April 22nd, 2010


Quote of the Day

More amazing insider stuff from Game Change by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin:

"Then there was the matter of Palin's substantive deficiencies. On September 10, she was preparing to fly back to Alaska to see her son Track ship off to Iraq and to tape her first network interview with ABC News's Charlie Gibson. Before the flight to Anchorage, Schmidt, Wallace, and other members of her traveling party met Palin at the Ritz-Carlton near Reagan airport, in Pentagon City, Virginia--and found that, although she'd made some progress with her memorization and studies, her grasp of rudimentary facts and concepts was minimal. Palin couldn't explain why North and South Korea were separate nations. She didn't know what the Fed did. Asked who attacked America on 9/11, she suggested several times that it was Saddam Hussein. Asked to identify the enemy that her son would be fighting in Iraq, she drew a blank. (Palin's horrified advisers provided her with scripted replies, which she memorized.) Later, on the plane, Palin said to her team, 'I wish I'd paid more attention to this stuff.'"

The chapters on Palin are jaw-dropping. Essentially, everything you always heard or suspected about Palin is true: she didn't know anything about the world outside Alaska's borders; she was barely vetted because McCain wanted to surprise the nation with a game-changing veep pick on a specifically chosen day after the Democratic convention, to get the eyes of the media back on him, and he'd run out of both time and options. (She wasn't even McCain's first choice for a nation-stunning veep pick. That would be Joe Lieberman, who agreed to run as McCain's vice president right up until the moment McCain gave in to partisan pressure from his advisers.) In fact, Palin eventually went so far off the reservation--temper tantrums, Joan Crawford-like fits of smearing her makeup in the mirror and calling herself fat, untempered paranoia, moments when she would completely shut down, stare at the floor and not respond to anyone--that some staff members, to quote the book again, "began discussing a new and threatening possibility: that Palin was mentally unstable."

In another scene, a clearly insane middle-aged woman at an Obama focus group rattles off all the reasons she doesn't like Obama: he's a Muslim, he didn't put his hand on his heart during the patriotic rituals, he wasn't born in the U.S., etc. When asked how she could possibly still be undecided if she disliked and distrusted Obama so, the woman answers, "Because if McCain dies, Palin would be president."

Ouch! When you're a conservative and even the wingnuts who think Obama's a secret Muslim don't like you, that's got to sting!


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