Write “What’s in a Name?” on Hand and Wall

14 02 2010

Then maybe we’ll remember to keep asking it out loud until we get some real answers.

Frank Rich in the Sunday NYT exhorts:

This G.O.P. populism is all bunk, of course. Republicans in office now, as well as Palin during her furtive public service in Alaska, have feasted on federal pork, catered to special interests, and pursued policies indifferent to recession-battered Americans. And yet they’re getting away with their populist masquerade — not just with a considerable swath of voters but even with certain elements in the “liberal media.”

Or we could turn to Mark Twain’s “last refuge” of scoundrels and sophist beauty queens like Palin and Prejean: religion. (Wait, or was that “patriotism” back in his day? Oh well, doesn’t matter once they’ve given over our government to god and made State power their religion . . .go team, go god, we must rule on earth the better to bring on the apocalypse and rule eternity, amen.)

As a congressman [Republican Mark Sanford] had slept on a futon in his office and voted against a breast cancer postage stamp as wasteful “feel-good legislation.” As governor, he refused to take stimulus money despite the fact that South Carolina had the nation’s fastest-growing unemployment rate. When an unemployed man from Charleston caring for a seriously ill mother and sister called in to C-Span last February begging Sanford for help, he didn’t budge. But he did volunteer to pray for the caller and his family.

So it went with Palin last weekend. Her only concrete program for dealing with America’s pressing problems came in the question-and-answer session. “It would be wise of us to start seeking some divine intervention again in this country,” she said, “so that we can be safe and secure and prosperous again.”

That pretty much sums up her party’s economic program, at least: divine intervention will achieve what government intervention cannot. That the G.O.P. may actually be winning this argument is less an indictment of Palin than of Washington Democrats too busy reading the writing on her hand to see or respond to the ominous political writing on the wall.