It’s been a bonanza week for news commentators, with earthquakes, tell-all books, people saying “negro” two years ago—everything that makes a vibrant political discourse thrive. The big news, though, was that a certain someone jumped from national electoral politics to the big show: cable news commentating. When Bill O’Reilly welcomed Sarah Palin to Fox News, he told her that she had acquired a powerful tool, a bigger megaphone that she could at last use to shout back at her critics. The implication was that being a Fox commentator was a position of greater power than being governor of Alaska. And was he wrong? Sarah Palin is more popular now than she was when she had the full might of the Republican Party behind her. Rush Limbaugh has outlasted the Contract With America, three Presidents and presumably dozens of minor coronaries. And Glenn Beck can’t think. Powerful men all, and it’s hard to argue that they wield less influence over the American people than do Pelosi, Boehner and Reid. Perhaps that is as it should be. I, for one, welcome our new and increasingly bloated masters, and urge them to form a new government of Real Americans and questionable analogies to Hitler just as soon as they can. Won’t you join me in considering the beautiful world they’re creating? No? Okay, back to cat videos, then. I’ll see the rest of you after the jump.
Now must be a hard time to be an idiot in the American press. You go to all the trouble of writing a book that says the party whose national committee you chair isn’t ready to lead, get yourself on Hannity and make a bunch of invidious comparisons, then wrap up your remarks with an old-timey ethnic slur, only to be bumped from the national snarklight by Sarah Palin. You just can’t compete with that bitch. It seems like every time a prominent political figure does something stupid, Sarah Palin jumps in and yells that FDR faked polio so he could sit down all the time or whatever. Sometimes it feels like the incompetence of major political figures exceeds demand, and guys like Michael Steele—who would be saying crazy shit at Wisconsin Right To Life rallies in any other incompetence economy—are forced to practice their art in obscurity. Poor Michael Steele. When it comes to being a complete jerkoff, he’s Salieri to Palin’s Mozart.
By now you have probably heard that Sarah Palin has joined Fox News as a contributor, and will be providing “her political commentary and analysis across all Fox News platforms,” which by 2012 will presumably include blimps and children’s mouths. This is the kind of news event that makes so much sense, once it has happened, that you feel like you were time traveling and have suddenly caught up with the actual present. Why hasn’t Sarah Palin been working for Fox News since she graduated from college? It’s like watching Joseph Goebbels fuck The Riddler: difficult to see coming, but once it starts happening you know that only circumstances kept them apart for so long. “I am thrilled to be joining the great talent and management team at Fox News,” Palin said in a press release. “It’s wonderful to be part of a place that so values fair and balanced news.” And so it begins.
For those of us generally committed to cultural relativism, Uganda’s proposed anti-gay legislation raises some difficult issues. On the one hand, different cultures hold different values, and tolerance has little meaning when we only apply it to things we agree with. On the other hand, what the fuck is wrong with you people, people of Uganda? While they’ve backed off a little from the initial draconian bill—currently proposed legislation has abandoned the death penalty for repeat offenders in favor of life imprisonment, which, just for reference, never turned anybody straight—Ugandans still seem intent on eradicating homosexuals from their society. The question is, why now? Presumably, there have been gay dudes in Uganda forever, and it’s not like they’ve just had an Islamic revolution or anything. What could possibly have prompted the Ugandan government to declare homosexuality a threat to the nation in April of 2009—oh, hello, consortium of American evangelicals. You’re looking exceptionally tan. Is it because you just got back from leading a series of talks in Uganda about how homosexuals undermine Biblical values and threaten the traditional African family? What a coincidence—I was just talking about how Uganda has begun enacting legislation to systematically exterminate homosexuals. So, um, want to use the men’s room with me?
The photo at right comes from a whole set of shots of RNC chairman Michael Steele fallin’ out with his interns, at least one of whom appears to be developmentally disabled. Props to everyone’s favorite Meghan Gallagher for the link. 2009 draws rapidly to a close, which means that Combat! blog’s New Year’s resolutions—stop drinking well whiskey, provide a more balanced assessment of both ends of the American political spectrum, and reduce violations of resolution #1 to three per week—will soon be in force. Until then, though, screw those Chicken Little sons of rich bitches. There are two legitimate political parties in the United States right now. One of them is powerful, disorganized, corrupt and cowardly. The other is the GOP, which lacks political power but makes up for it by being well-coordinated and brave. Maybe “brave” isn’t the right word so much as “audacious.” Whether they’re organizing protests against quote-unquote tyrannical taxation three months into the new presidency or blaming the current crisis in health care on people who exercise too much, Republicans proved in 2009 that they know how to play from behind. In the process, they also made this one of the most hysterical, counterproductive years of American political discourse in recent memory. Oops. Then again, a lot of things have slipped from recent memory. As Timothy Egan points out, the GOP’s frothing over health care reform in 2009 is not unlike it’s general flip-out over Bill Clinton’s tax reform in 1993. Check it!