That ‘Vision’ Thing Again

by Matt B. on February 15, 2010

This is the moment that should be unsettling for Sarah Palin’s biggest fans.  Sure, it’s a little goofy that she wrote crib notes on her hand for an appearance at the Tea Party Convention, but put that aside for a second: it’s what she wrote.  Not specific, hard-to-remember lines.  Not little notes to acknowledge minor local celebrities or political figures in the audience.  No – she wrote the very most general and abstract concepts in contemporary political life: “Energy”. “Budget cuts”. “Tax”. “Lift American spirits”.

President of the United States is the most complicated and weighty job on the planet.  Sarah Palin needed notes to remind herself of her most basic political beliefs.  It makes you wonder: does she really want to be president?  If she’s not interested in enough in energy to remember to talk about it without tattooing her hand, how in the world is she going to summon the interest and curiosity and devotion to actually get into the nitty-gritty and develop energy policy?

  • DTRM

    She is like Peter Sellers' Chance in “Being There.” But now, the eager audience that excitedly infuses empty words with meaning is the American religious-right.

  • Weaves

    It's that – it's the sheer emptiness of the words. Harry Frankfurt's 'On Bullshit' is really illuminating here, I think. Basically, he says that while liars and non-liars both orient themselves around the truth of the matter, bullshitters' main concern is not the truth or the falsity of what they say – it's how what they say makes them look. That seems pretty apt here.

  • ecm192

    It looks to me like she actually wrote “Budget Cuts,” then crossed out Budget and wrote “Tax” instead, which pretty much sums up the Republican approach to problems – Cut Taxes, not Budgets. In a time of serious decisions, this is not the methodology you need in your problem solvers.

  • Weaves

    Agreed about the methodology. It'd be really interesting to know exactly which programs she'd want to cut – so many politicians steam on about outrageous Washington spending in the abstract, but they find it difficult to cut particular programs that benefit particular constituencies.

Previous post:

Next post: