Sarah Palin Rocks On…

by Clio
November 17, 2009

Former Governor Sarah Palin is a rock star, according to political analysts on either side of the aisle. If that sounds like a glamorous description for one of the most influential and controversial public figures to mount the national political stage since Ronald Reagan, I beg to differ. I believe the media and pols use that term to diminish the former governor, not glorify her status or accomplishments.

There is an old saying, “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” If you’re a career politician, taking a definitive stand on anything is something most prefer to avoid. The GOP elite have found that criticizing Palin inflames her supporters and does not diminish her appeal (right, Newt?); her liberal adversaries are just coming around to that realization.

Well, if you can’t beat or join ‘em, consider a third option: spin. “Spin” isn’t just a Hollywood public relations gimmick; it’s a cornerstone of political rhetoric used on both sides of the aisle.

So, how does one “spin” Palin? How does a politician make fence-sitting or even disapproval seem favorable when questioned about the former governor by the media? Easy… introducing, Sarah Palin, Rock Star! If you’ve watched or read recent news reports or comments, it’s likely you’ve heard the governor described in those terms.

Clearly, Governor Palin is popular: “Going Rogue, An American Life” debuts on November 17, 2009. Former Governor Sarah Palin’s autobiography has topped the best seller lists for weeks; more than a million copies of book are pre-ordered. When the release date for the book was announced, almost two months before publication, the book became an instant hit.

Labeling Palin a rock star isn’t praise, although some might mistake it for such. A rock star is an ephemeral entity that thrives on glamour, spotlights and only sparkles in the delusion of smoke and mirrors. Most rockers are shooting stars whose popularity quickly fades. Very few rock stars, upon reaching the pinnacle of success, remain there for more than a few weeks or months. The list of famous names who continue to glitter under the glare of the lights for longer periods is very brief indeed.

There is nothing ephemeral about Governor Palin; this chick is no rock star. Governor Palin continues to gain in popularity with the conservative base more than a year after losing her vice-presidential bid and almost four months after resigning as governor. Her popularity isn’t based on her attractive looks or charisma; Sarah Palin’s devout following admire her strong and incontrovertible dedication to conservative issues, as well as her independent spirit. Thus far, Sarah Palin has outsmarted and outlasted her critics’ predictions of her political demise.

Liberals and Republicans are scratching deep gouges on their bewildered domes; they just don’t get Sarah Palin’s continued popularity, the fascination by the media or her strong, growing core group of dedicated supporters.

When Governor Palin resigned from office last summer, the political pundits delved into her decision and dissected it with barely-disguised delight. Most major news stories were pushed to the side while the talking heads debated Governor Palin’s political future. The consensus, particularly with liberals, is that her political future evaporated when she signed over the office to Sean Parnell. There were a few conservative and independent commentators who either supported her decision or adopted a “wait and see” attitude.

Almost four months after Governor Palin’s resignation, she is still on magazine and tabloid covers and remains one of the most talked about politicians in the country.

On Monday, November 16th, she appeared on “Oprah,” the first of many interviews in support of “Going Rogue.”

Palin critics have never found anything positive or noteworthy to say about her, so it’s no surprise that they’ve panned the book without reading it (and admitting such or, at best, read sections) and the reaction from fellow Republicans, to Governor Palin, her book and political future spans a critical spectrum from dire to enthusiastic.

Book sales and talk show schedules notwithstanding; Palin is creating a political platform for herself by utilizing an inexpensive but wildly effective means of delivering her views on national issues. Sarah Palin’s Facebook Notes are picked up by national news feeds, discussed and analyzed on the air and in prin. The former governor also uses Twitter to “tweet” brief updates and items about her views and news.

Many political candidates recognize the value and usefulness of the Internet in their political strategies, but haven’t realized the potential of social media, such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. Facebook, for example, has over 300 million members; Sarah Palin has over 1,006,000 members as of November 17, 2009. Social media is fast becoming the most powerful tool for information dissemination on the planet.

Case in point: the Iranian revolt earlier this year after the much-disputed results of their presidential election. The state shut down most media outlets, including the government-controlled Internet, but details, photos and video of the revolt went global via Twitter, texting, Facebook and other social media outlets. The power of these new media tools is formidable and Sarah Palin is using them with great success.

Governor Palin harnessed the capacity of social media via her Facebook Notes to confront Mr. Obama over aspects of his health care reform and to endorse a third-party candidate, Doug Hoffman, Conservative, for New York’s 23rd Congressional District. Democrat Bill Owens appears to be the victor in this race, but last weekend, we learned that Hoffman trails Owens by only 3000 votes and there are possibly as many as 10,000 uncounted absentee ballots.

Endorsing Doug Hoffman put Sarah Palin back in the top box on the cable news channels and gave her prominent placement in print publications. Pollsters questioned whether Palin’s backing would hurt, help or not even be a factor in what was a three-way race for the Congressional seat.

After Governor Palin’s announcement (former Senator Fred Thompson was one of the first to endorse Hoffman), Governor Tim Pawlenty, Senators Jim DeMint and Rick Santorum joined an impressive roster of political heavyweights and special interest groups supporting Hoffman’s candidacy. The Republican nominee, Assemblywoman DeDe Scozzafava, pulled out of the race after Hoffman surpassed her in the polls. Scozzafava’s parting gift to conservatives and Republicans was to throw her support to her opposition: Democrat Bill Owens.

Did Sarah Palin fail in her first national political endorsement since going to bat for Senator Chambliss in Georgia one year ago? No, in fact, in my estimation, picking Hoffman was a huge success for Palin. This is why:

– Doug Hoffman, a businessman in upstate New York, was an unknown entity, vying for the Congressional seat on third-party ticket. Governor Palin endorsed his candidacy just a couple of weeks before the election. Palin’s pick focused local and national media on this candidate whose poll numbers subsequently soared into a double-digit lead above the Republican Party nominee.
– Hoffman’s sudden and unexpected surge in the polls convinced his Republican opponent to withdraw.
– After former Senator Thompson and Governor Palin endorsed Hoffman, other conservative leaders followed suit.
– Hoffman may have lost (or may not … stay tuned), by only by 3% of the vote. Again, Hoffman is a political newcomer, late to the game and he nearly pulled off a win. I put a check in Sarah Palin’s column for her efforts in this race.

Regardless of the hopes and aspirations of GOP career politicians or the liberal opposition that fears her enduring and growing popularity, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin made an impact on America and continues to inspire and lead conservative voters in her focus on national issues. She isn’t sprinkled with stardust, nor is she golden. Sarah Palin is an individual and a force for conservative politics, however, her future goals are known only to her. The only thing of which I can be certain is that she’ll surprise us, she’ll do it her own way and she’ll rock our world – with good, solid strategy and dedication to the best interests of our country.

Stay connected to your laptop and check your BlackBerry or iPhone – we might get a tweet regarding her future plans.

“I’m not a prophet or a stone aged man, just a mortal with potential of a superman. I’m living on.”
David Bowie

Fort Hood: Terrorism or just a tragedy? Propaganda, Part I

by Clio

In my earlier blogs (“Man-Caused Disasters” and “Grab Your Merriam-Websters…”), I expressed disdain for the Obama administration’s terminology tinkering. “Man-Caused Disasters” focused on taking out terrorism and replacing it with an easier to digest “man-caused disaster.” “Grab Your Merriam-Websters…” examined the new policy of wiping out “war on terror,” giving preference to “global overseas contingency operations.”

When those exchanges were announced earlier this year, I felt so strongly about the White House’s word wrangling that I grabbed my laptop and pounded out a couple of blogs to express my disapproval. I had a feeling that these subtle substitutions marked the beginning of a campaign to change our opinions about the new government’s domestic and foreign policies.

It seems that Mr. Obama believes that if he expunges a certain word, such as “terrorism,” and replaces it with a less offensive term like “man-caused disaster,” the result will negate or change reality.

Reality arrived home last week in the form of an Army major at Fort Hood, Texas. Major Nidal Hasan murdered 13 people and wounded 29 others in first act of terrorism on American soil since September 11, 2001. News reports are surfacing regarding Major Hasan’s ties to radical imam Anwar al-Awlaki and Hasan’s attempts to contact members of Al Qaeda. In fact, there is enough information regarding Major Hasan, his activities and statements to launch a Senate inquiry into the shootings; other agencies will follow suit with their own investigations.

How did Mr. Obama respond to last week’s terrorist attack? During a brief press conference in the White House Rose Garden, Mr. Obama spent two minutes acknowledging a member of the audience and touting his health care package before he mentioned the Fort Hood attack: “… some of you might have heard there has been a tragic shooting at the Fort Hood Army base in Texas,” he told the assembled guests and cautioned “not to jump to conclusions” about the event.

Mr. Obama used poor judgment in failing to mention the attack on Fort Hood before giving “shout outs” and promoting ObamaCare, but I concur with his prudent advice about jumping to conclusions. Meanwhile, the facts are beginning to emerge and the evidence collected thus far suggests that a thorough examination of Major Hasan and his deadly acts is warranted.

On Tuesday, November 10th, the Commander-in-Chief spoke at a memorial service in honor of the fallen soldiers at Fort Hood Army Base. Again, Mr. Obama refused to use the term terrorism or even his own spin, “man-caused disasters.”

“This is a time of war. And yet these Americans did not die on a foreign field of battle. They were killed here, on American soil, in the heart of this great American community. It is this fact that makes the tragedy even more painful and even more incomprehensible.

It may be hard to comprehend the twisted logic that led to this tragedy. But this much we do know – no faith justifies these murderous and craven acts; no just and loving God looks upon them with favor. And for what he has done, we know that the killer will be met with justice – in this world, and the next.

We are a nation of laws whose commitment to justice is so enduring that we would treat a gunman and give him due process, just as surely as we will see that he pays for his crimes.” Barack Hussein Obama, Fort Hood Memorial Service, November 10, 2009

The attack was a “tragedy,” not terrorism, according to Obama, and Major Hasan is a “gunman” and a “killer,” but not a terrorist. The exclusion of the expunged terms is pertinent because there is significant evidence, not far-fetched right-wing conclusions, that Major Hasan is a terrorist and his words and deeds provide substance to the charge. Mr. Obama may not want to acknowledge that, after eight years without a terrorist attack on America, one just occurred during his first year in office.

“It is the absolute right of the State to supervise the formation of public opinion” – Joseph Goebbels

Author’s note: after posting this blog around 4am, I turned on the television. Commentators on FoxNews were discussing Major Hasan’s legal defense and his attorney’s intent to use a mental illness defense for his client. I’m quite certain that Major Hasan suffers from some mental malady (the diagnosis was psychopath, according to the commentators), but that begs the question: are all terrorists suffering from mental illness?

Surely, strapping explosives to one’s chest and walking into a building filled with innocent adults and children qualifies under that presumption. Piloting airplanes filled with highly explosive jet fuel and frightened passengers into skyscrapers and government offices – those 19 terrorists on September 11, 2001 were clearly mentally disturbed, as well as terrorist militants who engage in variety of murderous activities.

It all makes perfect sense to me; anyone who shouts “death to America” or carries signs that read “America is the Great Satan” is obviously a few nails short of a dirty bomb.

Will psychological illness become the new defense for terrorism? If so, what will that mean for those who were detained at Guantanamo Bay or tried, convicted and jailed for their attacks on America, its people and military? Should we release all of them for humanitarian reasons or ship them to a mental hospital to be tended by trained psychiatric staff?

If Major Hasan’s legal defense is successful, this could open a Pandora’s box in the prosecution of terrorism.

Psychopath or terrorist? Oh, here we go again… Shall we just trash our dictionaries and let liberals tell us what words mean and what we should or should not believe? It’s PROPAGANDA, my friends, an insidious ploy to stage manage our perception of the world and its dangers.

The Hitler/Goebbels Legacy; Mr. Obama and his Thesaurus… Propaganda, Part II

by Clio

Recently, we learned that “stimulus plans” are now “safety nets” – the latest addition to the Obama argot of more palatable phrases. In essence, there is nothing wrong with “stimulus plan,” except that it is now linked, in our collective mindset, with bailouts and trillion-dollar taxpayer debt. “Safety net” makes you feel protected, comfortable and less-stressed about the government incurring an astonishing national debt and that’s the point: safety nets are good things, like money saved for a rainy day, a bulging piggy bank, 401k or a reliable benefactor.

On the other hand, stimulus plans bring to mind Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, AIG, CitiBank, automobile manufacturer bailouts, exorbitant executive severance packages and luxurious corporate spa vacations. All of these issues and catastrophes are fresh in our minds and we remember that stimulus plans were put in place to, supposedly, salvage our economy and restore equilibrium in the marketplace.

Shall I put this language massage in context? It’s called PROPAGANDA.

“Propaganda is the deliberate, systematic attempt to shape perceptions, manipulate cognitions, and direct behavior to achieve a response that furthers the desired intent of the propagandist.” – Garth S. Jowett and Victoria O’Donnell, “Propaganda and Persuasion”

To be fair, propaganda is a tool that groups and individuals have used since time immemorial; every country has used propaganda at some time, in some way – including the United States.

The current administration uses propaganda in a very traditional manner, much like the Nazi’s did during WWII. Obama propaganda seeks to influence our thoughts, opinions and beliefs by taking seemingly unpleasant facts or words, regardless of proper usage, and replacing them with gentler, less scary or threatening expressions.

The relationships and attitudes of the current administration bring to mind the relationship between Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda architect and head of Nazi Germany’s Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda. Hitler valued Goebbels brilliance as a propagandist and installed him in a grand office near his own; they met often to discuss how to present information to the masses in a way that bolstered their political goals.

The purpose of the Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda was to promote the Nazi Party line and control German culture and society through its media and artists. All members of the media, writers, and artists were required to register with the Ministry and obtain permission before publishing or broadcasting their work. The Nazis also produced films, books and posters to support their party, enhance Hitler’s deified public image (courtesy of Goebbels) and propagate Nazi precepts.

One cannot over-emphasize the importance that Hitler, Goebbels and the Nazi party placed on the usefulness of propaganda in their military objectives. The Nazi propaganda campaign was successful in creating a messianic image of its leader and justifying its strategies to the populace, but Germany lost the war due to Hitler’s tactical miscalculations, his narcissism and belief in the infallible “der Fuhrer” persona that Goebbels created. Of course, Germany’s inability to repel the determination and might of Allied Forces also contributed to the Nazi military failure. (That’s my over-simplified recap; I don’t want to write a thesis on WWII.)

It is not truth that matters, but victory” – Adolf Hitler

Can you visualize a similar scenario with Obama and David Axelrod or Rahm Emanuel?

Luckily for Mr. Obama, the mainstream media, including Internet news and blog sites, are already onboard with the administration’s propaganda policies. In fact, they volunteered prior to the election, thus negating the need for our own Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda – for now.

It’s important to note that the Obama White House is currently engaged in a “war” on Fox News, accusing the news organization of being in league with or an arm of the Republican Party, while other conservative broadcasters and writers are routinely denigrated or denied interview requests by this liberal administration.

We know that past presidents had “feuds” with various media due to unflattering reportage, but declaring war on a particular organization is alarming; our First Amendment rights are precious and we cannot be passive as Mr. Obama puts our Bill of Rights in his sights.

Conservative journalists and broadcasters are concerned about attempts by the left-wing to revive the Fairness Doctrine which requires broadcasters to provide opposing views on issues of national importance. Many fear the federal government mandating debate and opposing opinions to views expressed by our media and with good reason; it’s a first step to controlling our freedom of speech.

The Fairness Doctrine was abolished in 1987 during the Reagan administration. Last February, Republican Senator Jim DeMint, South Carolina, proposed the Broadcaster Freedom Act; legislation that prevents the Federal Communications Commission from re-instating the Fairness Doctrine. Sen. DeMint’s bill passed, 87-11. However, Senator Richard Durbin, Democrat, Illinois, countered with an amendment that essentially negates Sen. DeMint’s amendment. Sen. Durbin’s amendment passed, 57-41.

While Mr. Obama professes to oppose the Fairness Doctrine, it has not deterred liberal senators from attempting to revive it through cleverly crafted “stealth” amendments, such as legislation that encourages media diversity. Regardless of Obama’s public position, we must be vigilant and wary of our leaders’ true agendas.

“Great ambition, the desire of real superiority, of leading and directing, seems to be altogether peculiar to man, and speech is the great instrument of ambition.” – Adam Smith

Language management falls in line with message manipulation; when the government takes charge of the media, our First Amendment rights are annulled.

You’ve heard this cliché before: words have power. Under Mr. Obama’s governance, words are manipulated to mislead and mask potential dangers to our lives, economy and our country’s security (see aforementioned blogs). His propaganda is verbal kool-aid for the masses; drink deeply and consume great quantities and you’ll find yourself taxed to financial insolvency and vulnerable to the very real threats our nation faces.

This is my third blog on the topic of our new government’s propaganda/language wrangling; the unapologetic exploitation of information in order to make us acquiesce, accept and agreeable to Mr. Obama’s plans is organically offensive to me.

Those of us who work in communications-related professions understand that words are the proverbial two-edged sword; one can influence, in a positive or negative manner, opinion by the choice and use of vocabulary. We understand and respect language – it is our livelihood, passion and domain. Messing with the message, particularly by politicians and news outlets, is commonplace and it is not harmless. It is a form of brain-washing and in the hands of Obama’s administration, media sycophants and czars; it is dangerous and inexcusable to use liberal newspeak to dupe the American people.

A word of warning for those who will listen: don’t allow yourself to be comforted or misled by some clever lingo legerdemain – demand honesty, in plain, unadulterated expression from the powers that be and always listen between the lines … that is where you may find the truth.

“How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don’t think.” – Adolf Hitler