Thursday, September 11, 2008

Cooking with Gas

I'm officially tired of reading and writing about Andrew Zimmern. However, I'm dragged back in by his latest melt down which deserves one final notice. Up until now, he's kind of tip-toed around and avoided bearing his true partisan colors. Today, the mask drops and the pot boils over. His comments on Sarah Palin have got to be read to be believed:

I have been in a major funk ever since the book-banning scourge of Wasilla, Alaska, was nominated for the Veep seat on the GOP ticket. She is a Bush clone of the highest order, and her selection shows that her running mate is no maverick, just a brain-dead moron for selecting her as his potential second in command--or maybe he is the smartest man alive based on her resonance with some of the voting public. Are Americans that easily swayed from what has gone on for the last eight years?

Sadly, the one quote of hers that I just couldn't shake, the one that dominated the dinner conversation at Heidi's all night long on Friday, proved to be the one that was purely Internet mythology. Bigger than the secessionist sympathizing, the 'drill at all costs' theories, the pork issues, and bigger than Palin's assertions that the Iraq war is a mission from God and that community organizers are a bunch of do-nothings compared to small-time mayors, the one that really got to me was the Wannabe Veep's belief that "dinosaurs are 4,000-year-old Satan lizards."

It’s a funny one and seems to fit Palin like a glove. How can a major party, check that, even a minor one, put forth this lunatic as a candidate for office? Aren't you amazed? And the scariest thought is that statistically, McCain, due to his age and ill health will probably guarantee that Palin gets to be POTUS at some point, should they win the election. At this rate, Michele Bachmann will be touted as a potential Secretary of State nominee! You can see why I am upset.

Wow! With that level of seething and name calling, did Zimmern ever consider becoming a member of the Star Tribune editorial board?

First, the easy debunking of the foundations of Zimmern's rage:

1. Book banning - no, never happened. No legitimate source has claimed she has ever done anything of the sort. Even in a hit piece published in Time Magazine, the best they could come up with was a second hand claim from a political opponent that she inquired, on behalf of constituents, on the possibility of removing books with obscene language from the municipal library.

Please note, Time published this allegation even though its fact-checking, with the person who supposedly took Palin's inquiry, ended with:

That woman, Mary Ellen Baker, couldn't be reached for comment.

Couldn't be reached? What, she wasn't listed in the Wasilla White Pages when the reporter took a look? She was out field dressing a moose when the reporter stopped by? You're Time Magazine, find a way to reach her!

Reminds me of that great line from All The Presidents Men. Editor Ben Bradlee chiding his reporters to get proper sourcing on an explosive charge: we're about to accuse Haldeman, who only happens to be the second most important man in this country, of conducting a criminal conspiracy from inside the White House. It would be nice if we were right.

That interaction is probably apocryphal. Nevertheless, Time could use a man like the fake Ben Bradlee today.

2. Secessionist sympathizing - not true, not true. This claim is based on the front page New York Times report that Palin was a member of the Alaska Independence party for 2 years. Upon belatedly finding out the truth, the Times retracted the claim. I guess Zimmern isn't a Power Line reader. Maybe he should be.

3. The Iraq war is a mission from God - as characterized by Zimmern, not true. From the AP, her full quote, delivered while asking school kids to pray for the troops in Iraq:

"Our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God," she said. "That's what we have to make sure that we're praying for, that there is a plan and that plan is God's plan."

Sounds to me like she had some uncertainty there. Struggling with the unknown (God's will), while having faith that our national leaders are acting in a conscientious and moral fashion. I think that would describe just about every Republican, and a lot of non-Republicans who still love the country, value its institutions, and have a mature respect for the leaders our democratic process selects.

BTW, her words also echo another Republican from a rural area who had very little experience in matters like warfare, diplomacy, etc.

To a minister who said he hoped the Lord was on our side, he replied that it gave him no concern whether the Lord was on our side or not, for, he added, "I know the Lord is always on the side of right," and with deep feeling added, "But God is my witness that it is my constant anxiety and prayer that both myself and this nation should be on the Lord's side."

Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Abraham Lincoln. In Zimmern's mind, another lunatic, no doubt.

4. her belief that "dinosaurs are 4,000-year-old Satan lizards" - Hee haw! But not true. It was an entirely made up quote, an intentional hoax by an Internet prankster. Apparently its making the rounds on the email networks of liberals. And now its infested the thinking of great minds on the Left like Matt Damon and Andrew Zimmern.

Granted, Zimmern says he now understands it's fake. Then he resorts to the 60 Minutes defense - it's fake, but accurate! (It's a funny one and seems to fit Palin like a glove.)

But he admits that this specific allegation "dominated" the dinner conversation between he and his smirking band of gourmands, supping at some posh Minneapolis bistro. Copping to this level of idiocy and superficiality should be kind of embarrassing for him. They actually believed for a time that a woman of Palin's education, experience, and accomplishment could believe this or would use these terms. I'm not sure there is sane person in this country, even the most ardent Creationist or Bible literalist, who would characterize their beliefs as such. Given how easily they were taken in, I get the sense that Zimmern and company believe that most Republicans/religious people/rural denizens have beliefs of this nature.

Maybe Zimmern should spend less time tracking down Chicken Testicle Soup Recipes in the back alleys of Timbuktu and more time getting to know the exotic ways of, say, Wasilla, Alaska. Or even the Twin Cities (outside of Uptown/Grand Ave.). He's a complete stranger to the real America.

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