Chicago Politics

“Back since the days of old Methuselah,

Everyone loves a big bamboozler.”

I was forcibly reminded of Fred Ebb’s immortal lyrics from “Chicago” as I watched Sarah Palin and Carrie Prejean take to the airwaves, mercilessly, these past few days to generally make asses of themselves, but nonetheless be treated with undeserved respect and attention wherever they went.  The iconic and much revived 1975 musical was warning about shallow and celebrity-obsessed media infecting and upending the justice system, which was certainly a prescient fear in that pre-OJ era, but even people as darkly imaginative as Kander and Ebb could never have envisioned the way such claptrap has so completely taken over our political system that vacuous, amoral people like Palin and Prejean aren’t just anomalies that might slip through the cracks of criminal justice, but now could easily end up running for office,  or worse, at the rate the media is going.

Give ‘em the old hocus pocus, bead and feather ‘em

How can they see with sequins in their eyes?

What if your hinges are all rusting,

What if, in fact, you’re just disgusting?

Razzle dazzle ‘em, and they’ll never catch wise.

The Republicans must have had that verse at least vaguely in mind when they spent all that money on Sarah Palin’s wardrobe, just as the California pageant officials clearly did when they fronted Prejean some cash for a bigger pair.  Republicans have this style over substance thing down pat, and they dedicate a lot of resources to it.  Palin whined in her “book” that that fattie Steve Schmidt wanted to bring in a nutritionist for her, but he did so for the best of reasons; he thought complex carbs might make her brain work better.  Her ass was just fine, thank you; it was the other end that was giving them all the trouble.  Prejean spent some time studying Jesus’ thoughts on breast implants first, of course, but once thus spiritually reassured, eagerly grabbed the cash and went rack-shopping.

Give ‘em the old three ring circus, stun and stagger ‘em.

When you’re in trouble, go into your dance.

Though you are stiffer than a girder,

They’ll let you get away with murder….

For these two, the trouble started so early, as well as the subsequent dancing, that it’s almost a chicken and egg conundrum trying to piece the cycle together.  Palin had somebody write, with a straight face, about her dramatic revelation of a “22 year old skeleton in her closet” to the McCain vetting team.  Before you run down and get a copy, the dark secret was that she once (!) got a “D” in college.  Pregnant daughter, corrupt administration, free house from political cronies, but she somehow thought the “D” was important.  Even a stopped clock is right twice a day, as subsequent events would somewhat extravagantly prove.  Prejean’s troubles came a bit later in her “career,” and since intellectually she bears the sad distinction of making Sarah Palin look like Marie Curie, she handled them considerably more poorly.  Honestly, Miss California is a little different than the vice presidency, but if you have a dozen or so solo sex tapes floating around on the internet, keeping a low profile is kind of key to getting the job.  Parading yourself before the world as Miss Morals self-evidently fails to meet this crucial test, and after walking off a few sets, you’re unlikely to be invited on many more.

Long as you keep ‘em way off balance,

How can they spot you’ve got no talents?

Razzle dazzle ‘em…   and they’ll make you a star!

This seems to be the strategy of last resort for both of these narcissistic dingbats, and as they gaze at themselves in the mirror of the media, their dreams are coming true.  Since each has built their manufactured personae based not only on their own intuitive market research, but on the richly-deserved ridicule they get from the smarter members of the public, negative attention adds fuel to their incendiary egos.  Bad publicity is not only just as good as the other kind, it’s better. Storming off Larry King was determined by Prejean’s handlers to be such ratings gold that they even rehearsed it with her, but she still screwed it up…  Ah, well.  Maybe Steve Schmidt’s nutritionist might have another gig coming.  And how enlightening it was to hear that Sarah had been “badgered” by the “biased” Katie Couric, after reluctantly agreeing to those disastrous interviews only because she “felt sorry” for Katie, with her poor ratings and all.  She was, in the tundra between her ears and the ghostwritten pages of her “book,” the best thing that ever happened to Katie, and once again the stopped clock turned out to be right.

Give ‘em an act with lots of flash in it,

and the reaction will be passionate

Give ‘em a show that’s so splendiferous,

Row after row will grow vociferous.

Especially Sean Hannity et al.  It’s the Republican version of Chicago Politics, and it’s coming to a screen near you.  And not for nothing, these gals are counting on it.

These trials…  the whole world.   It’s all show business!

Billy Flynn had it right.  How can we hear the truth above the roar?


  1. rmp says:

    Probably the saddest outcome of shinning the light on these star assholes is those who are forgotten. The poor, locked up, sick and dying because far too many RWCAs (that C stands for Cowardly) are keeping their supporters and the media in a fantasy world. A world where people are not held accountable for their terrible and hurtful decisions. Accountability is the only thing that could possibly shut down this sorry show down. Do you have any ideas on how we can start that process?

    PS You didn’t comment on Portland’s new marijuana cafe. Hey, I have an idea. We can pass a law that all RWCAs must undergo marijuana therapy so they can learn to loosen up their tight minds and orifices.

    • cocktailhag says:

      I thought about covering the opening for CHNN, but you not only have to have a card, they also make you sit there until it wears off. Sounded kind of dreary. When I was in LA, I went to grab a pack of smokes near Rebecca’s office on Venice Blvd, and Abbot Kinney, and I walked into a place filled with paraphernalia and actual pot, displayed in transparent vials, for sale. It was a “dispensary,” of the sort the LAPD is fixing to close. But basically, it’s a retail marijuana business pulling in a lot of sales taxes. Can’t have that, you know.
      I think the GOP flight from reality was born of the necessity to do so. Such destructive and harmful policies can’t be sold honestly, you know, and the girls in Chicago were both guilty, too.

  2. dirigo says:

    A guy I know who works in the fashion industry digressed for moment into a point about politics.

    He was talking about how to make it in bling basically, admitting that what fashion services are about are, largely, ephemeral and superficial things, to move the merchandise.

    However, in making his observation about politics, its strategies and justifications, he said – about the fashion industry: “At least we are honest about what we’re doing.”

    Prejean and Palin are somewhat equivalent in their bling qualities (although I’m sure Sarah would insist she’s quite “serious”).

    But Palin, much more than Prejean, bears close watching, because her advisors and supporters want to follow her to a place where bling meets real power.

    She’s a very pretty Trojan horse, a much different commodity than Carrie, more than just a pretty face with a way with fishing and moose hunts.

    She is a woman of ideas.

    • rmp says:

      And at the end or your link was this:

      On Sunday, Brooks did get a bit of pushback to his Palin skepticism. Speaking right after him on the “This Week” panel, PBS’ Gwen Ifill urged her compatriots not to “underestimate the degree to which women will be drawn to her story.”

      “And that is who she is speaking to,” she added. “These are people who are ignored, who nobody counts into their thinking.”

      Gwen seems to forget Palin’s position on abortion. I refuse to believe that the majority of women would vote for an idiot who certainly doesn’t represent them just because she is a women. Gwen disrespected women with that remark.

  3. nailheadtom says:

    ” Republicans have this style over substance thing down pat”

    It must have been GOP set designers that put the faux columns on the stage in Denver, right?

    More ad hominem criticism so typical of the neo-Bolsheviks. If you can’t take the time or make the intellectual effort to rationally refute their ideas, just make fun of their appearance, education, families, anything but the subjects that matter. The genuine criminal behavior of the likes of Rangel, Murtha, Jefferson, Rostenkowski, Dodd, Blagojevich and hundreds more get Photo-Shopped out of the group photo of Dem apparatchiks, disappearing down the left-wing memory hole while you mental midgets try to make Palin’s posterior and Prejean’s breast augmentation matters of national import. Let’s hear about Joe Biden’s hair implants if authentic appearance is so important. Could be that a few other members of congress of both sexes have had appearance modification issues, too. How about an interview with San Fran Nan’s plastic surgeon?

    • cocktailhag says:

      Refute their ideas? And what would those be? Ah, none. Then you launch into your own ad hominems. Political campaigns do build sets, you know. Remember “Mission Accomplished? How about Jackson Square, Mt. Rushmore, the Statue of Liberty, and on and on. Bush’s whole presidency was one big stage show. Boy, you’re dumb.

      • nailheadtom says:

        You don’t even know what an ad hominem is, evidently. It’s a tribute to the computer business, and American industry in general, that a person with your level of intelligence can successfully advance his non-ideas into cyberspace. Too bad they can’t put you in touch with reality as well.

        • dirigo says:

          Oh come on, Mr. Geneticist, if we’re all honest for a moment, we’ll admit that the entire daily diet of American politics is nothing but ad hominem.

          This is nothing new; but really, the virulence from the right knows no bounds, especially going back about forty some years. The bonkers factor in terms of rabid rhetoric, nationalistic posturing, and cardboard candidates, belongs entirely to the right.

          No one is good enough. No one has the patriotic bona fides, and no one knows sacrifice like we do. No one knows how to fly the flag. No one believes in free markets, God, or borders secure from millions of heathen terrorists. No one believes the tired, old earth can heal itself after 250 years of the spewing of fossil fuels. And no one believes we should send thousands more of our wonderful volunteer soldiers to the new fool’s errand half way across the friggin’ globe, for as long as it takes.

          No one is as pure as we are.

          • nailheadtom says:

            “the virulence from the right knows no bounds”

            Maybe there is a “right” and a “left” in the US political spectrum, but it seems more likely that there are two contenders vying to head a statist enterprise that functions at the will of its bureaucracy. The House doesn’t draw up a “health care reform” bill, congressional staffers, lobbyists, and agency apparatchiks do. All unelected. Your consistent denigration of the GOP and fawning over the Dems resembles the fans of the NFL, Packer backers fomenting against the Bears, when both teams are simply parts of one huge enterprise meant to monopolize Sunday afternoon and Monday night entertainment. And even a casual, non-political observer can see that charlatans like Keith Olbermann leak virulence from every pore. But the political community loves this stuff, it gets the dummies to the polls and their votes validate the whole circus.

          • cocktailhag says:

            If it weren’t for projection, you would have nothing at all to write, Tom. I would point out that it is Republicans that march in lock step and vote unanimously on everything. It’s over at Fox where when a Republican gets in a scandal a “D” appears by his name. Dems aren’t now, nor have they ever been, a movement of automatons like the Republicans. Nor are they, generally, authoritarian. Republicans are.
            I, and many others on the left, have routinely criticized the Obama administration for its corporatist/authoritarian moves, something Republicans never did for eight long years or overreach and incompetence during Bush.
            If you’re looking for groupthink and mindless rah-rah-ing, look in the mirror.

          • dirigo says:

            You assume I’m “fawning over the Dems.”

            I am not.

            I’m “gone, far gone,” as Polonius says of Hamlet.

            Your parameters are showing.

    • timothy3 says:

      Heh, this is particularly amusing:

      If you can’t take the time or make the intellectual effort to rationally refute their ideas, just make fun of their appearance, education, families, anything but the subjects that matter.

      What ideas might those be? Palin’s concern over the weighty issue of where, exactly, “In God We Trust” appears on a coin? It’s worrisome, indeed, as she points out: “It’s a disturbing trend” and all the moreso because GWB’s admin approved it.
      And then there’s Prejean, she of the at-least-one sex tape who fervently believes gay marriage is simply awful! Because Mom and Dad said so, that’s why.
      And her primary concern about that tape? It constitutes a less-than-religious act? Nope.

      It was the biggest mistake of my life. Never did I think it would ever come out. But it was bad judgment and it’s embarrassing.

      Bad judgement–check.
      A mistake–check.
      An embarrasment–check.
      Sinful? Eh, not so much.

      As for Rangel, et. al., feel free to write it up on your blog. Just remember that Rostenknowski served time, Jefferson just got 13 years and Blago was impeached, removed from office and awaits trial under federal indictment.
      You can write about that, too, while you grapple with Palin’s and Prejean’s “ideas.” I’m sure the Universe awaits their enlightened and rarefied observations on the nature of life and the intricacies of human interaction.

      • cocktailhag says:

        Thanks, T3…. I keep waiting for Nailhead’s blog, too. It’s going to be much funnier than mine you know, and even when discussing Nancy Pelosi’s plastic surgery it won’t ever have the kind of “ad hominems,” (whatever those are) that I evidently always have here.
        I could even do a cartoon for him, with a hammer coming down on a nail in the form of a bolshevik/utopian/whatchamacallit.
        I’d go there just to read the comments.

  4. The Heel says:

    Another brilliant piece, Tart,
    Thanks for making us laugh. Sitting in bed with Justine, we were wondering if a nation that has a track record of electing imbeciles into office could actually go as far as electing one of those hot Jesus-bimbos President. Being the chauvinistic heel that I am, I secretly hope and pray for it. At least it would be balm for the eyes and a good laugh when they talk.
    See, after the “Holy Jelly Beaner” incident (including a second term,no less) the rest of the world had to conclude that Americans are capable of electing just about anything. Then came Dubbya to ride that point home. Mickey Mouse or Spider Man would not shock many people anymore (Let’s just envision a minor change to the constitution to allow virtual reality entities to hold office, as long as they are controlled by American born corporations).
    And now that the Changeling has once and for all demonstrated that it really doesn’t matter who is President, why don’t you join me and embrace this glamorous style of apocalypse? After all, the US would look very pretty at those international summits where less glamorous nations are predominantly represented by (at best horny) old farts.

    I firmly believe in “Pro-Choice” on all levels. Any empire consequently should have the right to chose how it vanishes. I am beginning to be proud to be a citizen of the US of A.

    “Heute gehoert uns Kalifornien und morgen die ganze Welt….”

    • cocktailhag says:

      On some dark level, I do agree with you, Heel. But then I think of Joan when she used to say, “But what about the little guys?” As a father, I’d think you cared about the future a little more than I do, and would worry about the world you’re leaving for your children. Can they get dual citizenship? I’d work on it. Let them watch the the Holy Barbies from the peace and prosperity of the Fatherland.
      Glad you checked in, and hello to Justine. I’ll be in LA Thanksgiving week.

    • cocktailhag says:

      That was one of several articles I read as I was stoking this idea. Dang, but I wish I had a copy. I’d like to go after the writing, which sounds abominable, but I’m too embarrassed to go to Powell’s, and conflicted to giving that girl the only thing she cares about, money. In a month it’ll be in the remainder bin for four bucks; then I might jump.

  5. nailheadtom says:

    Jennifer Rubin – 11.15.2009 – 8:11 AM

    The unhinged Palin haters are back. And they haven’t deviated from the familiar plotlines. She’s a sexed-up tabloid star, you see. (”Why be Evita, when you can be Madonna?’) Get it ? She’s a slutty celebrity. And she’s a Christian whack job with no public-policy views: “Sarah Palin appears to have no testable core conviction except the belief (which none of her defenders denies that she holds, or at least has held and not yet repudiated) that the end of days and the Second Coming will occur in her lifetime.”

    Yes, this is where they left off when Palin was still running for office and Joe Biden was regarded as the serious vice-presidential candidate. It matters not if much of the claptrap (she banned books, she doesn’t want evolution taught, etc.) has been debunked by the meticulous work of Matthew Continetti (whose book about Sarah Palin is actually a devastating critique of the mainstream media and the very people who are now back frothing at the mouth). It matters not that she seized the floor in the health-care debate and has a million followers on Facebook who can read her views on energy policy and other issues without the media filter. The Palin-attack machine is good business and earns the approving nods of cable-news-show bookers and magazine editors.

    We left the realm of facts and decency many, many months ago when it came to coverage of Palin. The question now remains whether once again the Palin haters will manage only to endear her to the conservative base – and even those not entirely sold on her political prospects.

    • dirigo says:

      Whether Ms. Palin endears herself to the “conservative base” is not as important as whether, in the end, she is qualified to be president of the United States.

      That is a question much larger than any political faction, however small or deranged.

      If, in determining the question, it is necessary – with Katie Couric as referee – that Ms. Palin sit on hot coals for a half-hour on prime time television, so be it. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.

      It does appear as though Ms. Palin thinks she need not run the gauntlet, like everyone else.

      Is she, then, special?

      I think not.