Thursday, October 23, 2008

People Are Strange

Since the publication of Jane Mayer's New Yorker article about Sarah Palin, I've been monitoring the comments on the Draft Sarah Palin For Vice-President blog alluded to by Mayer. Most of it is dull and fatuous. There's a lot if whistling in the dark, media and poll bashing, and reassurances that whatever happens on November 4 will be God's will. Of greatest curiosity is the debate between  supporters of one crackpot idea -- that Obama is actually a citizen of Kenya and not the United States -- and those of an utterly shattered pot -- that he is actually an illegitimate child fathered by a Marxist pedophile friend of the family. I kid you not.

Plainly, both "ideas" hold about as much water as a butterfly net, if that much. One poster is convinced that as soon as the truth about Obama's lineage emerges (she subscribes to the citizen of Kenya theory), he will be forced from the ticket and replaced by Hillary Clinton. Her main concern is that Obama's trip to visit his ailing grandmother in Hawaii is actually a cover story that will allow him to personally destroy the evidence, and hopes that the media will tail him. Again, I kid you not.

The fixation of the right with Obama's ancestry fascinates. It echoes, resoundingly, the slaveholding and  southern and colonialist system of defining "black" according to the fraction of African ancestry. The French colonialists of Sainte-Domingue constructed a system of classification that identified 64 different types of black person, from full-blooded African to one-sixty-fourth African. (No link; my source is an appendix of the complete nomenclature in All Soul's Rising, Madison Smartt Bell's novel about Toussaint Louverture and the Haitian slave revolution.) It was an obsession aimed at preserving white status and, no doubt, at assuaging doubts about the legitimacy of slavery. Psychologically, it springs from the same poisoned well as the frenzied right-wing attempts to project Obama as not one of us...

Readers from Seattle are will appreciate this bit of comedy from one of the blog comments: 
"Have you ever read the Wikipedia bio of Obama? Barry' mother came of age not in Kansas (another fantasy) but in liberal Seattle in one of the most liberal schools, Mercer Island High School. Many of her teachers were socialists or maxists. It makes sense that she would be infatuated with one."
(The "one" being the family friend who allegedly impregnated her with the next President of the United States.) Now, when Ann Dunham attended high school in the late Fifties, you would no more likely spot a Marxist on Mercer Island than you would see an African-American in a noncustodial job. Until a few years ago, it was as rock-ribbed, country club Republican as it gets...

Parts 2 and 3 of the LA Times series about the health care system are here and here. Part 2 shows how insurers, using Healthcare Savings Accounts as a spearhead, are "moving away from their traditional role of pooling health risks and are reinventing themselves as money managers -- providers of financial vehicles through which consumers pay for their own healthcare." Part 3 explores the extent to which insurers have dedicated resources to not paying hospital and doctor bills that they had already agreed to cover, and the stress that puts on the system's capacity for providing health care...

Moderation breaks out at a McCain rally...

Apparently, the McCain campaign did not permit the Muslim state campaign chair from the video to appear on CNN. I suppose that at this point they are looking at such an electoral rout that they are unwilling to ruffle the feathers of the right-wing base even to publicize something that might appeal to independents...

Meanwhile, Chris Matthews obliterates McCain spokesperson Nancy Pfotenhauer on the topic of Palin's weird contention that the vice-president is "in charge" of the Senate:

5 comments:

Molly The Dog said...

I watched this on Hardball last night. Absolutely appalling. She doesn't need to be a "constitutional scholar" to know the answer to the question. Even I know that answer and I'm not running for VP or the chief advisor of someone who's running for president. Looks like McInsane forgot to vet his chief advisor too.

Sylvia K said...

It all just gets more bizarre by the day! Oh, please tell me it will be over in another eight days!

K. said...

I wish I could, Sylvia, but according to my calendar we're still 12 days and change away. Larry David says that this is worse than waiting for biopsy results!

Scrumpy's Baker said...

This Nancy lady freaks me out.

K. said...

SB: She looks alarmingly like Cyndi McCain.