News, notes, and observations from the James River Valley in northern South Dakota with special attention to reviewing the performance of the media--old and new. E-Mail to

Sunday, July 5, 2009

La Belle Ditz Sans Merci takes a dive. Maybe.

Sarah Palin's defining moment came when Tina Fey and Amy Poehler recreated her interview with Katie Couric almost verbatim and it produced a sterling moment of comic satire.

The skit defined more importantly what the culture wars were really about: the battle launched by those who militate for provincial ignorance against the more cerebral classes of Americans. After this sketch played on SNL and replayed on the Internet, some of the cerebral members of the Republican Party began to defect and endorse Barack Obama for president. The McCain-Palin campaign had become an offense against the intellect.

Palin's candidacy for the vice president produced some snarky attacks on her and the seamy aspects of her family, but it also produced some sell-documented reviews of her performance as governor of Alaska. The Native American community reported on her dismissive and belittling attitude toward the natives of her state. Both The New York Times and Washington Post did reports on how her administration was characterized by pettiness, deviousness, and vindictiveness. In Alaska, her tactics-- not necessarily her politics--had earned her the enmity of many within her own party.

After her return from the campaign to her duties as governor, she nominated a person for state attorney general who received a soundly bipartisan rejection. Palin's intelligence was called into question by numerous public actions. To many in both parties, Palin was the poster girl for petty squabbles that take on a vicious and juvenile intensity.

Her embarrassing dissembling and posturing in her encounters with the press have called into question her inellectual competence. But there is a significant portion of he electorate who resent intellectual competence, and to them she represents political power.

Palin was the target for derisive humor, such as David Letterman's jokes about her daughter. She also inspired other commentators and bloggers to indulge in trashy snark.

But one need not resort to such sources to get a factual, documented appraisal of Palin's performance in political office.

However, as the GOP demonstrates dailly, competence and integrity are not much of a consideration in the game of politics.

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Aberdeen, South Dakota, United States