The Value of a “Black Mark”

I was fascinated, if not slightly nauseated, by a piece written today by Kenneth Vogel of Politico.

The article focused on Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard, and how he and a group of associates are working to ensure defeat for Chuck Hagel, Obama’s choice to be the next Secretary of Defense.

It is a fairly even piece on Kristol, who I seek neither to attack nor defend with this OpEd.  However, there is an almost hidden thought virus inserted into the very first page of the article.

And what is a thought virus, you might ask?  Various definitions abound depending on where you look but I first saw the term a few years ago in the comment section on another conservative website. It basically refers to a lie about someone or something that’s forwarded and then randomly referred to offhandedly in order to cement the general public’s thoughts on a topic.  When repeated, it’s accepted as a given, as entirely factual and thus irrefutable; and anyone who attempts to push back on such narratives are blind followers and cultists who refuse to accept the truth.  Their truth.

As supporters of Governor Palin, there have been several virulent thought viruses that to this day still infect the people and color their views about her based on nothing but propaganda.  Case in point…she’s a quitter (in other words, weak-willed).  She thinks she can see Russia from her house (in other words, not smart).  She caused fill-in-the-blank’s defeat (in other words, she’s toxic).

The only thing ultimately that will help quash these thought viruses is a continuous and vigilant campaign waged by committed warriors who fight back each and every time one of these things pop up.  It will take patience, resolve and a steel spine.  Of course, if and when the Governor seeks public office in the future, the reality of who she is will become clearer to those who only know her as a result of Tina Fey or The Daily Show and the lies will have a harder time surviving a prolonged exposure to truth, kind of like roaches that scatter when the lights are turned on in a dark room.

Returning to Vogel’s article, as stated above, there is well planted thought virus injected in this section here:

There are plenty of reasons to question Kristol’s bona fides for leading a Republican revival. He’s indelibly linked to a couple of the most damaging recent black marks on the GOP brand —Sarah Palin’s selection as the 2008 vice presidential nominee and the push for war in Iraq.

Did you catch it?

Governor Palin’s selection in the 2008 election cycle was a “black mark on the GOP brand” and is just as egregious in Vogel’s eyes as the push for war in Iraq.  Furthermore, the statement above has been presented in such an off-handed manner that the delivery suggests everyone knows it’s true.  The opinions of those who don’t think it’s true are entirely irrelevant.

And so, in this article which is supposedly a straight news piece cataloguing Bill Kristol’s record with an eye toward his agenda for the future, Vogel has inserted his opinion of Governor Palin as though it were fact, more than likely because everyone in his sphere of influence shares his position and so it must be true.

Or rather because he and those within his sphere of influence need people to unquestioningly believe that it is the truth.

Upon reading the article and the section specifically quoted above, a few thoughts occurred to me.

First of all, what does race have to do with anything?  By using the phrase “black mark”, Vogel is unnecessarily adding a racial element to his article, exposing a deep seeded hatred for black people; a seething racism just dying to break free.  Or at least that’s the case when such a phrase is used by a conservative.

Oh wait.  Vogel writes for Politico?  Ah. Well never mind then.

My next thought was how long has Vogel been a misogynist?  After all, of all the “black marks” Vogel could have picked, he chose to mention the first female GOP Vice Presidential nominee.  Clearly, Vogel is engaged in this evil war on women and clearly he is on the side of no free birth control and binders.

Oh…hold on.  Politico.  Dang, I did it again!   My bad.

Finally, as I stopped with my tongue-in-cheek mental castigation of the left for the endless, pointless diversionary tactic that is identity politics, I considered the source of this particular “attack”.

Who believes that the choosing of Governor Palin was a “black mark” on the GOP brand?  Further, what is the GOP brand and by whose definition?

Let’s start with the most obvious point, and that is determining what Governor Palin’s true worth is.

I need not repeat Governor Palin’s record of accomplishments here.  Simply click on the link on the menu at the top of the screen to view the extensive list.

I also need not point out how Palin saved McCain from experiencing a blistering defeat in 2008, which is what he was headed for; nor do I need to highlight how 2010 would not nearly have been what it was without her direct influence.  Furthermore, there’s no reason to list Governor Palin’s stellar record with regard to endorsements.  All of that information has been documented thoroughly here and on and several other websites.

Her value as a leader and as a reform-minded, principled, small government commonsense constitutional conservative is self evident. Not because I say so, but because the facts make it abundantly clear for anyone who bothers to look and can think for themselves.

Whose brand would be tarnished by that?  If in fact the GOPs “brand” would be, then one must wonder at the value of such a brand or rather, whose definition of that brand would categorize Governor Palin as a “black mark.”

Would it be similar to GOP establishment-minded Ohio Republican Steve LaTourrette’s perspective, who attacked Tea Party members in Congress as “knuckle-draggers” and “chuckleheads“:

I don’t know what the number is but say the number is 40 out of 240 – that’s not a repudiation of his [John Boehner’s] leadership. That’s the same 40, 50 chuckleheads that all year … have screwed this place up.

Or what about Nancy Pelosi’s idea of the Grand Ol’ Party?

I keep saying to my Republican friends, take back your party. This isn’t the Grand Old Party that did so many things for America, that commanded so much respect. We need a strong Republican Party. This is really the over-the-edge crowd. That’s the way i see it.

Of course, one has to understand what Pelosi considers as accomplishments by the GOP such as TARP and some stimulus packages.  Not exactly Conservatism 101.  Beyond that, as Rush Limbaugh pointed out today on his show, the Democrat Party is entirely uninterested in the GOP becoming strong.

In fact, what they desire is a GOP that doesn’t fight them on anything whatsoever.  They want an entirely passive GOP that smiles benignly and stands for nothing at all…a GOP that will let them continue to ram their policies through in a friction free environment so they can “get things done.”

And she talks of respect?  Please.  Weakness is never respected; rather it is most certainly greatly appreciated by those who don’t have to worry about facing any obstacles.

Notice how the press and the left (BIRM) always conduct massive campaigns to tell the GOP and the people who they believe are appropriate adversaries in a political contest.  “Who will win the independents?”, they bemoan.  “Certainly only a moderate can get those votes!”  And the same group of folks fall for the same spiel every time.

You’d think at some point these people would have that “aha!” moment and realize the press does not have their best interest at heart; that ultimately it only wants GOP candidates and nominees who are valueless, power hungry panderers who if elected won’t upset the apple cart, or those who campaign inoffensively, stand for nothing and inspire no one but will, in the end, give fantastically gracious concession speeches.  In other words, all losers.

Are either of these the template Vogel is using to determine the base value for the “GOP brand”?  The Republican establishment that seeks power for power’s sake and abandons the small government principles they espouse when campaigning for their jobs or the far left who hopes the GOP stays out of its way while it expands the scope and reach of government into every facet of our lives?

If either of these are the case, then reformers such as Governor Palin and we who support her should wear that “black mark” as a badge of honor.

I proudly support those who are “black marks” on a brand that’s long since lost its luster.  I’m not interested in backing people who promise reform then sell out when they make it to the Washington jacuzzi.

There is no value in promoting doormats who stand for nothing but their own self-advancement and aggrandizement.

So when liberals and those within the GOP establishment refer to you or those you support as a “black mark” on the “GOP brand”, you now know what the proper response should be:

“Why, thank you!”



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