On Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck

From Med-Events, the Internet Medical Economics and Politics Group: med-events@list.pitt.edu. Week of August 21-28,2010.

>David, it would seem that you have a visceral hatred
>of this woman that transcends any real portrayal of her.

David Crippen: I have a visceral fear that she is a focal point that may well end our society as we understand it. She has no natural ability but read effectively off a teleprompter. She has no fund of knowledge and when forced to give a cogent opinion, the makes it up as she goes along. Then selectively denies any inconsistencies.

“All of ’em, any of ’em that have been in front of me over all these years.” –Sarah Palin, unable to name a single newspaper or magazine she reads, interview with Katie Couric, CBS News, Oct. 1, 2008

“Well, let’s see. There’s ? of course in the great history of America there have been rulings that there’s never going to be absolute consensus by every American, and there are those issues, again, like Roe v. Wade, where I believe are best held on a state level and addressed there. So, you know, going through the history of America, there would be others but ?” –Sarah Palin, unable to name a Supreme Court decision she disagreed with other than Roe vs. Wade, interview with Katie Couric, CBS News, Oct. 1, 2008

“We used to hustle over the border for health care we received in Canada. And I think now, isn’t that ironic?” –Sarah Palin, admitting that her family used to get treatment in Canada’s single-payer health care system, despite having demonized such government-run programs as socialized medicine that will lead to death-panel-like rationing, March 6, 2010

I had the same feeling about Hillary, but for different reasons. Hillary tried to pass herself off as a kindly, concerned motherly type that would bring womanly common sense to the country. Beneath the surface, she was a cold blooded, ruthless, calculating politician who had been planning and plotting to run for President since she was in college, and expertly worked every angle to the there, including putting up with Bill.

Palin is different and yet the same. She works the impression that she wants the country to get back to “conservative” values (allowing Wall Street to rape the country unfettered, insuring the profit margin of big business is unregulated and cutting back big government influence so infinitely more evil small government can run rampant). But unlike Hillary, who had a good intellectual grasp of the problems, Palin knows nothing about anything. She just makes it up as she goes along, and her followers eat it all up because she can do no wrong. She’s simply the scariest politician in modern history. She makes Hillary look like Eisenhower.

There’s a lot riding on the influence of Sarah Palin. If by some small chance the public was actually suckered into the murk of the Tea Party and Palin was elected President, several interesting things would happen.

1. It would literally tear the country apart. Palin is a polarizing figure that makes Hillary look like Fred Rogers. Each faction would quickly ascend to violence in an absolute fury that she was elected or is not getting the respect she deserves, depending on the faction. There would be rioting in the streets. The whole country would look like Chicago in 1968.

2. If you think that Obama’s enemies have lock-stepped to break him, that would be a tea party compared to the opposition of Palin. There would be MANY more factions out there who would stop everything they’re doing and make a career of insuring nothing Palin et al wanted to do comes to fruit.

For the above reasons, any and all progress would come to a grinding halt.

3, Palin would quickly blame civil unrest as “terrorist” activities (couldn’t possibly be her). I don’t think Palin et al would have any problem then establishing a “Department of Enforcement” to get anything done. She’ll interpret something in the Constitution that would support it. Anyone can find anything they want to support any interest in the “Constitution”.

The EXACT ploy of Hitler in 1932. Hitler promised pretty much what Palin is promising. The country is falling apart and it’s time for a strong person to arise and bring things back to their former glory, and of course identify “enemies” who needed to be eliminated for progress to resume. When the Reichstag burned down on Feb 23, Goering ran out into the street shouting:

“This is the beginning of the Communist revolution! We must not wait a minute. We will show no mercy. Every Communist official must be shot, where he is found. Every Communist deputy must this very day be strung up”.

Shortly after the fire (produced and directed by Goering) , which was considered to be a terrorist act, Hitler persuaded President Hindenburg to issue a decree entitled, “For the Protection of the People and the State”. Justified as a “defensive measure against Communist acts of violence endangering the state,” the decree suspended the constitutional guarantees pertaining to civil liberties:

“Restrictions on personal liberty, on the right of free expression of opinion, including freedom of the press; on the rights of assembly and association; and violations of the privacy of postal, telegraphic and telephonic communications; and warrants for house searches, orders for confiscations as well as restrictions on property, are also permissible beyond the legal limits otherwise prescribed”.

Bush started this, Palin will bring it to fruit. If Palin and especially the Tea Party were forced into a stalemate where they could get nothing done politically, none of them would have any problem simply decreeing that the root cause was “terrorists’ who needed to be rooted out and negated in some fashion. These are the same guys that tote guns on their hips to political rallies to show they’re ready and willing to use them on “terrorists”, real or imagined. It worked for Hitler. I don’t think Palin et al would have any problem at all with any of it, crowing all the while that things will start getting better when all those terrorists are found and eliminated.


> The Katie Couric interview was a liberal
> set-up designed to rattle and embarrass
> Palin, not inquire into her beliefs in a balanced way.

David Crippen: This situation moves the discussion from the contemptible to the humorous. When confronted with a seemingly routine question that any candidate for office would have easily answered even with stock resources. Lets see what comes to mind easily even for me? Time? Newsweek? Washington Post? New York Times? National Review? Palin was totally clueless, and true to form, rather than just say she didn’t read anything having to do with politics, she motormouthed her way out of it, hoping that ANY verbiage would accidentally stick:

“All of ’em, any of ’em that have been in front of me over all these years.” –Sarah Palin, unable to name a single newspaper or magazine she reads, interview with Katie Couric, CBS News, Oct. 1, 2008.

I bet McCain passed out and started seizing. Then two important things happened quickly:

1. Palin couldn’t be allowed to look as dumb as she was, so it was necessary to come up with a nefarious plot that intentionally put her in a position where she unfairly looked silly by design. That seemed pretty hard to do. The only plot they could come up with was that she was so incensed by questions that might reveal the source of her opinions that she them just gave a nonsense answer to show her contempt for the question. A really nefarious unfair question loaded with tons of opportunity for her to look bad no matter how she answered, eagerly proffered by mortal enemies bent on her destruction:

This was, of course, greeted by a round of guffaws from normal folks. But……..

“Can you name a Supreme Court decision you disagreed with other than Roe vs. Wade, (interview with Katie Couric, CBS News, Oct. 1, 2008).

To this egregious, tricky and manipulative intrusion into her sanctimonious intellect she replied:

“Well, let’s see. There’s ……… of course in the great history of America there have been rulings that there’s never going to be absolute consensus by every American, and there are those issues, again, like Roe v. Wade, where I believe are best held on a state level and addressed there. So, you know, going through the history of America, there would be others but ………….”

2. Of course, the true believers bought this bullshit hook, line and sinker because since it wasn’t any more bizarre than any of the other nonsense that exited her mouth. The point was not that she had to say anything coherent. The point was that her persona was the future of the country, she wasn’t any more of a doofus than any of the rest of them, and besides, her lack of knowledge made her a lot easier to manipulate by those in charge of manipulation . All she really needed to do was read the script on the teleprompter accurately and avoid unscripted interviews.

Haven’t seen her do one lately, except on Fox. She learned from 2008.


>So now Palin is Hitler?
>Funny how such talk degenerates to this.

David Crippen: I didn’t say that. I said the stage would be set for a classic Goering maneuver that would seek to get rid of the opposition permanently.

Chicago 1968 was about protesting soul-less hack politicians. If Palin were elected President, it would foment a situation EXACTLY like Chicago in 1968.

Now in 2010, any such fray would be blamed on “terrorists”. So what better way to get rid of them than defining the opposition as “terrorists” trying to keep prosperity down. The “war on Terrorism” is already in place, and if there are no convenient specimens around, they can be easily created. Things would give the superficial impression that the violence was decreasing as opponents and protesters disappear. Recall that as the Germans defined as undesirables were rounded up, the average citizen saw little evidence of it as long as they kept their head down.

You think Palin is above Goering tactics? Palin is a vapid, opportunistic, soul-less hack politician that will say and do whatever it takes to get an audience and a fat check addressing it. Bush got the ball rolling with the Patriot Act, a law that trashed constitutional rights for citizens. You think Palin wouldn’t build on that platform?


> I like her for standing up to liberals but I
> would not want her for President, however,
> she would be better than the clown we have now.

David Crippen: She doesn’t stand up for Liberals, she stands up for Fox News.The working myth that Obama or anyone else is going to be able to make a dent any time soon in the situation Bush et al put us into persists. NBC news tonight told the story of a bunch of people unhappy with the economy and those currently in charge. They were awaiting FEDERAL ASSISTANCE that is now available through the current regime. The ultimate mythology is believing that if Obama is bad, handing the country back over to the folks that brought us this mess will be somehow better.

Think a regime under Palin would be a vast improvement? From Jacob Weissberg in Newsweek:

But the best Palinisms of all result when the huntress encounters something she wasn’t hunting for—that is, when Palin comes into contact with most anything to do with domestic, foreign, or economic policy. It is this situation that generates those priceless let me tap-dance and also sing for you a little song while you think of a different question moments. One such was the juncture in her mind-boggling 2008 interview when Katie Couric asked Palin to name a Supreme Court decision she disagreed with, other than Roe v. Wade. Surrounded by hostile forces, out of cartridges for her Remington, she bravely held her ground and kept pulling the trigger, to no effect:

Palin: Well, let’s see. There’s—of course in the great history of America there have been rulings that there’s never going to be absolute consensus by every American, and there are those issues, again, like Roe v. Wade, where I believe are best held on a state level and addressed there. So, you know, going through the history of America, there would be others. But, um.

Couric: Can you think of any?

Palin: Well, I would think of any again that could best be dealt with on a more local level maybe I would take issue with.


> You can’t imagine how angry and fearful
> many of your quiet, lurking colleagues on
> this list are with the Obama administration.
> I am a conservative Constitutionalist/Libertarian,
> and will continue to work, financially support,
> and vote for any and all who will remove the
> government in all forms off my back.

David Crippen: I understand the complaints about the current administration too. They have made mistakes, not the least of which is not realizing that the situation handed them by Bush et al was not amenable to fixing in the time frame they had before the public lost patience, if ever. Instead of “Yes we can”, Obama should have said “We’ll do what we can with what we have and hope for the best”. But then, had he said that, the public probably would have elected anyone that promised to fix it in six months anyway.

But be that as it may, your problem with the Obama administration is open ended, not just that he can’t do what he promised. You are a “Conservative” which means that even if the heavenly hosts descended accompanied by the glare of brass instruments to personally anoint Obama’s feet, you would still do anything you could to get rid of him so a “Conservative” could take the reins and do what conservatives do, promote big business, make the rich richer, the poor poorer and decrease big government regulation so impeccably evil smaller governments can run wild through the streets. You just want to choose your evil.

You might recall that when Nixon was elected in late 1968, he was highly touted as the salvation of the country from a wild eyed Democrat (LBJ) that was in the process of destroying the country with insane big government like the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed most forms of racial segregation, Voting Rights Act, which outlawed discrimination in voting, Aid to education, Medicare, Medicaid, urban renewal, beautification, conservation, development of depressed regions. I recall my father sighing that there would finally be some dignity in Government.

The rest of Nixon is best described by Hunter Thompson in 1972:

“For years I’ve regarded his existence as a monument to all the rancid genes and broken chromosomes that corrupt the possibilities of the American Dream; he was a foul caricature of himself, a man with no soul, no inner convictions, with the integrity of a hyena and the style of a poison toad. The Nixon I remembered was absolutely humorless; I couldn’t imagine him laughing at anything except maybe a paraplegic who wanted to vote Democratic but couldn’t quite reach the lever on the voting machine.”

Nixon and many other soulless hacks running the country in the mode of Cheney precipitated a massive protest movement that changed the world, and I was part of it. In 1970,you could drive down a street in Athens, Georgia and see store owners sitting out front of their establishments in shifts with shotguns resting on their toes, insuring their place didn’t get looted by pissed off protesters angry about everything there was to protest. EX-PAT simply lets you watch that on satellite TV instead of being next door to it.

The Tea Party shares many of Nixon’s qualities and has the potential to start this all over again. Sarah Palin is a new millennium upgrade of Nixon; just as fundamentally self-serving, ruthless and manipulative but with no fund of knowledge. Nixon had a plan, iniquitous thought it might have been. Palin makes it up as she goes along which makes her dangerous in the league of the original prince of darkness Cheney……… but with brain damage.

This time I’m too old and too tired to deal with it.


(On Limbaugh as the voice of Republican conservatives)

David Crippen: I think Limbaugh is so in love with the sound of his own voice he long ago reached the point where he would say anything he thought will keep him on the air. And if there is no such thing as bad advertising (Paris Hilton), and if there is no such thing as propriety (Anna Nicole Smith) and talent doesn’t matter as long as marketing principles are upheld (Britney Spears) then it naturally follows that spewing hatred and intentional contrived controversy makes a career as long as there’s a Fox News.

Limbaugh is so obviously a guy that will say anything calculated to rile up the masses, but they get desensitized to it and he has to create more and more verbal pyrotechnics to keep their interest. Some of it, like exhorting Republicans to vote for Hillary in 2008 was just comical, but inspired a lot of criticism from rank and file Republicans with a more sane game plan to pursue. I concede that he has a lot of listeners, but if you look at the aggregate, there aren’t enough to make a significant dent in National power politics, as was demonstrated in 2008.

Beck is another matter entirely. I can’t even think about Beck or Coulter without getting violently ill so I will be brief.

Coulter is a truly mean spirited, ruthless, self serving hack that effectively uses politics to further her own personal goals of power and influence. She is infinitely more of a menace than Palin, who by comparison is just a bumbling twit who dumb lucked into a career on Fox. Coulter is truly vicious, and callously masquerades as a person of the people, when in reality she relates only to Coulter. She manipulates female issues for her own purpose. Mercifully, you don’t see too much of her because she’s so far over the edge that only the truly rabid far right wingers pay any attention to her, and there aren’t enough of those to make a dent in anything. Coulter once told an critical interviewer that none of it mattered as long as she was selling her books and business was good. If she had any real influence, which she mercifully doesn’t, Coulter would be terribly dangerous. As it is, she’s a footnote of evil persona that didn’t quite get it marketed as well as Palin.

Beck is truly in a class by himself. If he hadn’t bumbled onto Fox, they would have had a hard time inventing him. He’ a big league example of an otherwise bumbling fool that dumb lucked into Fox News as they searched for someone that could spew a steady stream of incredible bullshit like Limbaugh but in video bites rather than audio. Limbaugh doesn’t work in visual media. He looks too much like a poison toad. Beck is Limbaugh in video mode, classy grey hair, conservative suits and the countenance of a successful snake oil salesman. Part of the requirement was the ability to spew 99.9% US Government inspected Prime horseshit with a perfect deadpan so that the Fox viewers would believe it all because the delivery is so sincere and passionate. Beck could support Charlie Manson for US Senate and the the rank and file at Fox would be nailing up posters the following day.

There aren’t many “conservative” media types that are truly scary. No one pays much attention to Hannity or O’Reilly. they show up and get into debates with Carville and then move on. They’ve become institutionalized and standardized. As a practical matter, as much as I worry about it, Palin is a bumbling, tabloid ridden sorority girl Ditz that ill go down in time with the Tea Party, a pathetic movement destined to eventually self destruct as it should. Limbaugh will continue to spew the crap he’s famous for and will never rise above that microphone. Coulter is so malignant, 90% of the most realistic Republicans run screaming out of any room she’s in. And in the end, realistic Republicans will rule.

The really, truly scary one of them is Beck, whose entire audience feeds daily on incredible crap that in any other milieu than Fox would be laughable. But it isn’t to Fox listeners, different breeds of cat. They listen with total absorption to incredible bullshit that rivals true believers in the healing power of Lourdes. As long as these zombies are few enough in number to be inconsequential to the general scheme of things, I guess it doesn’t matter. If the true believers of Beck ever become consequential in number, and Fox has a strong incentive to create that, the country if not the world is in deep trouble.


> You, yourself, are as critical as you claim Limbaugh is.

Truly. It flows easily.

David Crippen: Limbaugh et al deserve criticism of their criticism because it is not in any sense constructive. It’s very focally and intentionally destructive. Like him or not, Obama gets up every day with some kind of plan to make things better. And like it or not, he was handed a large smelly shit sandwich by Bush that will take years to digest,if ever. If you quibble with Obama,you mainly quibble with his plan, not that he’s basically an evil person. Limbaugh et al get up every morning and their plan is to insure nothing constructive or otherwise gets done. They work hard to do that and it’s absolutely open ended, to the detriment of the country.

Palin may be a bumbling nincompoop but she knows how to work the destructive criticism angle. She spent most of her campaign in 2008 decrying the existence of a former 60s radical that no one had heard from for over 40 years, then feigned fear that he’d be tossing bombs into post offices again as an EdD in a respected institution of higher learning. She worked it with religious zeal. Did she actually believe this crap or was it just her job to do as much damage to the opposition as possible? Is either acceptable to the country?

Then she smugly and righteously declared that the Affordable Health Care Act of 2009 would quickly act not in the best interest of indemnifying another 40 or so million or so citizens, but would insure that her Downs baby would have been killed to save money. She actually said this with a perfect deadpan and there are videos of her saying it.

Does anyone in this group believe that?

If she believes it, she’s seriously disturbed and needs to be examined for personality disorders. If she doesn’t believe it and said it just to be destructive, then she’s a hack and needs her credibility to be questioned.

David Crippen, MD

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