Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Brain Behind the Operation

This is another reason why I am not a paid political commentator for any network (the first reason is a tendency to squint).  I never would have thought to add this Palin nugget to the daily discourse.
Ah, Sarah, we miss your hockey mom sensibilities.  You have again reminded us that in the race to the bottom, you are a true leader.  Thankfully, you appear tanned, rested and ready to assume your rightful place atop the bottom of civil discourse.

Earlier this year, former Tina Fey impersonator Sarah Palin chided New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie after he referred to GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich during an interview as an "embarrassment to the party".

Here was Sarah Barracuda’s take:

"Poor Chris. This was a rookie mistake. He played right into the media's hands.  Here's a host that asked Chris, 'Does Newt embarrass the party.' I think he asked him twice, and there Chris played right into it and spewed that about Newt embarrassing the party."

"Sometimes if your candidate loses in just one step along this path, as was the case when Romney lost to Newt the other night and of course, Romney is Chris Christie's guy, you kind of get your panties in a wad (emphasis added) and you may say things that you regret later."

Somewhere, Daniel Webster just threw up a little in his mouth.  The Great Orator had not foreseen the literary beauty of “panties in a wad” when crafting his floor speech about The Great Compromise of 1850.  Such a missed opportunity to inject the image of women’s undergarments into the Congressional Record.

Only Sarah can one-up herself.  Weeks after her “panties in a wad” moment of maturity, she came to the defense of Rick Santorum for his comments about Satan’s role in destroying America.  The half-term governor condemned “lame-stream media characters” for getting “all wee-weed up about” Santorum’s past remarks. 
·         Panties in a wad.
·         Wee-weed up.
·         You betcha.

Kinda makes Biden sound like George Bernard Shaw in comparison.

Yes, the woman who ran for the Vice Presidency of the United States, the woman whose foreign policy bona fides include seeing Russia from her kitchen window and who quit the governorship of her state to protect her loyal constituents from her unwelcome far right advances, is afraid that Christie might embarrass the GOP.  If you Google GOP embarrassment, there is a video of Ms. Palin speaking without first consulting a script…or a full length video copy of HBO’s Game Change.

While cautioning a sitting governor not to get his “panties in a wad” or the media not to get “wee-weed up” may be low brow schoolyard material, it does resonant with a majority of Americans. 
·         Arnold Schwarzenegger based a movie career on reading simple sentences, like “I’ll be back” and “Hasta la vista, baby”, but his oratorical legacy to politics is defined by his insult accusing the Democrats of being “economic girlie-men”.  The crowds roared.  Housekeepers’ hearts were aflutter.
·         My former University of Delaware classmate and governor with wadded panties, Chris Christie, can aim low himself.  He referred to Reed Gusciora as a “numb nuts”, school teachers as “thugs”, a former Navy Seal as an “idiot”, and the cast of Jersey Shore as “losers” (OK, he got that last one spot on).
·         Do I have to relive Rush’s “slut” commentary?

In the spirit of bipartisanship, while Obama has declined to join in general 4 letter name calling, he can join in playing to the lowest common denominator.  His 2012 State of the Union address was rated at an 8th grade comprehension level on the Flesch-Kincaid readability test — the third lowest score of any State of the Union address since 1934.  This continues a downward trajectory that appears to have no floor.  If the SOTU doesn’t have at least three catch phrases that would fit into a Schwarzenegger or Stallone action feature, you’re not going to reach your target audience.

"The Flesch-Kincaid test is designed to assess the readability level of written text, with a formula that translates the score to a U.S. grade level. Longer sentences and sentences utilizing words with more syllables produce higher scores. Shorter sentences and sentences incorporating more monosyllabic words yield lower scores," the University of Minnesota's Eric Ostermeier explains.

You can drone on for hours, but keep the sentences short.  Just do it.  Lean forward.  You’re in good hands.  Hasta la vista, vocabulary class.

Shock replaces thoughtful commentary.  Emotional impact trumps reasoned arguments.  Repetition beats analysis.  The dumbing down of America has long been recognized and measured, and it is comfortable for me to blame the Far Right.  I think they tend to be sillier (Exhibit I: the 2012 nominating process).  If that is true, the Far Left at a minimum appears to be a willing accessory to the crime after the fact.

In an era when Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? is in syndication and the Kardashians are household names, no one party can be blameless.  I’ll call it 75% the GOP’s fault, 25% the Democrats’ fault.  After all, it’s the Democrats that are populated by snobbish college grads and elitist book-reading college professors.  I know that’s true.  I heard it on O’Reilly, right before he called the sitting Vice President of the United States a “pinhead”.

The greatest weapons in the war on thinking - not sticks and stones, just words, and those words are getting shorter and meaner.  Apparently, that's the way we like it.

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