Monthly Archives: January 2010

Too Much of a Bad Thing, by My Hero, Mark Steyn, sigh:)

Too Much of a Bad Thing
Who’s panting for Obama speech number 412? Exactly no one.

By Mark Steyn

So what went wrong? According to Barack Obama, the problem is he overestimated you dumb rubes’ ability to appreciate what he’s been doing for you. “That I do think is a mistake of mine,” the president told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. “I think the assumption was if I just focus on policy, if I just focus on this provision or that law or if we’re making a good rational decision here, then people will get it.”

But you schlubs aren’t that smart. You didn’t get it. And Barack Obama is
determined to see that you do. So the president has decided that he needs to start “speaking directly to the American people.”

Wait, wait! Come back! Don’t all stampede for the hills! He only gave (according to CBS News’s Mark Knoller) 158 interviews and 411 speeches in his first year. That’s more than any previous president — and maybe more than all of them put together. But there may still be some show out there that didn’t get its exclusive Obama interview — I believe the top-rated Grain & Livestock Prices Report 4 a.m. Update with Herb Torpormeister on WZZZ-AM Dead Buzzard Gulch Junction’s Newstalk Leader is still waiting to hear back from the White House.

But what will the president be saying in all these extra interviews? In that interview about how he hadn’t given enough interviews, he also explained to George Stephanopoulos what that wacky Massachusetts election was all about:

“The same thing that swept Scott Brown into office swept me into office,” said Obama. “People are angry and they’re frustrated, not just because of what’s happened in the last year or two years but what’s happened over the last eight years.”

Got it. People are so angry and frustrated at George W. Bush that they’re voting for Republicans. In Massachusetts. Boy, I can’t wait for that 159th interview.

Presumably, the president isn’t stupid enough actually to believe what he said. But it’s dispiriting to discover he’s stupid enough to think we’re stupid enough to believe it.

So who’s panting for that 412th speech? Not the American Left. As Paul Krugman, the New York Times’s “Conscience of a Liberal,” put it: “He Wasn’t The One We’ve Been Waiting For.”

Not the once-delirious Europeans, either. As the headline in Der Spiegel put it: “The World Bids Farewell to Obama.”

And not any beleaguered Democratic candidates trying to turn things around in volatile swing states like, er, Massachusetts. The Barack Obama who showed up last Sunday to help out Martha Coakley was a sad and diminished figure from the colossus of a year ago. He had nothing to say, but he said it anyway. As he did with his Copenhagen pitch for the Olympics, he put his personal prestige on the line, raised the stakes, and then failed to deliver. All those cool kids on his speech-writing team bogged him down in the usual leaden sludge. He went to the troubleof flying in to phone it in.

The most striking aspect of his performance was how unhappy he looked, as if he doesn’t enjoy the job. You can understand why. He ran as something he’s not, and never has been: a post-partisan, centrist, transformative healer. That’d be a difficult trick to pull off even for somebody with any prior executive experience, someone who’d actually run something, like a state, or even a town, or even a commercial fishing operation, like that poor chillbilly boob Sarah Palin. At one point late in the 2008 campaign, when someone suggested that if Governor Palin was “unqualified” then surely he was too, Obama pointed out as evidence to the contrary his ability to run such an effective campaign. In other words, running for president was his main qualification for being president.

That was the story of his life: Wow! Look at this guy! Wouldn’t it be great to have him . . . as community organizer, as state representative, as state senator, as United States senator. He was wafted ever upwards, staying just long enough in each “job” to get another notch on the escutcheon, but never long enough to leave any trace.

The defining moment of his doomed attempt to prop up Martha Coakley was his peculiar obsession with Scott Brown’s five-year-old pickup:

“Forget the ads. Everybody can run slick ads,” the president told an audience of out-of-state students at a private school. “Forget the truck. Everybody can buy a truck.”

How they laughed! But what was striking was the thinking behind Obama’s line: that anyone can buy a truck for a slick ad, that Brown’s pickup was a prop — like the herd of cows Al Gore rented for a pastoral backdrop when he launched his first presidential campaign. Or the Iron Chef TV episode featuring delicious, healthy recipes made with produce direct from Michelle Obama’s “kitchen garden”: The cameras filmed the various chefs meeting the first lady and then picking choice organic delicacies from the White House crop, and then for the actual cooking the show sent out for stunt-double vegetables from a grocery back in New York. Viewed from Obama’s perspective, why wouldn’t you assume the truck’s just part of the set? “In his world,” wrote The Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes, “everything is political and everything is about appearances.”

Howard Fineman, the increasingly loopy editor of the increasingly doomed Newsweek, took it a step further. The truck wasn’t just any old prop but a very particular kind: “In some places, there are codes, there are images,” he told MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann. “You know, there are pickup trucks, you could say there was a racial aspect to it one way or another.”

Ah, yes. Scott Brown has over 200,000 miles on his odometer. Man, he’s racked up a lot of coded racism on that rig. But that’s easy to do in notorious cross-burning KKK swamps like suburban Massachusetts.

Whenever aspiring writers ask me for advice, I usually tell ’em this:

Don’t just write there, do something. Learn how to shingle a roof, or tap-dance, or raise sled dogs. Because if you don’t do anything, you wind up like Obama and Fineman — men for whom words are props and codes and metaphors but no longer expressive of anything real.

America is becoming a bilingual society, divided between those who think a pickup is a rugged vehicle useful for transporting heavy-duty items from A to B and those who think a pickup is coded racism.

Unfortunately, the latter group forms most of the Democrat-media one-party state currently running the country. Can you imagine Bill Clinton being so stupid as to put down pickup trucks while standing next to John Kerry? And what’s even more extraordinary is that those lines were written for Obama by paid professionals.

But fine, have it your way. Tuesday’s vote was really a plea by a desperate people for even more Obama. We’re going to need even more Obama teleprompters, even more Obama speeches, even more sonorous banalities unrelated to action, even more “Let me be clears” prefacing even more tinny generalities, on even more reams of even more double-spaced paper. And we’re gonna need a really heavy-duty rig to carry all that verbiage.

Maybe Scott Brown can sell ’em his truck.

Mark Steyn, a National Review columnist, is author of America Alone. © 2010 Mark Steyn

VideoJournalism 101

“Sarah Palin, Man of the Year”

Greetings and best wishes for a new year, new decade… :)

Sarah Palin, Man of the Year, By Don Surber

2009 was an extraordinary year in which ordinary people did extraordinary things not because they were the easy things to do, but because they were the right thing to do. The people ranged from young Hannah Giles who jump-started her journalism career by donning a hooker’s garb to bring down the racketeer influenced corrupt organization known as ACORN, to Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger III, who culminated the decades of his life that he worked toward airline safety simply by landing an engineless plane on the Hudson River.

Michael Paul Mizzone, a carpenter’s business representative, pulled Josef R. Bruckuf, 82, out of a burning house, severely burning himself in the rescue. Police Sergeant James Crowley refused to buckle under presidential pressure and apologize for arresting a belligerent man. Economist Douglas W. Elmendorf refused to buckle under presidential pressure to cook the books for Obamacare.

The list of such candidates was long as the United States and Canada are nations that still celebrate and nurture rugged individualism. We still produce people like Stephen McIntyre who demand proof before they sign onto the global warming fad.

And lest we forget, the Netherlands gave us Jasper Schuringa, who saved Flight 253. The Dutch have our gratitude.

While each of the finalists was deserving, there can be only one man of the year — Sarah Palin. In the pantheon of people who stood up this year for that which is right, no one else stood taller or looked better.

She endured the most and came to symbolize the majority of American citizens who are stunned by the attempt to rapidly dismantle this great nation of ours and transform it into another Euro-weenie socialist country that apologizes for trying to save the rest of the world over the years.

The cynic in me said I should honor the person most responsible for reviving the conservative movement — Barack Obama. His arrogance and over-reach gave people pause. The plunder of the treasury in February caused even apolitical people to question his true motives. His slide to 44% approval among voters came lightning quick and we all know that thunder follows lightning.

But conservatives make lousy cynics. Skeptics yes. We refuse to act now, think later. This is why so many of us were cool to the theory of global warming. Climategate proved us correct. We may be suspicious, but being conservative means never saying things will not get better someday. Usually tomorrow. Conservatives are patient. Wait till next year became the battle cry by August. We shall see how that works out in November.

This post originally was written as the runner-up slot. Most readers thought Sarah Palin would be the first Man of the Year of the Don Surber blog, but I had other plans. Just as in the Miss Alaska contest a quarter-century ago, she would be the runner-up. Rush Limbaugh’s CPAC speech was a magical moment in American history and so he would win.

The more I thought about it, though, the more I realized that while Rush Limbaugh deserved the award, Mrs. Palin did even more for the conservative movement, and therefore for America, this year than even he did. In the final days, they switched places.

Naming Sarah Palin as Man of the Year is the only logical conclusion to a year when Americans who petitioned their government for a redress of grievances were smeared as “un-American” by the people who are temporarily in charge.

And still the people rose up.

Mrs. Palin has endured more slings and more arrows than any other politician in America. She may not have gone into any burning buildings, but she was singed nonetheless. Had Obama’s mansion deal received one-tenth the scrutiny that her shopping for clothes received, we conservatives would be grousing today about President Hillary. All things considered, Mrs. Clinton would have been the better president than this one.

The personal attacks on Mrs. Palin this year were so vile that if she were the Rutgers women’s basketball team, David Letterman would have lost his job. But CBS put profits above decency. Letterman had no problem calling her a slut and her daughter a slut on national TV; it upped his ratings as liberal misogyny is alive and well and profitable.

His offer of a half-assed apology with an invitation to come on his show and boost his ratings was met with an the iciest No of the year, so cold that it actually shocked him into giving a real apology.

Mrs. Palin moved on, marching to the beat of the American drummer. She caught hell from the left for another year, and began firing back. Her Facebook posts are well-written and thought out. Tagging Obamacare as having “death panels” rattled the lefty cages and woke up Americans to the rationing of health care that was right around the bend.

Not all the criticisms of her were without substance. Many of us remain puzzled by her decision to resign abruptly as the governor of Alaska. But her campaign for the 2012 presidency continues despite this misstep. She stood up for what is right and held her head high as she marched forward — ever forward.

Half the people of the United States love her for hanging in there. They love her for sharing their values of home, hearth and country. They love her for being of the the people, by the people and for the people.

Oh, not the elites and the elitist wannabes. The little potty-mouthed drones on the left think they are so sophisticated as they mock 14-year-old girls, babies with Down syndrome and people who shop at Wal-Mart. The Washington Post’s book reviewer bragged that she did not read Sarah Palin’s book. Ignorance is now a status symbol for the left.

Ordinary people did read her book and they were impressed. The people who shop at Wal-Mart bought 1 million copies of her autobiography in just 2 weeks. Thousands of them stood in line by the thousands in the freezing nights of November and December just to get her autograph. She is of them — a hockey mom who is naive, unsophisticated and learning just how rotted from within America’s political system has become. She beat corruption in Wasilla. She beat corruption in Alaska. And well, she finished 2009 with a higher approval rating than The Won.

She did this despite nearly universal adulation in the press for him and nearly universal condemnation in the press for her.

The people know the elites hate her. Dumping on her has gone beyond the point of reason. The Tina Feying of her backfires anymore. We get it already. The more they mock her, the deeper the resolve of her fans. The odd thing is, her detractors slam her because Sarah Palin boosts ratings. They are trying to stop the hurricane with a beach umbrella.

Her appearance on Oprah Winfrey pushed Oprah’s ratings — which have sagged since Oprah publicly endorsed Obama — up by 68%. Mrs. Palin gave Oprah her highest ratings in 2 years, easily topping the appearances by anyone named Obama.

She is genuine. Her beliefs in freedom, in independence and in community service reflect how she was raised. She does not hide who she is. There are no ulterior motives. There is no one underneath her bus.

The question anymore is not whether she is ready for the presidency — unlike our current president, she has had her mettle tested in fire several times now and passed with quite more than a gentleman’s B+ — but rather the question is whether she is too pretty to be president.

Sarah Palin, Man of the Year of the Don Surber blog for 2009.

The other finalists:

Rush Limbaugh, Man of the Year Runner-up.

Kenneth Gladney, Man of the Year Finalist No. 3.

Glenn Beck, Man of the Year Finalist No. 4.

Douglas W. Elmendorf, Man of the Year Finalist No. 5.

Jim Justice, Man of the Year Finalist No. 6.

23 Carnegie Medal heroes, Man of the Year Finalist No. 7.

John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, Man of the Year Finalist No. 8.

Chesley Burnett “Sully” Sullenberger III, Man of the Year Finalist No. 9.

Hannah Giles, Man of the Year Finalist No. 10.

Stephen McIntyre, Man of the Year Finalist No. 11.

Rick Santelli, Man of the Year Finalist No. 12.

James Crowley, Man of the Year Finalist No. 13.

Andrew Breitbart, Man of the Year Finalist No. 14.

Jasper Schuringa, Man of the Year Finalist No. 15.

UPDATE: That photo at the top is not a beach photo of Mrs. Palin but rather from a military photo taken when she visited the troops. She looks good anywhere. The uncropped photo: