Althouse | category: Sarah Palin



an endless succession of beans and nuts.

"It is hard to overstate just how much of a jolt to the political system Sarah Palin delivered when she defeated her first fellow Republican 16 years ago."

"He was Frank Murkowski, the sitting governor of Alaska and a towering figure in the 49th state. She was a 'hockey mom' and the former mayor of a small, working-class town who vowed to stick it to the 'good ol’ boys.'... Today, having lost her bid for Congress after years out of the spotlight, Ms. Palin is a much diminished force. She was, in many ways, undone by the same political currents she rode to national prominence.... Along the way, she helped redefine the outer limits of what a politician could say as she made dark insinuations about Barack Obama’s background and false claims about government 'death panels' that could deny health care to seniors and people with disabilities. Now, a generation of Republican stars follows the template she helped create.... But as the next generation rose up, Ms. Palin’s brand of politics no longer seemed as novel or as outrageous. Next to Mr. Trump’s lies about a huge conspiracy to deny him a second term, or Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene’s casual allusions to political violence, Ms. Palin’s provocations more than a decade ago can seem almost quaint...."

Writes Jeremy W. Peters, in "Sarah Palin Loses as the Party She Helped Transform Moves Past Her/The former Alaska governor, once the standard-bearer of the G.O.P.’s dog-whistling, no-apologies culture, was no match for the same forces she rode to national prominence" (NYT).

"Cotton Mather called them 'The Hidden Ones.' They never preached or sat in a deacon’s bench. Nor did they vote or attend Harvard."

"Neither, because they were virtuous women, did they question God or the magistrates. They prayed secretly, read the Bible through at least once a year, and went to hear the minister preach even when it snowed. Hoping for an eternal crown, they never asked to be remembered on earth. And they haven’t been. Well-behaved women seldom make history; against Antinomians and witches, these pious matrons have had little chance at all."

That's from "Vertuous Women Found: New England Ministerial Literature, 1668-1735," a 1976 article by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, a professor of Early American history at Harvard. I'm reading that at Professor Buzzkill because I wanted to know the source of the line I put in boldface, which is a pretty common feminist slogan.

Some people think that quote originated with Marilyn Monroe (or one of many others), but no, it was Laurel Thatcher Ulrich.

Anyway, the old saying popped into my head when I saw that title of a new NYT op-ed, "The Unruly Heirs of Sarah Palin" by Rosie Gray. Let's read:

This new generation’s pugnaciousness makes Ms. Palin’s “Going Rogue” days look subdued. Conservative moms from all over the country have turned local school board meetings into contentious showdowns over policy and curriculum, organized by groups like Moms for Liberty who say they are “on a mission to stoke the fires of liberty.” “We do NOT co-parent with the government,” reads the back of one of the T-shirts for sale in the moms’ online merch store.

Shades of Ms. Palin can be seen in Representatives Lauren Boebert of Colorado and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, whose gun-toting photo-ops recall Ms. Palin’s rural, hunting-and-fishing image. But Kari Lake, the hard-right former news anchor running for governor in Arizona, is perhaps the paradigmatic New Mama Bear. One moment, she’s literally vacuuming a red carpet for Mr. Trump; the next, she’s calling her Democratic opponent a coward and the media the “right hand of the Devil.”...
[W]hile Ms. Palin lost control of her image to a skeptical, often condescending news media (remember the infamous Katie Couric interview in which the candidate couldn’t name any newspapers she read?), the steely, intense Ms. Lake has made a sport of antagonizing the reporters on her trail and excelled at turning the exchanges into content....

I was expecting the article to disparage "unruly" women and that the NYT, but that's not what happened. The old slogan — Well-behaved women seldom make history — makes just as much sense for conservative activists as it does for progressives.

Rouge droplet?

I'm trying to read "Astronauts should not masturbate in zero gravity, NASA scientist says" (NY Post):
Astronauts have been warned against masturbating in space over fears female astronauts could get impregnated by stray fluids. There are strict guidelines over “alone-time” onboard in zero gravity. 
Scientists have warned even the slightest rouge droplet could cause chaos on board.

Rouge droplet? In space, is semen red? No, it's just the kind of typo spell-checkers don't catch, the funniest ones, the ones that are other words, like "rouge" for "rogue."

Conan O’Brien was interviewing a NASA engineer, who said, “Three female astronauts can be impregnated by the same man on the same session … it finds its way.” 

"Rogue" is an interesting word. As used above, it means — according to the OED — "Without control or discipline; behaving abnormally or dangerously; erratic, unpredictable" or "Aberrant, anomalous; misplaced, occurring (esp. in isolation) at an unexpected place or time."

The oldest meaning of "rogue," now archaic, is " An idle vagrant, a vagabond; one of a group or class of such people." It also means "A dishonest, unprincipled person; a rascal, a scoundrel." Perhaps if you were making a cartoon character out of a sperm cell, you'd pick those characteristics.

A nicer sort of "rogue" is "A mischievous person, esp. a child; a person whose behaviour one disapproves of but who is nonetheless likeable or attractive. Frequently as a playful term of reproof or reproach or as a term of endearment." That can be the other cartoon sperm cell's sidekick.

In horticulture, a "rogue" is "A plant or seedling in a crop that is considered inferior, or exhibits variation from the parental or standard type." And "rogue" is also used for a "wayward, unmanageable, or lazy horse" and to designate "a large wild animal living apart from the herd and having savage or destructive tendencies." More ideas for my (undrawn) comic strip about sperm cells.

ADDED: Checking my archive, I see I've looked into the meaning of "rogue" at least twice before.

In 2009, I wrote about Sarah Palin's book "Going Rogue" and said "Why 'rogue' and not 'maverick'? 'Maverick,' of course, was John McCain's word, which Palin adopted and used in her speeches as she ran alongside him.... Both words are applied to animals, and here the difference is good for Palin. The maverick animal is unbranded or motherless — unowned. This is a fate that falls upon the poor creature. The 'rogue' is specifically a horse that resists being controlled by others. It is exhibiting its own will, and not the victim of happenstance. Now, fate touched Palin when McCain choose her, and she did get into trouble when she exhibited will, and the maverick's people called her 'rogue'...."

What makes a nation a "rogue"? A "rogue" was, originally, "An idle vagrant, a vagabond; one of a group or class of such people." (I'm using the unlinkable OED....) These days, a "rogue" is "A dishonest, unprincipled person; a rascal, a scoundrel." Or "A mischievous person, esp. a child; a person whose behaviour one disapproves of but who is nonetheless likeable or attractive. Frequently as a playful term of reproof or reproach or as a term of endearment." Playful. Endearment. Oh, North Korea, you rogue!

"People often say that Sarah Palin anticipated the rise of Donald Trump, but you could say the same of Pat Buchanan or Ross Perot or Herman Cain..."

"... depending on your focus. Trumpism is perhaps best understood as two things: populist-right mood and populist-right policy. The mood is one of resentment toward predatory or incompetent elites, and the policy (in theory, at least) is one of strength through self-containment — whether regarding immigration or commerce or military deployment. J.D. Vance, running for the U.S. Senate in Ohio, represents Trumpism mainly as policy, while Palin represents it mainly as mood. This can make Palin maddeningly hazy on issues that many conservatives and liberals alike care about most.... People often point to personality traits shared by Palin and Trump, such as thin skin and self-absorption... Both have thin skins, but Trump’s covers a hearty and insensate core; Palin described being excluded from McCain’s funeral as a 'gut punch' and told Fox host Sean Hannity that she could watch Tina Fey’s impression of her only with 'the volume all the way down.' Trump enjoys riling the other side, while Palin, despite her flame throwing, seems most eager to please her own side....  Palin’s religious faith alarms many of her critics in a way that Trump’s religious faith, if that’s what you can call it, never did.... [W]hen it comes to self-aggrandizement, her faith also appears to discourage her from Trumpian excesses.... If we can tell a human story of Sarah Palin, maybe people can wish her victory or defeat instead of vengeful triumph or destruction...."

"Immediately following the story’s publication, John and Cindy McCain both lied to the American people."

Wrote Steve Schmidt, quoted in "Former Top McCain Aide Says He Lied to Discredit a Times Article/'John McCain’s lie became mine,' Steve Schmidt wrote about Senator John McCain’s relationship with a female lobbyist" (NYT).

Defending his long silence on the matter, Mr. Schmidt said in his post that he “didn’t want to do anything to compromise John McCain’s honor.” His post then questioned Mr. McCain’s judgment in choosing the relatively unknown governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, as his running mate and accused Mr. McCain of cowering before her — “terrified of the creature that he created,” he wrote. 

In an interview on Monday, Mr. Schmidt said he was motivated to speak up now in part because he felt he had been unfairly associated for nearly 15 years with Mr. McCain’s choice of Ms. Palin, which he called “a burden.”

Speaking of honor, you should have unburdened yourself while the man you accuse of lying was still alive. Now, it looks like you just can't get enough of kicking Sarah Palin around. Go away.

"Sarah shocked many when she endorsed me very early in 2016, and we won big. Now, it’s my turn!"

"Sarah has been a champion for Alaska values, Alaska energy, Alaska jobs, and the great people of Alaska. She was one of the most popular Governors because she stood up to corruption in both State Government and the Fake News Media. Sarah lifted the McCain presidential campaign out of the dumps despite the fact that she had to endure some very evil, stupid, and jealous people within the campaign itself. They were out to destroy her, but she didn’t let that happen. Sarah Palin is tough and smart and will never back down, and I am proud to give her my Complete and Total Endorsement, and encourage all Republicans to unite behind this wonderful person and her campaign to put America First!"

Said Donald Trump, quoted in "Trump Finally Remembered That He Owes Sarah Palin a Favor" by Ed Kilgore (NY Magazine).

"Finally Remembered"... he endorsed her 2 days after she declared.

Kilgore ends with: "But Trump’s support gives her a chance to join the MAGA caucus in the House, in which she would barely stand out at all." A chance? Just a chance? Barely stand out? People like Kilgore make it too much fun to see the reemergence of Sarah Palin.

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