Political Animal


March 12, 2013 9:35 AM Just 288 Shopping Days Until the War On the War On Xmas!

By Ed Kilgore

Since the public career of Sarah Palin was recently reburied for about the tenth time, when she lost her Fox News contract and thus her major platform, two news items involving St. Joan of the Tundra jumped out at me this morning.

The first is that Palin’s getting a supersized allotment of speaking time at the CPAC conference, according to National Review’s Katrina Trinko, second only to keynoter Ted Cruz, for the simple reason that she sells tickets.

And the second, from an AP story by Hillel Italie, is that Palin has a deal with a major publisher to write a Christmas book to be released in November. This being Palin, it’s not so much as Christmas book as a book about the insanely imaginary yet intensely useful War on Christmas:

“Amidst the fragility of this politically correct era, it is imperative that we stand up for our beliefs before the element of faith in a glorious and traditional holiday like Christmas is marginalized and ignored,” Palin said in a statement released through her publisher. “This will be a fun, festive, thought provoking book, which will encourage all to see what is possible when we unite in defense of our faith and ignore the politically correct Scrooges who would rather take Christ out of Christmas.”

Yeah, as always, attacking Jews, Muslims and non-religious folk seems like a fine way to celebrate the Nativity. I do have to say this is sort of the bottom-of-the-barrel of culture-war topics, thrilling only those who are so shallow and self-regarding as to think themselves martyrs for having to suffer the indignity of realizing other people do not share their particular version of their particular faith (as I always note every Xmas, that particular feast was widely frowned upon and in some cases outlawed for centuries in many of the Reformed traditions that played so big a role in the formation of this country). Italie thinks the early announcement of this book is a bad sign for Palin, like a has-been signer announcing a Xmas album as a last resort.

I dunno. Every time I hear her pronounced politically or culturally dead because she doesn’t have this or that institutional perch (whether it’s an elected office or a network contract), I remind myself that Palin’s most politically importance utterance (the infamous “death panel” post that introduced a particularly lethal virus into the national debate over health care reform) was made via her Facebook page. A big nasty CPAC speech followed by a cheesy book politically exploiting Christmas might be enough to keep her in the loop, if not necessarily to justify further Tina Fey impersonations. She just turned 49, so it’s not like she’s ready for assisted living. So get used to the fact that just when you’ve forgotten about her, she’ll pop up again, not as some putative president of the United States, but at least as someone with a divine or demonic mission to make us all crazy at least one more time.


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  • c u n d gulag on March 12, 2013 10:01 AM:

    I wonder what the book will be about?

    "The Year That KenyanSocialistFascistCommunistAtheistHeathenMuslim Usurper Stole Chrismas."

    How the FAA, thanks to the Obamaquester, took away Santa's pilot's license, because they couldn't afford to pay all of the Air Traffic Controllers overtime, in the country trying to track him on Christmas Eve.

    And how the elves had to change careers, and go from making toys for children, to making equipment for Green Energy technology companies.

    And how Michelle realized that reindeer meat is remarkably low in fat, and so had Rudolph, and Donner, and Blitzen, and the rest of the gang, carved up for lunch in PUBLIC Schools.

    Poor Sister Sarah, the Simpleton Saint of Sitka, it's not her heart, it's her BRAIN, that's two sizes too small!!!

  • MuddyLee on March 12, 2013 10:10 AM:

    Let Sarah stay in the limelight - it might remind those who think "the republicans can't be all that bad", that in fact, yes they can. Palin+Cruz at CPAC? It might bring on the rapture. Can't wait until her big 50th birthday party webcast/fundraiser/surrealistic-republican-compost
    extravaganza. Bill Kristol and John McCain: you two men have done enough damage to America - do us a favor and take a lifetime vow of silence as penitence.

  • Kathryn on March 12, 2013 10:21 AM:

    Just this morning, the martyr who is Sarah Palin, tweeted her joy at the halting of New York's large soda ban. The week of the CPAC hatefest is a good week to catch up on movies. It promises to be spectacularly over the top paranoid event. Just the sight of Cruz and Palin is chilling, when they open their mouths it's hair raising.

    Captcha is ingrowp power

  • g on March 12, 2013 10:34 AM:

    As Kathryn says above, Palin has rallied round the Diabetes-and-hoveround wing of the Tea Party-Americans by her support of "Liberty-loving soda drinkers" everywhere!

  • ComradeAnon on March 12, 2013 10:38 AM:

    Predictable. News Corp owned HarperColins publishes book per her termination agreement with News Corp owned Fox.

  • Braxton Braggart on March 12, 2013 10:40 AM:

    It's amazing how fragile these peoples' faith must be, that it requires constant reinforcement everywhere, all the time. The notion that non-believers walk among us -- ZOMG right out in public! -- that is tacitly acknowledged by the phrase, "happy holidays," must really rattle them to the core.

  • boatboy_srq on March 12, 2013 10:46 AM:

    @Kathryn & g: Isn't it fascinating how Xtians always gravitate to the most toxic solution to a given problem?


    "the politically correct Scrooges who would rather take Christ out of Christmas"

    Um, no, Sistah Sarah, there's no push to take Christ out of Christmas. What we have is resistance to your imposition of your idea of Christ on the rest of us, Christian or not.

  • Sgt. Gym Bunny on March 12, 2013 11:00 AM:

    The first is that Palinís getting a supersized allotment of speaking time at the CPAC conference...

    Well, she--who don't need no stinkin' teleprompter--might have to use more than her palms to scribble her talking points if she's given that much time. I imagine she'll look like an "Illustrated Woman" by the time she hits the stage.

  • wvmcl on March 12, 2013 11:49 AM:

    I don't think Scrooge was ever depicted by Dickens as anything other than a Christian. Scrooge never said he wanted to take Christ out of Christmas. In fact, I don't recall much in the way of religious references in "A Christmas Carol." What Scrooge wanted was to take the money out of Christmas (demands on his own time and money, in any case).

    Is Palin implying that Scrooge was a Jew? If Dickens had intended Scrooge to be a Jew, he would have had no shyness about depicting him as such (see Fagin in "Oliver Twist").

  • boatboy_srq on March 12, 2013 12:13 PM:

    @wvmcl: the problem with your description is the definition of Christian. To most people, "Christian" = "follower of Christ." To Xtian volk like Palin, "Christian" = "adherer to the specific, granular, particular tenets of Xtianity as practiced by their church [where 'church' = 'the specific house of worship where she and others meet' and/or 'specific, local, insular community that share said beliefs'] and excluding all others". This is the cudgel with which the Xtians beat Christendom: they complain about the War on Xmas, the "persecution of Christians" and other obviously offensive actions on the part of the "secular world," but they insert their own definitions - so while the rest of us (including the rest of Christendom) hears "Christians are being persecuted!" what they're really saying is "The [largely Christian] external world isn't giving us our Rightful Dominion!!11!1!"

  • David Carlton on March 12, 2013 2:06 PM:

    boatboy--Actually, to a lot of Americans (most southerners I know, for instance), "Christian" means nothing more than, "good, respectable people like me." Seen this way, the alleged "War on Christmas" isn't an attack on Christianity so much as an attack on the tribe. As Ed rightly points out, Christmas is actually not as important a season to the faith as Passiontide and Easter, and the Puritans even tried to ban the observance of Christmas as hopelessly tainted by pagan revelry. As for Scrooge, his chief sin may well have been that very puritanism--a tendency still strong among the apostles of capitalism in Victorian England, but from which Dickens recoiled in favor of the traditional ways of "Merrie England."

  • Rick Massimo on March 12, 2013 2:17 PM:

    I was hoping that Sarah Palin would stop sneering at the phrase "politically correct," seeing as how she was plenty offended when Rahm Emanuel called activists "retarded."

    I was hoping she'd notice that when words are directed at you or someone you know, suddenly it isn't "edgy" or "politically incorrect" or "daring" - it's just mean. And I was hoping maybe she'd reflect on that the next time she started to open her yap.

    Nah, I'm just kidding - I knew she wouldn't do any of that. She just blathers on and insults anyone who doesn't vote for her or give her money, and runs screaming to the cameras anytime anyone says a word against her.

    I forget who it was back in the heady fall of 2008 who said something along the lines of "Yeah, everyone in the tree-lined neighborhoods of Real America knows someone like Sarah Palin - but no one LIKES that person."

  • boatboy_srq on March 12, 2013 3:15 PM:

    @David Carlton: That, in itself, shows how thoroughly ordinary Christians are being "had" by the Xtian Right. "Good, respectable people like me" don't throw their neighbors under the fiscal bus; don't make their daughters marry their rapists; don't exploit their neighbors just to enrich their bottom lines and prove their Election; etc. And while they're likely to take the view that other sects of Christianity aren't the true variety, they're hardly likely to consider people not explicitly members of their congregation part of the unGawdly Secular-Humanist Soshulist Conspiracy to Deprive All (True) Xtians of Their Rights.

    Catholic/Protestant/Orthodox, Episcopalian/Methodist/Baptist/Presbyterian, Sprinkler/Dunker dichotomies have existed in Christianity for centuries, and have been tolerated amiably for generations; what we're seeing here with the FundiEvangelists is something new, very specifically defined, agressively militant, and potentially as volatile as the Wars of the Reformation.

    You're right to point out the tribal nature of some segments of Xtianity. But that tribal affiliation is being used against most of those segments just as much as the umbrella of Greater Christendom is for the rest: there's a very small cadre of very committed volk who define Xtian in extremely narrow terms, and use that narrow definition to wrest more-than-equal consideration from from the MSM, public opinion and the public sector through the misguided association those who, by virtue of the different definitions, make with people who do not consider the rest part of their whole.

    And in your context, the "War on Christmas" example is, by the folks you describe, interpreted as exactly that - which is why the attack is so effective. If the Xtian Right were to explicitly demand the public acceptance of, say, refuting the Beatitudes as contrary to public mores (for example, "blessed are the peacemakers" doesn't go far with the DOD-obsessed Xtian Right or the gun-toting 2nd-Amendment-shouters), there'd be quite an uproar from a lot of other quarters. Instead, they're using tolerance as an excuse to bludgeon the rest of the planet with their particular beliefs. By using (for them) the codespeak of "religious liberty" and "oppression of Christians" they get a lot of folks who don't necessarily agree with them - and who they do not consider Christian - to side with them through unthinking reflex action.

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