Editor’s Note: This piece originally ran in April 2010 and is being re-published in light of the false accuastions made against Governor Palin after the Tucscon shootings.
With the NBA playoffs underway, and many basketball fans on C4P, I thought perhaps a little sports analogy might be appropriate right now. Back in the 80s, the “Bad Boy” Detroit Pistons deployed a strategy that came to be known as “The Jordan Rules” on Michael Jordan. During their epic playoff battles, the Pistons hounded “Air Jordan” with a variety of defensive schemes designed to disrupt his rhythm. Sometimes, they’d physically challenge him with bigger players or attempt to sow confusion with rotating double and triple teams. At all times, they would hit him hard whenever he took it to the hole, slowing down the game and generally bottling up the enthusiasm of his eager fans. In short, they tried to intimidate and frustrate him. And The Jordan Rules succeeded – for a time, especially before the Zen Master arrived and Jordan got better teammates. The Pistons won two straight NBA championships, eliminated the Bulls four straight years and delayed Jordan’s efforts to make it to the Finals. But eventually … well, we all know how that turned out.
And that’s exactly what the “Bad Boys (and Girls)” in the elite media have been trying to do to Sarah Palin with “The Palin Rules.” I’m not talking about legitimate critique of her record or her ideas. Would that there were more of that actually going on. I’m talking about the bizarre scrutiny that follows her every move, most of which the editors here at C4P have documented and countered brilliantly. The traditional media creates ridiculous controversy out of thin air to throw off the talented and popular Palin. It’s a full-court press with more than a few Laimbeer-esque cheap shots. Like Jordan, Sarah will just have to learn to deal with it, and signs are she’s doing just that.
Here are some of the “The Palin Rules” advanced by the media about Sarah Palin:
When Sarah Palin makes money (even if it helps support the lifelong care of her special needs son), she’s portrayed as a diva. Forget about the fact she spends two weeks a year working in fish slime, gives away a significant part of her income, and refused many of the customary “diva” perks of office as governor.
When Sarah Palin “targets” Congressional races on her Facebook page hoping to influence the national debate as she promised to do when she resigned, she’s inciting violence. Forget about the fact that in 2008, then-candidate Obama actually quoted the violent mafia flick, The Untouchables, saying of opponents, “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun” while later urging supporters to “Get in their faces, and argue with them.” Conservative Tea Partiers have been beaten, had portions of their fingers gnawed off and had their buses pelted with eggs – a serious safety hazard should the eggs cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle. (Yes, throwing things at moving vehicles is a crime.) To our knowledge President Obama is never accused by his friends in the media of encouraging aggression. But then, he’s not a 5’4” “assassin” in stiletto high heels and a short skirt.
When Sarah Palin recycles a campaign visor and crosses out McCain/Palin with a Sharpie to go “incognito” on her Hawaiian vacation after her exhausting book tour, she’s labeled as an ungrateful backstabber. (Forget that she later campaigned for McCain’s re-election against what some viewed as her own best political interests, and, the fact that she heaped nothing but praise on McCain during her book tour.)
When Sarah Palin receives gifts from a women’s boutique in L.A., signs them, and gives most of them right back to aid the Red Cross, she’s on a “greedy” shopping spree to end all shopping sprees. (Forget about the fact that she’s been known to find bargains at consignment stores, and admits that for the most part she “hates shopping.”)
When Sarah Palin writes six words on her hand before an hour-long speech where she cracks a joke about teleprompters, she’s a hypocrite. (Thankfully, she has turned this little episode into a running joke during all her appearances, where she calls her hand a “Palm Pilot” or a “Poor Man’s Teleprompter.”)
And when Sarah Palin signs a more-or-less standard speaking contract that includes various arrangements for her speech to a privately-sponsored fundraiser for a state school, she’s an elitist. Morever, her speaking appearance inspires liberal college students to dive into dumpsters to retrieve the details of her enormous “payday” that differs little from the line of speakers to address the school in the past. (Hey, where are these budding Woodward and Bernsteins tracking down the arsonists who torched Palin’s church? Oh yeah, an actual crime was committed.)
When Palin tries to promote her beautiful state of Alaska in an upcoming documentary on the Discovery Channel, she is criticized by the media as participating in some kind of trashy reality show, and yet somehow this show is serious enough to be worthy of a letter campaign from liberal groups hoping to prevent its airing.
When Palin hosted the first episode of the Fox guest series Real American Heroes, the TV critics pounced on it as being “boring.” (Boring? This is good news. Remember when New York Times columnist David Brooks praised Gov. Bob McDonnell as being “almost boring,” while criticizing Sarah Palin as not really boring enough to be taken seriously, or something like that? Hey, Brooksie, apparently Sarah Palin is officially “boring” now. Can we expect an endorsement from you soon? No? Not surprising. Guess it’s not in the playbook.)
Indeed, just as the Pistons’ use of The Jordan Rules brought success, employing The Palin Rules similarly earns you praise, accolades and awards. Look no further than the lowly-rated Katie Couric, who, for her heavily edited, highly partisan interview of Governor Palin, earned a Walter Cronkite broadcasting journalism award in 2009.
Likewise, Tina Fey, a talented writer and comedienne whom many people had never heard of prior to her Palin parodies, won an Emmy Award in 2009 specifically for her guest appearances on SNL where she delivered her now infamous cliché-ridden portrayals of the corruption-fighting Palin.
And, not to be outdone, Kathleen Parker, The Washington Post’s own Southern Belle, from Winter Haven, Fla., won a Pulitzer Prize this month, for what we can only surmise were her brave critiques of Sarah Palin, a fellow Republican. (Derogatory Palin columns are in such short supply, after all.) Yes, Parker earned the most prestigious prize in journalism, for what the prize committee described vaguely as her:
“perceptive, often witty columns on an array of political and moral issues, gracefully sharing the experiences and values that lead her to unpredictable conclusions.”
Unpredictable conclusions? I’ll translate that for you:
“Parker is an elite Republican we liberal Pulitizer people can get behind. She pegged Palin as not being worthy of being on the GOP ticket, and last fall accused her of unwittingly becoming a poster girl for racism.”
It’s true, Parker, being from the Deep South of Central Florida, drew on her unique knowledge of To Kill a Mockingbird, to suggest that Palin’s criticism of Obama’s policies coyly evoked generations-old Southern male animosity toward blacks. And apparently this generations-old Southern male animosity is spreading at alarming rates, to many Palin supporters across the country, including women, minorities, and those in Alaska, a libertarian haven on top of the world.
You know, there’s only one problem with all these awards. Those earning them still cling to their view of Sarah Palin as a lightweight — a B.J. Armstrong if you will, not a Michael Jordan. Far be it from me to suggest the obvious, but shouldn’t these award winners in good conscience acknowledge that they won bigtime awards for “taking out” a bigtime politician? I mean, really, do they hand out trophies on the Fishing Channel for landing a prized minnow? No way. Do you pat yourself on the back for stepping on an ant? No, don’t be silly. Moreover, the Pistons never had “The Armstrong Rules” for the little-known point guard who eventually helped Jordan win a title. You don’t get specific rules named after you if nobody feels you’re the single most important game-changer, right? Right.
Furthermore, if the elite media truly think Sarah Palin has no chance in 2012, shouldn’t they be propping her up as the pushover nominee so their favorite son Obama can have his 49-state landslide? In, other words, where’s the “double team” on Huckabee, Romney or Pawlenty? The elite media are focusing all their defensive energy on preventing a Palin drive to the nomination, allowing much more threatening candidates like Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich or Mike Huckabee to shoot unguarded at will and possibly defeat the Anointed One.
Where was the full-court press on the fact that as governor, Huckabee granted clemency to a thug who went on to kill four cops this year? Apparently, it was more important for the press to alert us that Palin wants bendy straws and water at her speaking engagements. Undoubtedly, those bendy straws have something to do with lipstick not getting on her drinking glasses. But when it comes to Palin, the inane may be the Pulitzer, remember? Yes, no Palin detail is too small for over-the-top scrutiny. What’s the difference between a Palin $100,000 speech and an Al Gore $175,000 speech? Apparently, it’s the lipstick, the bendy straws, and of course, the insane media criticism.
Hey, that’s just part of living with The Palin Rules. Fortunately, we all know how horribly The Jordan Rules turned out for Michael Jordan in the end, don’t we? Poor guy. Meanwhile, the ant-squishing awards pile up. Enjoy the playoffs!