Just Plain Sarah

I have to be honest.

I don’t understand why anyone would vote for Sarah Palin.

She hasn’t demonstrated that she can effectively govern.  Her short stint as Alaska’s governor was nothing special. 

She has demonstrated shocking gaps in understanding of both domestic and international issues.  As an example, she recently called out Machelle Obama’s initiative to reduce childhood obesity as an unwarranted government intrusion into families. 

She hasn’t demonstrated any special success either academically or in business.

All she has is celebrity.

Yet here she is as a potential nominee for President in 2012.

So she must know something.

I did a little research to figure out what it is.

What I found is that her support is predominantly white working class men.  These are the folks that have been hardest hit over the last decade by outsourcing and unemployment.

Channeling white male working class anger is nothing new for Republicans.   They first tapped into it in the 60’s when white southern men objected to expansion of civil rights for people of color.  In the 70’s working-class wages across the country began to stagnate.  In response, working class families send their women to work, worked longer hours, and ultimately went deeper into debt pulling money out of home equity.  When the housing bubble broke along with manufacturing, anxiety became panic and panic became rage.

What is odd is that Republican policies created the economy where corporate profits and stock prices rose while white working class wages fell.  Good jobs got outsourced or eliminated by labor-saving technologies.   Productivity continued to rise because American companies could make more money with fewer domestic workers than ever before.   The result is that while white collar unemployment rates are around 9%, working class unemployment is closer to 20%.

Republicans reached out to this group positioning them as the “silent majority” that liberal Democrats were ignoring.  They supported “tax revolts” for those desperate for any sort of financial relief.  And they reached out to them through fairly overt appeals to racism (Willie Horton).  So it’s not surprising that when the Great Recession eliminated jobs and home equity, this group began to take to the streets in an effort to regain the position of influence the felt they had in the 50’s.

They are looking for someone to blame.   Republican’s certainly don’t want to take the blame so they have effectively refocused this anger on immigrants, blacks, gays, intellectuals, and lately international bankers like George Soros.  They have done this by spinning the narrative that global intellectual elites who run the mainstream media, direct the government, dispense benefits to the undeserving, and dominate popular culture have it in for the working man.  This is a proven formula for growth in fascism having working during most every historical time of economic distress.

Sarah Palin’s particular spin on this message wraps it in a perky upbeat package.  She is the fishing, hunting, cheerleading, patriotic Christian hockey mom that is willing to tell anyone that it would all be better if the working man were in power.  Unfortunately, the dark undertones are still there.  She promises the same revenge that every previous demagogue did, “The liberal elites think they can keep screwing us, but we know something they don’t.  When we’re in power, we are going to punish them.”

As the ultimate populist, she has also positioned herself as outside even the Republican establishment.  So even they have a difficult time controlling her.

Her fundamental strength comes from the fact that a lot her supporters are desperate for simple answers.  They don’t like to hear that their high paying jobs are not coming back and they may need to retrain themselves and change their lifestyle.  They don’t want to hear that the Republicans that they trusted are the ones who are actually screwing them.  They don’t want to hear that the solutions to our problems are complicated and potentially painful.  They don’t want to hear that the wealthy plan to keep their money, because trickle down wealth is their last best hope.

As long as we continue to suffer high unemployment, Sarah is going to have a base of power.  It isn’t clear that she is electable, because her supporters are still in the minority; but she very easily could wield enough power to undermine any other candidate that the Republicans may choose to nominate.   So my money is on her making a third party run in 2012 after she is denied the Republican nomination.

That will actually work to her favor, because Obama will retain the office and remain a foil for her ambition.  In some ways the worst thing that could happen to Sarah Palin is that she actually gets elected.

17 Responses to “Just Plain Sarah”

  1. keith says:

    Jeff,
    Laughable comments in light of “candidate Obama”

    Please list for me you perfect candidates qualifications…
    Make sure to include;
    *Communite organizer
    *Guest lecture/Prof
    *State senator who votes “present” a high % of the time
    *17 days as a U.S. senator

    Next subject – your ability to make very nuanced agruements certainly exceeds mine. (thats a complement) Please use the same microscope to examine the claims of whether Hillery committed espeonage that was used to say Bush is a lair and a torturer……

  2. keith says:

    What is the infatuation with Sarah with all you guys? I watch MSNBC at night and Keith O and Lawarence O simply spew hatred at her EVERY night. It really now has reached a e level that it isn’t even understandable. Your articule is as interesting to me as their pre-occupation with her. I really don’t think she’s my choice for president but my thoughts really aren’t that far out yet.

    Your jumping to the middle age white man all the time is intereting also. How did Obama win without those guys? Can you consider for just one moment that maybe Obama is to blame? He should have been front and center at Wiki leak or whatever that was. Instead he let Hillary go out. Where’s the passion. There is no budget….how can you guys get away with that? Thats never happened to my knowledge. He was no where to be seen at the oil spill. He called republicans the “enemey.” His constant blaming of GW for the economy……You wanted the job so accept it. He just got the worst whuppin in memory and all he can do is say its the packaging that was wrong…… Help me out here pal.

    You are really a little blind here. Instead you wonder outloud why someone would vote for Sarah Palin????????????

    Come on Jeff, just once put that bright mind of yours to use, unbriddled by your prejudouses, (thats spelled wrong) and tell me what Obama has done wrong and tell me how he should correct it.

  3. keith says:

    So…….the debt commision couldnt get 14 votes today.
    Obama tried to vote present but failed…..

    The rupubs showed up the other day to talk taxes, i guess,
    and they agreed to form a committe…..”PRESENT”

    I thought a benifit of Obama being elected was the world would
    view us a little more favorable. I really did. Not so. We lost
    the soccer matches to Qatar for crying out loud. its 120 degrees
    there in the middle of the summer….

  4. keith says:

    Jeff,
    I watched with interest last night to MSNBC as one by one all the
    progressive were going nuts. “Tax cuts for the rich” are now not just a republican idea it seems and the “pure at heart liberal” cant stand it now being a tenent of their party. Maybe now you’ll begin to understand more clearly what someone with zero experiance doing ANYTHING gets ya.

  5. Jeff Beamsley says:

    I was interested in where Palin’s support came from because clearly it didn’t come from an impressive legislative resume. I agree that you could say the same thing about Obama, though he at least has some impressive academic credentials.

    Not familiar with the Hillary espionage claim.

  6. Jeff Beamsley says:

    I write about things that interest me.

    I’ll likely get to Obama sometime. I certainly don’t consider him blameless.

    As far as Palin’s support, I just report the facts.

    We live in a very interesting “Through the Looking Glass” time right now. The country is so deeply divided that basic trust and common shared goals have broken down. As a result the fundamental elements of democracy (debate and compromise) are failing.

    So we have this new phenomena of a political movement where ideology trumps logic and narrative overwhelms truth. People are voting for things that are ultimately NOT in their self interests, but so distrust anyone who doesn’t agree with them, that they are blind to the facts that would call their position into question. In psychological terms that’s called a delusional disorder, but is seems to be affecting a huge number of people.

    I’m not trying to say by the way that liberals have all of the answers. They don’t.

    In fact what is equally interesting in this new reality is that in the absence of civil debate, the democrats have also lost their way. They simply are not good at this game of demonizing their opponents. When the republicans simply refused to engage, the democrats only had themselves left to argue with and so began to do that, because that was the only way they knew how to govern.

    Sarah Palin just happens to be symptom of the problem, and as a result an easy jumping off point. She inately understands how to manipulate the current situation to her benefit, and that is her real skill.

  7. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Actually what I think you’ll see emerge is a compromise brokered by Obama. So in this regard, he is the perfect person for the job because he still polls high among liberals.

    I agree, though, that this will be Obama’s defining moment.

    He has to raise his popularlity ratings by proving that he can govern from the center. If he can govern from the center, he will have to call out both the left and the right when they misbehave. Success for him over the next two years will be measured by his ability to work with both sides to get things done and reach past the parties to the public to put pressure on Republicans to re-engage in governing the country.

    If he can regain some of his previous popularity, he will be able to get the dems back in line and likely will win a second term.

    If not, the dems will mount a challenge to his re-election in 2012 (ala Kennedy challenging Carter) and will make it easier for a Republican to win. On the Republican side, Palin will run and will lose the nomination to one of the Republican insiders. My bet is that she will run as an independent. If she does, this will drain away any advantage that the Republicans thought they might have over a weakened democratic party and likely will hand Obama a second term. The problem is that an election like that won’t settle anything since the winner will likely get a less than 50% of the votes.

  8. keith says:

    I don’t think the problem is his popularity. He’s popular, even with me.
    I believe most people like him. The problem is his lack of leadership or, to grant him the benifit of the doubt, “preceived” failure to lead.

    Mr Weiner Dem Rep of NY said “he goes from principle compromise in 3.5 sec’s.

    I don’t think his popularity is in question. He may even win again. I wouldn’t bet against it…..

  9. Jeff Beamsley says:

    For the President, popularity translates into influence.

    The way that he leads the Democratic party is by demonstrating in the polls that Democrats are more likely to get re-elected if they follow him rather than someone else.

    The dems are unhappy right now because Obama has demonstrated that he is committed to making government work which means compromise with the Republicans. The tax compromise took a big issue off the table for the Democrats. Some would rather have seen all of the tax cuts expire so that they could continue to blame the sad shape of the economy on Republicans being the pockets of the rich.

    Obama did the right thing.

    He gave up a short-term ideological issue for a second big stimulus package. If that package has the desired effect, the economy will be in much better shape in two years than it is now. He also positioned the tax cuts for the wealthy as a pivitol issue for the 2012 election. So he is certainly planning to run against it and let the American people decide through their vote.

    So as far as Obama 2.0, IMHO so far so good.

  10. keith says:

    it is interesting to watch the “progressives” on MSNBS be attacked by other Dems for holding hostage the lowest tax rate of 10% as it is set to go to 15% if bushes tax cuts are allowed to expire. That this would hirt them the most as they taxes would go up way more then anyone elses. All because they didn’t want “Millionaires and billionaires” or more commonly known as the “top rate” to expire. They were screaming!! What was interesting to me is that I was lead to believe, by all dems, that the bush tax cuts were only for the wealthy. HOw could those at the lowest rate be effected the most if they are to expire if they weren’t HELPED the most when enacted. I believe you said recently “we all arent allowed our own set of facts.”

  11. Jeff Beamsley says:

    I’ve posted this before.

    There is good data which suggests that the tax cuts provided to the middle and working class become an effective stimulus to the economy because that money gets spent almost immediately. It creates jobs, keeps people in their homes, and helps kids go to college.

    Tax cuts to the rich are some of the least effective stimulus methods we have because it doesn’t cause them to spend any more money than they might have spent before the tax cut.

    When the economy is growing at a more reliable rate ALL tax rates are going to go up in an effort to pay down the deficit.

  12. keith says:

    i am certain the economy will is growing at a reliable 3% for the forseeable future, unfortunately. at this rate it will take 37 quarters to get back to 2007 levels…….i hope i’m wrong. another side of me agrees with harry dents thoughts that this is demographic and a natural by product of the over capsicty that was created for the baby boom and then small sized generation which follows. Not until the booms children start buying their second homes will this be corrected. He says 2023…..

    you didnt address the comments above that libs are now saying bushes take cut helped the lowest rate the most, a natural conclusion if letting them expire HURTS them the most…….

    bottom line everyone is to blame and every one needs to belly up. cut s,s, benefits, raise the age also. (we live too long for this to be a retirement program…it was never intended too be) Up the income level a few ticks but not on all income. put 1% on investment income over $1 million. (Stay off of old people investment income!!!!)

    get ride of the health care thing which IS going to cost trillions…..the assumptions are all wrong…..period!!!! (and no sense you and i agrueing about that.) invest in infrastructure…nows a good time to fix the bridges and roads….and create some rail lines. clean energy is great but keep the gov’t out of it, its a net looser for jobs. (How many people will be employed by a solar farm? answer, one or two)

    raise taxes….I say no but we’ll have to. lets do it with purpose and not to PUNISH the rich…..and lets say when the rates go back down before we raise them. kinda like and exit stratigy. rubs should pipe down on that as rates under clinton were low also. I don’t think $250k is the right number either. Lowing taxes MUST be to REDUCE the debt, not spend on anything else, “i dont care if its for “stimulus.’

    Those without a job will have to work. inspite of the claim the repubs wont help jobless benifits we are now up from 26 weeks to over 3 years. how long can we do that? dems will want even more. in a year…..

    Finally cut spending…..rudcue by 10%, and by that I mean as a sixth grader would understand it. Not….”I was ganna have a 7% budget increase so 10% ffrom 7% is -3%…..nope. its “today i have 20 billion, tomorrow i get 18 billion.

    there, i just solved all our problems and everyone participates. the answers are really simple…..our reps are just not so simple.

  13. Jeff Beamsley says:

    We do have some demographic issues, but that’s not why we’re dealing with high unemployment. We’re in the classic position that capacity exceeds demand. Consumer demand is low because people are scared and there are a lot of people out of work who have had to reduce their spending to bare necessities. That’s what the federal stimulus programs are designed to do, put enough people back to work and put enough additional money in the hands of consumers that demand for consumer goods will spike and drive a new round of hiring.

    The other problem is that unemployment and overall unfriendly immigration polities have driven a lot of undocumented workers out of this country. That further depresses consumer demand.

    Finally, there is demand for skilled workers in growth industries like healthcare and finance. The people that are having a tough time finding a job were working in the construction industry. New home construction is likely to remain depressed for quite a while. So we have to figure out how to retrain these folks.

    As far as who the Bush tax cuts hurt or help, it’s basically just political posturing. The economists say that the most effective stimulus money that we can spend is money that goes to the poor because they spend it right away. Clearly the poor aren’t paying much in tax so the rest is just the standardard Dems for the middle class Repubs for the rich sort of stuff.

    You can’t just toss the whole Healthcare Reform package out the window without offering some alternative. More than any other single factor, healthcare costs are what could croak us. So simply tossing it because you don’t believe all of the experts who say it WILL save money doesn’t work unless you are able to come up with a viable alternative.

    I WORK in the healthcare industry on the software side. I see where this is going, and it is the ONLY viable direction that we CAN go.

    What is coming is a massive transformation of the payment system from transactions to outcomes. You can’t do that until you are able to effectively share all of the information about patient care in a way that will allow payors (insurance companies and the government) to reward those who are improving the health of their patients and punishing those who are not. That includes the patient. If you are under care for high blood pressure brought on by a poor diet and lack of exercise, you are going to be expected to follow a plan provided by your physician to improve your diet and increase your exercise activity. Those who follow that plan will see their insurance rates go down and the healthcare team treating that patient will see their re-imbursements go up. Those who fail to follow that plan will see their insurance rates go up and the healthcare team treating that patient will see their re-imbursements go down.

    All of the investments going into improving healthcare IT now, are building to this capability.

    It only works if everyone is insured and following the same accountable care guidelines.

    The current system will never evolve in that direction on its own because the current system makes everyone too much money for basically just processing transactions without any sense of how those transactions affected the health of the patient.

    I don’t know that the answers ARE all that simple, but I do agree that we as a country need to discover some basic shared principles BEFORE we try to hold our representatives accountable for anything. Right now our representatives are spending most of their time fighting an ideological proxy war in Congress which reflects the deep divisions in the country.

    Until all sides are willing to agree to some sort of truce for the greater good of the country, I’m afraid we aren’t going to see much in the way of progress regardless of how simple the plans may be.

  14. keith says:

    Hey Jeff,

    You’ve said this a couple of times in response to my saying in some form “demographics;”

    “We do have some demographic issues, but that’s not why we’re dealing with high unemployment. We’re in the classic position that capacity exceeds demand.”

    you’re kind of floating right pass my point and rephasing the answer. by saying “capacity exceeds demand.” well why? demographics DO have a lot to do with that. If the boomers built a bunch of second homes starting when they turned 35 until they turn 55, in reality early 1990’s – 2007, then the following generation has an over supply of first time houses and second homes. the population needs to grow into that excess capacity. they will get no help from the boomers and there aren’t enough folks to buy it up until the bommers kids, nearly as large, soak up all the first homes, which was there perents second, that the demand to build will return. all of the building exaterbated by the banks getting “creative with loans” and, far more importantly, people greed and envey of there neibor for a home they couldn’t afford and there lack of understanding og personal finance. I blame them more then the banks…..

    there is no Creating capscity for more homes until the number of those requiring them are greater then those on the market. THAT CANT BE CHANGED. what changes is the capasity to create more homes, it goes away until further notice.

    Added to that notion of cunsumer irresponsiblity was the learned, and dare i say unwise, uneducated and most importantly unscriptual use of credit. The bible would call home equity lines slavery which out taking too much liberty. Endentured slavery. The over capsity that you refer to was created in large part to meet unreal demand caused by refi’s of homes for a bigger one, a flat screen, and a new car to boot. The correct use of refi’s would have been a lower rate, shorter mortage term and to get the thing paid off.

    I’m very tired of the concept of what the gov’t should be doing as “moral.” healthcare, unemployeement benifits that are now up from 26 weeks to 3 years, etc, etc, etc…..if it were so “moral” then why does someone who refied tobuy a bigger house and without concern for their own future by not saving for a rain day of healthcare primiums suddenly fall under the “moral clause” of us all? Why is anyone with a new car who can’t afford healthcare for three years if they lose their job suddenly our obligation? They weren’t looking out for themselves. They choose the car over their childrens healthcare. Get it….I can get even more obsurd if you’d like.

    The point is the amount of capisity that was created to handle goods and services was artificually high. Under more sensible leanding standards they simply want be mneeded. you can create that demand any other way then by creating the train wreck we just went through. Now you seem the be asking the govt to support activity that was false to beging with…. our whole economy needs to be, and is being, reset. Reset to levels people can resonable afford. its also being done with interest rates that are very low to help. this is ok for a while as 30 year treasuries from the 80’s with very high yeilds are being replaced by 30 treasuries with very low yeilds. so if we are simply supoorting the interest payments we can borrow mulitpules of our privious debt and still have the same or lower debt service. Going our to the year interest rates to replace treasuries are higher then those they are replaceing we will have no such luxury……

  15. Jeff Beamsley says:

    I didn’t mean to give the impression that I was discounting the fact that Baby Boomers have had an impact on the economy and as we move into our senior citizen years, that is going to be disruptive.

    It’s just that that problems we are currently facing are much bigger than disruptive baby boomer economics.

    As far as the morality argument goes, the economics are fairly simple.

    The countries that are most successful are going to be those countries that use their human capital most efficiently. The first step is to make sure that everyone has a job, but you won’t be the best just doing that. You also have to make sure that everyone is healthy and not only the people working, but those that they are responsible for. So affordable healthcare has a positive economic impact. Access to affordable education also has a positive economic impact because it allows everyone to maximize their earning potential by maximizing their value to society.

    Finally, the most efficient economic stimulus that we can provide during times of recession is unemployment benefits. As I’ve said before, when unemployment is low, it makes sense to cut back significantly on unemplyement benefits to encourage those out of work to return to work quickly.

    The other issue is that rate of unemployment among factory and construction workers is much higher than the white collar rate. Many of those jobs aren’t coming back anytime soon, so we also need to look at re-training to help these folks get back to work. Michigan has been in recession for over a decade because of the decline of the auto industry. As a result, it was the only state in the union to actually lose population over the last decade as folks moved out to find jobs. But what some of those who left Michigan have found is that the recession followed them to the warm weather states where they went to find work and they are out of work again there.

    If you want to call too much capacity in manufaturing and construction as “artificial”, that’s fine, but we still have a responsiblity to put those people to work in order to get our economy going again. That’s going to come from investment in infrastructure, slow growth in contruction, new investments in manufacturing, and retraining.

  16. keith says:

    Jeff,
    You ended with;

    “If you want to call too much capacity in manufaturing and construction as “artificial”, that’s fine, but we still have a responsiblity to put those people to work in order to get our economy going again. That’s going to come from investment in infrastructure, slow growth in contruction, new investments in manufacturing, and retraining.”

    YES we agree………..(not sure what retraining means pratically though)

    Now, go convince Obama of what you and I agree on….

  17. Jeff Beamsley says:

    We’ll have to see how the current new stim package plays out. I don’t think we are going to see another big spend package over the next two years so whatever is going to get done, will get done with money from existing legislation (assuming the republicans don’t block those appropriations).

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