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Tilting at Windmills

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October 25, 2008
By: Hilzoy

National Review Meltdown Watch

The National Review front page link to this article asks:

"Is there a connection between the criticisms of vice-presidential hopeful Sarah Palin and repressed post-abortion grief?"

Let me think long and hard about this one:


This has been another edition of 'Simple Answers To Stupid Questions' (TM Atrios).

The slightly more complicated answer: given all the obvious reasons to criticize Sarah Palin, why on earth would anyone feel the need to reach for something as exotic and far-fetched as repressed post-abortion grief? It's like asking: Why do people dislike George W. Bush? Could it be an unconscious feeling of empathy with scrubby plants and brush?

Hilzoy 1:56 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (29)

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Hmmm ...

Which is more likely:

A. Criticism of candidate is due to post-abortion grief.

B Criticism of candidate because the candidate is an incompetent puppet of an ideological rigid segment of a failing political party that ran America into the ground for eight years.

Posted by: BombIranForChrist on October 25, 2008 at 2:56 AM | PERMALINK

The article seems to be written in the anti-abortion movement equivalent of the laziest forms of feminist or Marxist analysis, where the author interprets the world through a defining struggle that is what everything else is presumed to be about; its, ultimately, a kind of intellectual wanking that doesn't provide any insight or persuasive value, but can be comforting to readers who either are desperately searching for an alternative explanation for unpleasant events or come from the same ideological background as the author (and doubly so where both apply).

Posted by: cmdicely on October 25, 2008 at 3:17 AM | PERMALINK

Isn't Atrios's bit "Simple Answers to Simple Questions"?

Posted by: mp on October 25, 2008 at 3:20 AM | PERMALINK

No, mp, we are all aware of all internet traditions.

Posted by: bad Jim on October 25, 2008 at 4:34 AM | PERMALINK

I think you missed the point, Hilzoy. The linked article isn't coming up with a far-fetched reason to criticize Sarah Palin; it's coming up with a far-fetched reason for why Sinful Librul Wimmin who Murder Their Unborn Babies, Irrationally Reject Sarah Palin.

Because in their minds, all those Librul Wimmin should be Palin supporters, because she's got a vagina and all. Since that's the sum total of their understanding of feminism, there must be some Mysterious Reason why feminists dislike Sarah.

And this is the sort of Mysterious Reason that, laid bare, makes them feel better about themselves, since it slams abortion, and slams Librul Wimmin.

The NRO piece doesn't explicitly go this far, but it sets up a narrative painting Librul Wimmin as being in need of rescue - needing the patient help of understanding wingnuts in coming to terms with their (supposed) repressed grief. And once they do, they'll of course realize that abortion is evil, and turn Republican.

Quite the fantasy, I know, but they're grasping at straws at this point.

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on October 25, 2008 at 6:39 AM | PERMALINK


This only shows how repressed you are.

It'll take a lifetime of therapy to see the connection. Maybe not even that...

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on October 25, 2008 at 6:48 AM | PERMALINK

For some cognitively-ridiculous reason; a reason beyond all human, parahumnan, subhuman, semihuman, interhuman, intrahuman, and extrahuman definitions of just how stupid an antihuman question can be, the National Rectum proposes an inquiry by what---a "licensed social worker"?

A "licensed social worker" with no legitimate training or recognizable licensure in the field of Psychology in "repressed post-abortion grief" or any other psychological condition, real or imagined, somehow garners the legitimacy to publish an article on a " Parisian fashion-designer-esque" psychological condition---and then use it to justify why people hate the living daylights out of Sarah Palin?

It becomes increasingly difficult, on a daily basis that borders on the hourly, the momentary, and the maniacally-endless, to fathom the depths to which these insidiously-shallow examples of humankind---these bordering-on-tail-tucking-Howler-monkey models of simian self-carnage---will stoop to force the responsibility for their political demolition on those who would not, will not, and shall never in their worst of worst nightmarish imaginations conceive the non-existent qualifications of Sarah Palin to be anything other than an insult of the highest order.

An insult to the Offices of the Vice-Presidency; an insult to the United States of America; an insult to every female member of the human race---my wife and my two daughters included.

The article, from beginning to end, seeks to paint each and every individual who rejects a McCain/Palin ticket on the grounds of Palin's overtly-simplistic disqualifications, with a tarred brush no less wide than the North Slope itself, designed to place a label on every human who does not bow down to "Her Bullwinkle-ness" as being the recipient of an abortion procedure. It is no less an act of hatred than was the Nazi practice of sewing yellow Stars of David on persons of Jewish ancestry during the European nightmare known as the Third Reich, and it is no less a weapon of division than were the South Carolinian cannons employed to fire on Fort Sumter in the Spring of 1861 and the collective fearmongery and hatefulness of the attack dogs and truncheons of white-supremacist law enforcement officers to impede the Civil Rights movement.

It should now be without any doubt that such overt "incedulosity," if I might apply such a term, is not applied as a means toward the end that would be represented by a McCain victory in 2008 so nearly as much as it is toward the new end of preliminary planning for a resurgent tsunami of spiteful hate against all things not indirect alignment with what we might term "Ultra-Political Theology," whereby religion and its connected dogmatisms, in a manner not far segregated from the definitive notions of Fascism itself, becomes a bastardized creature for the sole and singularly-focused purpose of attaining complete political power over the People.

This article, and the self-incriminating excuse for an online publication that dared place it online (yes---I'm pointing at the National Review with the determination of a capital-crimes prosecutor on this one) are nothing more than the tools of terror employed by the psychotic insanities of the American Taliban and their endless effort to wage a War of Terror upon the United state, its Constitution, and those among its People who will not kowtow to the heinous, heretic misinterpretations of the philosophical properties of their own religion.

It is time to face the aggressive nature of this domestic Terror, and to wage our own war against it---with an aggression of superior determination spiritually worthy of both the United States of America, and its Constitution....

Posted by: Steve W. on October 25, 2008 at 7:13 AM | PERMALINK

Personally, I must confess that I had almost entirely forgotten that Sarah Palin had a family; it had sort of slipped my mind that Todd and the rest of the gang were anything more than stage props for the campaign effort. I am also embarrassed to say that I have never been personally involved in an abortion procedure in any way (unlike some unfortunate individuals, such as Tom DeLay, who is an abortion). But I have been affected by PTSD and threat of dismemberment, and it may be that Sarah Palin's unblinking readiness to "go there" is getting in the way of my sensitivities. I'm kind of busy right now, but maybe after the election I should consider therapy.

Posted by: Jassalasca Jape on October 25, 2008 at 8:00 AM | PERMALINK

"Is there a connection between the criticisms of vice-presidential hopeful Sarah Palin and repressed post-abortion grief?"

"Sarah Palin" is just a vehicle for raising the issue of "post-abortion greif" in this case. It doesn't matter if the question makes sense, because the goal is to raise an issue and establish a premise.

I haven't read anyone on this post deny there are such things as "post-abortion greif" or "repressed post-abortion greif."

Who here thinks there are such things and why or why not?

I also think most people pre-suppose that Palin herself has never had an abortion. We actually don't know, and hopefully never will. That's the point of Roe V. Wade.

Posted by: Haik Bedroisan on October 25, 2008 at 8:04 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, look over there! It's Halley's Comet!!

Posted by: jcricket on October 25, 2008 at 8:13 AM | PERMALINK

This should be a non-issue. Abortion has been legal for 35 years - get over it. Any discussion should be background - just like Obama has made it. It should NOT be the main discussion of any platform. How about financial, economy, health care, international issues, jobs, etc.....these should be main topics.

Women's health issues should encompass brth control topics but under that area only - taking it separate and on its own is long over done. Get on to the critical issues of the day.

Posted by: wom45 on October 25, 2008 at 8:15 AM | PERMALINK

Actually NR, it's because we're envious of her wisdom, scope/depth of knowledge and her foreign policy PhD.

Cue Cynical Harsh Laughter.

Are you fucking kidding me?

Posted by: Former Dan on October 25, 2008 at 8:15 AM | PERMALINK

Wow, Steve! Can you tell us how you really feel about this? Just kidding.

We are seeing all of the possible permutations and twists in the counter arguments to a very simple and indisputable fact that Palin has already risen 3 grades above the level of her competency and stunted world view.

Posted by: lou on October 25, 2008 at 8:15 AM | PERMALINK

OK. Even if this is true, how does one explain the boatloads of people who have never had abortions, will never have abortions, CAN NEVER GET PREGNANT BECAUSE THEY LACK THE KEY COMPONENTS and still think Sarah Palin is one of the biggest turds currently floating in the political punch bowl.

Post-not-blowing-up-an-abortion-clinic-to-stop-the-killing guilt, I guess.

Posted by: tAwO 4 That 1 on October 25, 2008 at 8:17 AM | PERMALINK

'incompetent puppet of an ideological rigid segment of a failing political party that ran America into the ground for eight years.'

Try 28 years. Oh, and they did have a little help.

Posted by: Michael7843853 on October 25, 2008 at 8:36 AM | PERMALINK

The sad truth about Sarah Palin from those who know her best...

Posted by: Roschelle on October 25, 2008 at 8:43 AM | PERMALINK

Anger at Palin is due to the fact that she's a cynical choice (a pretty woman who is manifestly unqualified) whose brief, positive effect on the McCain campaign's prospects scared the behoosis out of Obama supporters. Fortunately, Palin revealed herself as incompetent, the momentary groundswell receded, and we can now laugh at her presence in the campaign.

Posted by: duBois on October 25, 2008 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

It's probably because only something as uniquely powerful and consuming as repressed post-abortion grief could possibly counterbalance the pervading and compelling light of Holy-Spirit-guided Truth that Sarah Palin is the best-qualified person ever to run for the office of the Vice Presidency.

Posted by: bleh on October 25, 2008 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

I am a Roman Catholic who prays daily and attends Mass frequently besides every Sunday.

This NRO article was such a disgrace. "May"?

"May"? What kind of argument proceeds from the word "may"? A fact-free argument. I gathered Burke is a priest and I was amazed that he would use that construction. One can easly imagne every enemy of the Church asking questions that use that weasel word?

"The recent actions of the Church 'may' stem from...."

It is the fascist word in polite company. Sure Sarah Palin has lied and was presented as a lie, but it "may" be that the reason she fell on her face after such universal enthusiasm from even david Letterman was that she cannot tell a truth. She is the Reverse George Washington, and the Mate Bill Clinton, the consummate liar, was meant from birth to have.

The real question is why is God so cruel to Hillary that Sarah was born too late for Bill to marry

Posted by: tjproudamerican on October 25, 2008 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

"Is there a connection between the criticisms of vice-presidential hopeful Sarah Palin and repressed post-abortion grief?"

Say what?

Even rational people who are anti-abortion, and there are plenty of us ("rational" excludes the fundie holy roller right-wing punks or the despicable loonies who bomb abortion clinics) criticize Sarah Palin for her incompetence, except as the Republicans' talking points conduit to the red-meat base. And for giving Tina Fey a few months' bonus work (no more than that, we hope).

With comments like these from the right, no wonder Christopher Buckley stopped writing for the National Review.

Posted by: Vincent on October 25, 2008 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

Since conservatism as obviously correct, non-believers are obviously emotionally or intellectually defective. Who among us knew, for example, that advocacy of civil liberties stemmed from a desire to oppress!?! No single individual is up to the heroic task of cataloging the massive delusions and traumas each of us suffer from. A team of writers fueled by Cheetos and corporate cash can only hope to begin this awesome undertaking, fully aware that the devious nature of the liberal, inscrutable to even Rush himself sometimes, suggests that its completion is yet another Conservative fantasy.

Posted by: scudbucket on October 25, 2008 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

These are the people who sincerely believe that most white people support Obama to assuage their feelings of guilt over slavery...

Posted by: Redshift on October 25, 2008 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely's theory is quite sound, but it might be simpler to note that the guys at National Review don't know or get to spend time with too many women.

Posted by: shortstop on October 25, 2008 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

The National Review front page link to this article asks: "Is there a connection between the criticisms of vice-presidential hopeful Sarah Palin and repressed post-abortion grief?"

**uh*** since i'm a guy, i can't GET pregnant... i havn't really ever had a chance to have "repressed post-abortion grief."


didn't get anyone eles pregnant, either....

Posted by: dj spellchecka on October 25, 2008 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK
cmdicely's theory is quite sound, but it might be simpler to note that the guys at National Review don't know or get to spend time with too many women.

That may be why National Review published the article, but it was written by Kevin Burke, LSW, "the co-founder of Rachel’s Vineyard, a post-abortion healing ministry of Priests for Life", someone who you'd expect spends at least some time around women, but very frequently women that have one particular thing in common—post-abortion regrets. Its easy enough for a person to think that the thing that is most important in their life is also the fundamental issue underlying major events in society. Both because one naturally fits things into patterns from one's own experience, and because it serves as a justification and affirmation of one's own life choices.

Posted by: cmdicely on October 25, 2008 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

The truth is there is often some ambivalence and grief associated with terminating a pregnancy. It's a complicated and difficult decision. It's rarely easy, and to assume so is an insult.

But that's true with many other choices we face in life.

BUT what a ridiculously biased and erroneous stretch (and political spin) to then say because there sometimes is complicated grief associated with terminating a pregnancy, that this somehow translates into hating Sarah Palin!


***Correlation IS NOT EQUAL to Causation!***

Sarah Palin's staunch views on this issue are LIFE DIS-AFFIRMING!
Her radical and punitive stance which seeks to remove all choice and voice from a woman while mocking and trivializing this very personal, private and complicated decision is horrifying.

Posted by: iseerussiafromyhouse on October 25, 2008 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

I know, cmdicely. I was just being low-level snarky.

Posted by: shortstop on October 25, 2008 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

I took my first and only accidental pregnancy to term and gave up a daughter for adoption. I would have had an abortion if another pregnancy happened before I was ready but I was both diligent and lucky. No need arose for me but I have accompanied friends to the clinic and their chief emotion after was relief not grief. No one can speak for another woman when she is pregnant and does not want to be. It is a awful predicament with an hard decision to make. But how terrible to be denied a decision involving your own body and future. I would have aborted a Down's Syndrome fetus when I was attempting to conceive after forty. I would have felt grief, loss and profound relief. Palin would deny other women the choice she had. What a sanctimonious hypocritical lair! That is one reason I dislike her. Another is she does not seem interested in, affectionate toward or involved in the care of her Down's Syndrome son Trig except in his capacity as a political prop. It would be best for Trig if she gave him up for adoption and the chance to have a mother who loved him.

Posted by: Dana in NYC on October 25, 2008 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

Masters-level psychotherapist here. Any time anybody claims psychological insight into someone they've never met, they're almost always going to be wrong. If you've ever thought Dr. Phil was a tool, this principle was probably the reason why. (FYI: it also applies to those speculating about McCain having Alzheimer's or post-traumatic stress disorder). Serious mental health professionals don't do such things, because it's a violation of ethics.

Twisting others' suffering into political point-scoring is inhumane. "Post-abortion grief" is no laughing matter. Neither are the depression and regrets that almost always follow giving your child up for adoption or choosing a life of destitution over an abortion. Pro-choicers like myself often wonder why pro-lifers don't do more to support unready mothers after the child is born. Here's an even better question: Why is there no bipartisan national movement to spiff up people's attitudes towards adoption?

Posted by: Johnny on October 25, 2008 at 11:36 PM | PERMALINK



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