Not touching ground at all

6 11 2010

Sarah Palin in 2012?

Oh no, no. No no no.

Some commentators think that a Sarah Palin candidacy would guarantee an Obama win, which, given her current low approval ratings, is not an unreasonable conclusion.

But ohp, there’s that word: unreasonable.

Sarah Palin is not much concerned with reason. Evidence, experience, coherence—no thank you. So how do you fight against someone concerned only with her own creation of the truth?

Did you ever watch the show, NewsRadio? In one episode, Joe and Lisa co-host a news program, and Joe responds to Lisa’s wonky queries with a stream of bullshit. I finally managed to track down the episode (it’s ‘The Fiftieth Episode’, the one in which Bill is sent to a psych ward, thus necessitating the fill-in hosts of Joe and Lisa), and to view the clip, skip ahead to around 9:20 or so:

This exchange has stayed with me ever since I first watched it. How do you counter such cheerful lies?

Hence the half-guv dilemma: How do you counter such chipper mendacity?

As is evident from my previous posts, I’m unsurprised by manipulation and trickery in politics, and in fact am critical of the Dems for their flusterment in the face of such flim-flammery. Fight! Fight! Fight! I say.

But. But the legislative manueverings of the GOP, while accompanied by all variety of obfuscation, was nonetheless grounded in the practical reality of Congressional procedure. Senators could filibuster and hold and delay and deny because the rules allowed them to do so; reps could attach earmarks or poison pills or call for vote after vote because, again, the rules allowed them to do so. They may have used and abused the rules, but they did not question the reality of those rules.

But the reality star who is able to conjure death panels out of thin air? How do you counter someone who ignores the laws of gravity?

You can deal with a reality-manipulator, because the manipulator has to have some sense of that reality before she warps it to her own ends. And even that Bush staffer who sniffed to the NYTimes reporter about those stuck in the ‘reality-based community’ and the ability of the Bush admin to create its own reality nonetheless still gestured to reality. They did, in their own baleful way, seek to create new facts on the ground.

But La Palin? What are facts and who cares about the ground?

The Bushers did not succeed in their quest to reshape reality: there were no roses in Iraq and a heckuva job was done to and not on behalf of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. The Photoshop of the first six years failed, and Rove et. al. lost control of the negatives.

So how does someone avoid the physics of politics, the inevitable grinding down and peeling back and failure associated with all political action? You don’t accept that there are any rules, any downs on the other side of up, any nulls to one’s hypotheses; there is only the rabbit pulled out of the hat and the declaration that this is, indeed, magic. And that magic is real.

Does Sarah Palin really believe all she says? Does it matter? She is constructing her own universe and has little use for those of us (left, right, and otherwise) who, however disgruntled with this one, nonetheless understand that this is where we live. We don’t matter in the Palinverse, have no mass or weight or anything which would identify us as real; we are figments in her imagination.

Given her low approval ratings, I’d like to think that this means most voters share my distrust of Palin. I’d like to think that most of us, when asked, ‘Who you gonna believe (gosh darn it!), me or your lyin’ eyes?’, will respond, Uh, my eyes are just fine, thankyouverymuch.

That may be, in fact, the only way to deal with a serial fantasist—to disengage, to walk away.

But if she is the candidate, Obama can’t simply walk away, he will have to engage her. Maybe it would be enough to play to the refs—us—and point out that 2 + 2 does not equal oranges.

But if there are enough of us who think 2 + 2 should equal oranges?

I’d rather not find out.