Good Lord, doesn't he realize how easy this is going to be?
Of course he's saying it's Governor Palin. But is that the case? Is she really the second most popular politician in the country? Let's look at some poll numbers. Asking what they describe as an "open ended question," the Gallup folks have an idea:
President Barack Obama is, by far, the most popular politician in America. And there is little doubt who is No. 2.
The city of Auburn in upstate New York, population 28,574, held its first annual Founder's Day celebration June 6. The most famous of the city's fathers is William Seward, who as secretary of state purchased Alaska from Russia in 1867. To commemorate the event, the city council invited the current governor of Alaska. The parade featuring Sarah Palin drew more than 20,000 people, according to press reports.
Asked to name the "main person who speaks for the Republican Party today," Republicans across the country are most likely to name three men: Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, and Dick Cheney.They give the overall percentage numbers as:
- Limbaugh, 13
- Cheney, 10
- McCain, 6
- Gingrich, 6
- Bush, 3
- Steele, 1
- Boehner, 1
- Romney, 1
- Other, 9
- No one, 14
- Everyone, 1
- No Opinion, 37
- Limbaugh, 10
- Cheney, 9
- McCain, 6
- Gingrich, 10
- Bush, *
- Steele, 2
- Boehner, *
- Romney, 2
- Other, 14
- No one, 17
- Everyone, 1
- No Opinion, 29
Nor is Governor Palin the most popular governor in the country, as was the case when Jack reported that factoid almost exactly a year ago.
Heck, she's not even the most popular politician in Alaska. From Seattlepi.com:
After Alaska voters gave her positive ratings as high as 86 percent in mid-2008, Gov. Sarah Palin's "positives" are down to 54 percent in the latest Hays Research Group poll of Alaska voters.It's up to Jack to explain how his "second most popular politician in the country" isn't seen by members of her own party as speaking for that party AND how she's not even the most popular politican in her home state. That I'd like to see. In any event it's difficult to see how she's the second most popular politician in the country.
The governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee trails far behind the robust 76.3 percent approval figure scored by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska. Both Palin and Murkowski are up for reelection in 2010.
Then there's this part:
The day after that, Ms. Palin took part in a fund-raiser in Washington, D.C., for House and Senate Republicans at which former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was the keynote speaker.Of course, Jack leaves out some important stuff. But given how more Republicans (at least according to the poll data above) view Gingrich as "speaking for" the GOP, it does make sense that she would not be the keynote speaker at that fundraiser. Dana Millbank, though, at the Washington Post fills in some of the blanks:
"An attempt to have the 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate speak at the dinner ... fell through when organizers feared she might upstage Gingrich," UPI reported.
First the Alaska governor and 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee was invited to be the keynote speaker at the party's annual congressional fundraising dinner.But what's with the back and forth on her speech? Seems that things are running not so smooth in the GOP. That should have been the story. But my guess is that with this column, Jack is sending the message that he's plainly in Palin's camp. Everything else should be seen through that frame of reference.
Then she was not the keynoter, replaced by former House speaker Newt Gingrich.
Then she was invited to speak, again. Then that invitation was rescinded.
Then she let word slip out that she was unhappy about the whole state of events and was thinking of not attending at all.
Then -- after much public bickering between Palin loyalists and party officials -- she finally agreed to come, speaking slot or no.
Then there's Letterman. Here's Jack's take on the story:
If Sarah Palin decides she's had her fill of public life, it could be because of the attention her visit drew from the likes of "comedian" David Letterman.As for the "joke" about Palin's flight-attendant look, Letterman also joked about her laughing "all the crazy looking foreigners entering the U.N." and about how she finally "met one of those Jewish people Mel Gibson's always talking about."
In his monologue Monday, Mr. Letterman "joked" about Ms. Palin's "slutty flight-attendant look," and made two awful jokes about her daughter, one implying she'd had sex with Yankee third baseman Alex Rodriguez, the other that she'd been a prostitute for former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer.
"Laughter incited by sexually perverted comments made by a 62-year-old male celebrity aimed at a 14-year-old girl is not only disgusting, but it reminds us some Hollywood/New York entertainers have a long way to go in understanding what the rest of America understands -- that acceptance of inappropriate sexual comments about an underage girl, who could be anyone's daughter, contribute to the atrociously high rate of sexual exploitation of minors by older men who use and abuse others," Ms. Palin responded when asked for comment.
What? No outrage at the jokes pointing to Palin's lack of foreign policy experience or cultural ignorance? The jokes about how she looks get Dave into trouble. A bit sexist, if you ask me.
The Top-Ten list is here, if you want to see it.
But take a look at Jack's dishonesty regarding the "daughter" joke. First off, he's got his facts just a teensy bit off. I'll let the politico fact-check Jack:
Riffing on Palin’s trip to New York last weekend, Letterman joked Monday night that during the seventh inning of the Yankees game “her daughter was knocked up by Alex Rodriguez.”It doesn't change the meaning of his argument of course, but it does show that Jack's not on top of his facts (yet again).
Letterman followed up on the line Tuesday night, joking that “the toughest part of her visit was keeping [former New York Gov.] Eliot Spitzer away from her daughter.” [emphasis added.]
Left out is Letterman's explanation:
Despite maintaining his usual tone of playful sarcasm as he discussed his flap with Palin, Letterman did respond seriously to the charge that he had made a rape joke about a 14-year-old girl: "These are not jokes made about her 14-year-old daughter. I would never, never make jokes about raping or having sex of any description with a 14-year-old girl," he said. Letterman insisted the jokes were intended to be about Bristol, who is 18-years-old. "Am I guilty of poor taste? Yes. Did I suggest that it was OK for her 14-year-old daughter to be having promiscuous sex? No."But a curious thing emerges. Take a look at exactly what Jack says and what he doesn't say in his description of Letterman's jokes. I'll help things along with a question: Does Jack Kelly say that Letterman was joking about Willow Palin, the 14-yr old?
No he doesn't. He leaves that up to the Palins themselves - he just quotes them. So what can we assume from that?
Perhaps that Jack isn't convinced that Letterman wasn't talking about Bristol rather than Willow. If he was convinced, why wasn't he clearer?
In any event, not to mention Letterman's explanation (if only to disagree with it) is, in itself, dishonesty by omission.
Can't wait for a difficult column.