State & Local Politics

State & Local Politics

How the Palin Phenomenon Will Change American Politics

When Vanity Fair this month attempted to institutionalize the anti-Palin mnemonic slander into a regular New York City zeitgeist, it bounced off the wall again as it did with Letterman. William Kristol, the most influential commentator and editor of The Weekly Standard, responded and the Palin Phenomenon is now at the heart of Republican politics.

The generic Palin haters, Letterman, Tiny Fey, Katie Couric and the others, do not initiate trends. Their job is to reinforce and advance old trends that are dying out of lack of oxygen and energy and diseases of the aging and the infirm. These are New York’s’ Chryslers and Chevys; dying breeds forcing influence in a last hurrah as the city itself seems on the verge of drowning.

Just Shut Up

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) confessed to more extramarital affairs yesterday during a live national press conference as new information came out pointing up more suspicious behavior. Could someone just please ask the governor to shut up and continue the business of governing his state?

By now one would think Sanford would want to move as fast and far away from the debacle brought about by incessant lying and contradictions. What betrayed wife would not be outraged if her husband went public and disclosed that their mistress remains his soul-mate? Are you kidding me? He continues that if death were to conquer him soon, he would have died knowing what love truly is. You can't make this stuff up, guys. Is this man having a mental breakdown, or have these media events become ongoing psychological therapy for the governor?

Sanford’s Situation in One Picture

I’m not sure how even a casual newspaper reader could miss it, but if you haven’t already, go to the Washington Post website and pull up the photo of Gov. Sanford from yesterday’s press conference. (Or should I say “debacle”? Sanford spent the first half of his availability before even admitting why he was there. And I love how his staff repeatedly tried to pull the governor away to save him, but he kept wanting to throw himself on that sword.)

Back to the photo …

Sanford Out, Rudy In

From the beginning it smelled like teen spirit. Just riding on the beach. Out for a hike. Like I used to tell my mother in high school. Bad for Sanford but good for Rick Perry. Most all historic historical movements, from Christianity to the hippies to the Civil War, started with one or some vastly imaginative and somewhat eccentric few who were usually quickly forgotten as soon as the tall men and the lawyers took over. Sanford may be such a one.

He was the first to speak out in opposition to the bailouts and he stood alone. Shortly after Rick Perry, Republican governor of Texas, joined him. What he started has converged now with an entirely new approach to government, an approach more akin to Jefferson than Hamilton, which is taking hold in 35 states, including Texas, with Perry at the front of the ship. Yesterday, there might have been three people articulating these themes in the 2012 race — Sanford, Perry and Sarah Palin. Now there will likely be two: Perry and Palin.

Sanford: Missing in Action

First rule politicians must learn: When somebody tells you, “Go take a hike!” — don’t take it literally!

Obviously, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford never learned that lesson. He disappeared last Thursday from Columbia, the state capital — and nobody heard from him for the next five days.

Nobody even knew where he was: not his staff; not the lieutenant governor; not even his wife and kids. He didn’t tell them where he was going. He didn’t tell them where he was. He didn’t tell them whom he was with. He didn’t call once. He didn’t even call his wife or kids on Father’s Day.

Sanford's Sense-Deprivation Vacation

It has been a good week for Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty and any of the other 2012 GOP hopefuls — what with the Sen. John Ensign (Nev.) affair story (involving not only betrayal but campaign cash!) and now South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford taking a hike from his senses.

Did Sanford's wife tell him to take that hike? Notice that her response to inquiries about her husband going missing on Father's Day weekend was that he needed to go somewhere to write and "wanted some space to get away from the kids." Nice.

Does Rick Perry’s Dog Hunt?

The Republic of New England? California broken in three? Picture an America that is run not, as now, by a top-heavy Washington autocracy but, in freewheeling style, by an assemblage of largely autonomous regional republics reflecting the eclectic economic and cultural character of the society.

These are not the broody and misanthropic wanderings of the few too long in winter up here in the snowy hinterlands. It is front page of The Wall Street Journal this past Saturday in an essay accompanied by a map of the United States divided in parts, titled “Divided We Stand.”

Palin vs. Letterman

It turns out that the new political feud isn't Rush Limbaugh vs. Barack Obama or Dick Cheney vs. Colin Powell. As Rick Klein notes in ABC's indispensable The Note, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) and David Letterman are locked in a battle over jokes made at Palin's expense this week while she was on the East Coast.

The jokes included a line in Letterman's famous Top 10 list, this one devoted to Sarah Palin, in which he joked about Palin having a "slutty" look and another joke in which he described Palin's daughter being "knocked up" by Alex Rodriguez at a Yankees game.

David Letterman’s Hate Speech

Having been a New Yorker in the ’70s and ’80s, I don’t ever watch the David Letterman show. It seems an insipid and bitter celebration; a shadow of past glory when network TV featured brilliant entertainers and commentators like Johnny Carson and Dick Cavett, and on into the middle of the night Tom Snyder interviewing Marlon Brando, who, in one very brief aside, seems to threaten his life for smoking a cigarette.

Late Storm in VA Governor’s Race

Just as polls were closing yesterday, a rapturous thunderstorm came across Northern Virginia. By the time the storm had cleared, Creigh Deeds had convincingly vanquished the two early favorites to claim a surprise victory in Virginia’s Democratic gubernatorial primary.

“If you asked me three weeks ago whether Creigh Deeds had a chance to win the election, I would have said probably not … Tonight proves once again why we hold elections,” offered state House Minority Leader Ward Armstrong after Tuesday’s stunning victory for the rural legislator. The results are further proof that Virginia has perhaps the most competitive and ideologically unpredictable democracy in the union.