological Senate heir, in New York’s ’80 GOP primary, felled by a then-obscure Al D’Amato. Only after Reagan’s election did the purge mentality cease.

Apparently, unlike the Democratic party, the GOP still adheres to that archaic idea that their voters should pick their general election candidates. They have these things called “primaries” where the Republican party rank and file get to choose from among various people. Whoever gets the most votes gets to be the GOP nominee.

Shocking concept, isn’t it?

I’m no fan of the Tea Party but they’re playing the rules – and winning. Boo-fucking-hoo.

If you can’t join ’em, beat ’em. The Tea Party is to the right what PUMA should have been on the left. The Republicans have angry grassroots, the Democrats have Axelrod’s astroturf.

So when do we start purging blue-dogs and corporate shills?

Bruce Almighty


Bruce Raymond Gradkowski (born January 27, 1983 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) is an American Football quarterback for the Oakland Raiders of the National Football League. He was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the sixth round of the 2006 NFL Draft after playing college football at Toledo.


Gradkowski has previously been a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, St. Louis Rams and the Cleveland Browns.


A day after being waived by the Browns, Gradkowski was claimed off waivers by the Oakland Raiders.

On November 22, 2009, in his first start for the Raiders, Gradkowski threw 2 touchdowns, matching JaMarcus Russell’s total for the season to that point, and led the team to a 20-17 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. In week 13, the Raiders won 27-24 on a huge upset against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Gradkowski completed 20 of 33 passes for 308 yards and 3 touchdowns, including an 11-yard game winning touchdown to Louis Murphy. For his performance in this game he was awarded the AFC Offensive Player of the Week award for week 13 of the regular season.[4][5] It was also a new record in the NFL, for the most come from behind touchdowns thrown in the 4th Quarter since 1991, when statistical records started to keep track of this.
On December 13, 2009, he was injured in a game against the Washington Redskins during the 2nd quarter and replaced by JaMarcus Russell. The Raiders lost the game 34-13 without Gradowski.[6] Gradkowski missed the remainder of the 2009 season with a partially torn MCL in both knees

The Raiders drafted JaMarcus Russell with the first pick of the 2007 NFL draft. He was supposed to be the best thing since sliced bread but he ended up being the biggest bust in NFL history. The Raiders finally dumped him in the offseason, eating the rest of his six-year, $31.5 million contract.

Before dumping Russell the Raiders traded for Jason Campbell and signed him to a contract extension. He was named their starting quarterback.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and apparently down 7-3 at halftime to the Rams in your home opener is a dire circumstance. Raiders coach Tom Cable, maybe with the fans’ chants of “Bruuuuuce” ringing in his head, benched starting quarterback Jason Campbell and inserted Bruce Gradkowski.

Gradkowski led scoring drives on his first two series, Darren McFadden ran for 145 yards on a career-high 30 carries and the defense shut down running back Steven Jackson as Oakland got past St. Louis 16-14. The Raiders (1-1) won their home opener for the first time since 2004.


Gradkowski was able to roll out, giving the Rams defense a different look, and he found receivers Louis Murphy and Darrius Heyward-Bey downfield. After combining for just seven catches in the first six quarters of the season with Campbell at quarterback, the duo combined for 10 catches for 138 yards from Gradkowski in the second half Sunday.

“We were just trying to get a spark in our offense,” McFadden said. “With Bruce coming in, he gave us a great spark and we just went with it. His energy is great.”


Okay, it was just the Rams and they suck even worse than the Raiders, but the games all count the same.

A fan deserves a chance to cheer once in a while, doesn’t he?


This is an open thread.