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    Come visit me/Inspired insanity

    I know—I haven’t posted much lately. Political goings-on have been thoroughly distasteful, and I generally don’t like discussing things I find distasteful. (That doesn’t mean I avoid keeping up with the news, only that I haven’t been keen on writing about it.) I also started a new job last month, which has cut into the free time somewhat. But I should be getting back into writing more regularly.

    A few weeks ago, my ‘net friend James, editor of The Painful Truth, asked a few of us for some thoughts on the current health care debate. Mine was the shortest response; it appears toward the bottom of the resulting page, beneath more broad-ranging and fully worked out comments from others. James’s premise—an interesting one—was that having come out of a repressive, you-don’t-know-what’s-good-for-you religious sect might be a factor in whether we liked the idea of ceding responsibility for health care to Big Brother. He didn’t speculate about which side of the divide we’d be likely to come down on, but if anything, I was the gentlest critic of the policy direction taken by the current bill.


    Paul, formerly of Coming out at 48, has a new blog. Happily, it’s not called Now I’m 51 and Wondering Why No Other Fag My Age in This Entire Room Can Move His Forehead, so he seems to have fallen in with a good crowd. Paul’s writing is always thoughtful and a rewarding read–he doesn’t whitewash things, as he’s already demonstrated with his latest post—so while it was nice to think that he’d moved beyond having to post because he was busy enjoying his life, it’s great to have him back, too.


    Yet another diva from Snow Country has been writing lately—you’ve heard of Sarah Palin, right? I plan to buy the book for the trip home to my parents’ place for Thanksgiving dinner this weekend. (My father’s side gathers the Sunday before. My parents are hosting this year, so tonight when I called home, I got to hear about how heavy a brining turkey is, among other prep reports delivered with you-are-there verisimilitude.) Ann Althouse has been covering the brouhaha very well, especially in this post. I don’t agree with every last thing she says, but it’s depressing to read the return volleys from Palin’s defenders. Too many of them seem to assume that there’s some sort of Law of Conservation of Political Aptitude, by which you must concede that at least one of the four major-party candidates in the 2008 election was a good one. Actually, poor, boring John McCain and Joe Biden are pretty much left out of it. Therefore, if you say Palin was under-qualified, it’s assumed that you must have been gaga for Obama.

    In reality, it’s possible to have believed that every realistic option sucked and that, as a good citizen with a responsibility to vote, it was necessary to prioritize as best one could. I don’t agree with Althouse’s Obama-Biden choice, but it was clearly not the result of being dazzled by Barack Obama’s rhetorical arabesques. Regarding the few pages of Palin’s book that had been released when she posted, Althouse wrote:

    If Sarah Palin did not see the limited value of Nicolle Wallace’s comment about Katie Couric [that Couric had low self-esteem and, like, totally related to Palin as a working mom, with the implication that the interview would be aired as a puff piece—SRK], then she is too pollyannaish and unsophisticated to be trusted with presidential power. Couric is a pussycat compared to the world leaders who will smile and exude pleasantries and then stab you in the back.

    Yeah, I really wish Palin’s defenders would stop trying to have it both ways. If you want to argue that she’s too pure of heart to have known what she was getting herself into, fine—but then don’t argue that she should be facing off with heads of state. If you want to argue that she’s exceptionally shrewd, then please try to explain why she didn’t realize that any segment she did with a big-guns interviewer would be edited to suit the interviewer’s agenda. Palin has done very well at throwing elected officials and other public figures off balance, but she seems to have little sense of how to out-maneuver functionaries and bureaucrats. Maybe that’s evidence of her uprightness rather than her lack of smarts; I don’t know. But either way, it suggests that she wouldn’t have been much good at shaking up the system as a working politician. I’m as desirous as anyone of getting some outsiders into Washington who haven’t spent their entire lives, from the moment they were named Scissors Monitor in first grade, dreaming of lording it over their fellow citizens. But just being an outsider is not a qualification.

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