Johansson is a Democrat and campaigned for John Kerry in the 2004 United States presidential election..... Johansson is a Democrat and campaigned for John Kerry in the 2004 United States presidential election.
Today’s additions to the category of No Good Can Ever Come of This:
The New York Times
— “Mel Gibson is on the phone.”
— “The Bachelorette is close to selecting the man of her dreams.”
— “Bristol and Levi are back together.”
Let me go out on a limb and say that Sarah Palin was probably not happy to learn about her oldest daughter’s re-engagement to her baby-daddy via an eight-page cover spread in Us Weekly.
“It is intimidating and scary just to think about what her reaction is going to be,” Bristol confided. “Hopefully, she will jump on board.”
But you can’t be a feminist who says that other women can’t and criminalizes abortion.
For Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston, celebrity cures all
By Ruth Marcus
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
I owe Sarah Palin an apology.
Two years ago, when the news broke about her daughter's pregnancy, I slammed the newly selected vice presidential candidate for doing her daughter a terrible disservice. Palin's seeming lack of concern for Bristol's privacy brought out, though I didn't know I had one at the time, my inner Mama Grizzly.
"My first thought on hearing the news was: What was Sarah Palin thinking?" I wrote then. "Assuming, as the campaign says, that she knew about her 17-year-old's pregnancy and informed [John] McCain in advance, how could she expose her daughter to the inevitable spotlight that Palin's vice presidential nomination would bring?"
How naive of me.
Palin's failed candidacy and her ascendance to the ranks of political celebrity were, it turns out, the best thing that could have happened to Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston.
In acknowledging Bristol's pregnancy, Palin beseeched the media "to respect our daughter and Levi's privacy as has always been the tradition of children of candidates."
How naive of her.
Forget tradition. Forget privacy. In our celebrity-drenched culture, Bristol and Levi quickly figured out what Sarah and I both failed to understand: Bristol's out-of-wedlock pregnancy was not an embarrassment. It was a marketing opportunity.
Think about it. A teenage single mom with a high school diploma. A father who dropped out of high school in his junior year. These are not the makings of a stable economic path.
If Sarah had followed my advice and told McCain "thanks, but no thanks" about the vice presidency -- as she claimed to have done with federal funding for the bridge to nowhere -- Bristol would have had a future to nowhere. Levi, too.
Instead, Palin did Bristol and her boyfriend an unintentional, lucrative favor. Bristol became a paid abstinence ambassador with the Candie's Foundation, which works to prevent teen pregnancy. She signed up with a speakers bureau to preach the gospel of abstinence -- at a reported $15,000 to $30,000 a pop. She made a guest appearance on ABC Family's "The Secret Life of the American Teenager." She posed for Harper's Bazaar in Carolina Herrera and Isaac Mizrahi designs.
Levi also seized the moment. He showed all (Playgirl), told all (Vanity Fair), retracted some. He appeared in an ad for pistachios, standing next to a bodyguard and cracking open a nut with the voice-over, "Now Levi Johnston does it with protection." Classy.
And then, much as the unhappy couple had monetized their breakup, the newly -- and, I fear, temporarily -- happy couple monetized their reunion. It was announced on the cover of Us Weekly, complete with Bristol imagining the wedding, herself in white, Levi and baby Tripp in matching camouflage vests. The New York Post estimated that the couple was paid $100,000; Us Weekly denied it. Meanwhile, they are said to be peddling a reality television series.
Bristol and Levi represent the perfect, well, marriage of politics-as-infotainment and low-rent celebrity culture. Other political offspring have leveraged connections and fame to prosper outside the family business -- but at real, or at least nominally real, jobs. Think Ron Reagan Jr. as TV host, George W. Bush as baseball team owner. Other political relatives and hangers-on have capitalized on their proximity to political scandal. Think Jenny Sanford as memoirist or Andrew Young, whose best-selling account of being Official Beard for John Edwards is soon to be a major motion picture.
Bristol and Levi managed to meld these two strands of opportunism. They trade off the connection without the nuisance of an actual job even as they profit from their own tackiness, not the sordid missteps of principals. A reality show would be the perfect summation: "Bristol and Levi Minus 7," perhaps, or "Real Housewife of Wasilla."
Almost 50 years ago, in his prescient book "The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America," historian Daniel J. Boorstin lamented that "the machinery of information has brought into being a new substitute for the hero, who is the celebrity, and whose main characteristic is his well-knownness. In the democracy of pseudo-events, anyone can become a celebrity, if only he can get into the news and stay there."
Boorstin might not have imagined that things would descend to the point of Bristol, Levi and the uncommonly beautiful Tripp, but he would recognize the forces that created them. There is something quintessentially American about this grubby, unabashed entrepreneurialism.
As for Sarah Palin, Mama Grizzly took care of her cub after all. I refudiate my previous criticism.
Are Palin’s ‘Mama Grizzlies’ Feminist?
It’s nice that right-wing women are embracing feminism after demonizing the term for so long. Now let’s see what they can do.
by Eleanor Clift July 16, 2010
It’s not often that I get invited to breakfast at the Four Seasons with a baroness, and I was curious. So were a few dozen other women and three brave men who sat down to fruit and pastries, and to hear from Baroness Mary Goudie, a member of the British House of Lords and an activist on human-rights issues from sex trafficking to maternal health in Afghanistan. A feisty lady who relishes spirited debate and laughs easily and often, she won over everyone in the room as a self-appointed leader of women’s causes around the world, including getting more women on corporate boards.
These are issues that cut across political lines, but the women at the breakfast were mostly working for nonprofits, and it was clear from the conversation that their sentiments were on the progressive side. Goudie was there to promote her blog about shared global concerns and how they relate to women and children, and to create synergy with like-minded advocates across the pond. There was lots of agreement and female bonding until one of the men asked a question that he likened to tossing a grenade into the discussion.
He wanted to know what the baroness and others thought about Sarah Palin and her ability to command attention. There’s a women’s explosion happening, he said, but it’s not happening in the progressive sphere. Why is all the energy among women on the right, the cohort Palin dubs “Mama Grizzlies”? Surely progressive women love their children and their way of life and the Constitution every bit as much as the self-appointed Mama Grizzlies. Goudie ducked the question, but as the breakfast concluded and she was bidding farewell to her guests, she confided to me, “The Mama Grizzlies are winning.”
Whether they will win at the ballot box in November is an open question. Some, like Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle, who opposes abortion in all instances, including rape, and who wants to phase out Social Security, may prove too wacky for the voters. But win or lose elections, the Mama Grizzlies have proven adept at breaking through the noise and getting more than their share of attention, just like their benefactor, Sarah Palin. Like Palin, they have found their voice. They don’t want anybody telling them how to raise their children, or taking their guns away. Thirty years late to the battle for women’s rights, they’re claiming the mantle of feminism.
It’s nice they’re embracing feminism after demonizing the term for so long, and I welcome them to the arena. Let’s see if they can do for women what their sisters on the left have done since the ’70s, breaking down the barriers for women in all areas of American life including politics. Palin has George W. Bush’s disdain for intellectual elites, and she lives the rhetoric. She’s undisciplined intellectually, but she’s got street smarts, and they count.
She’s like Oprah staying ahead of the curve in the way she sees things. Call it EQ—emotional intelligence. She knows better than anyone in public life how to navigate the new social media, and she resonates with enough people in the Republican Party that she’s the wild card for 2012.
The women candidates she considers Mama Grizzlies would have been out there anyway; I don’t think she inspired them to run. But she’s given definition to a movement that would otherwise be just a bunch of kooks, or one-offs. She’s fenced off a wing of the GOP that she owns, and in politics, when it’s your turn to ride the rocket, that’s what you do. A Republican source says Palin is nothing new, she’s really Pat Buchanan in drag—the same issues except that her reality show is a lot more gripping. The media went overboard for Buchanan in 1996 when he won the New Hampshire primary, defeating establishment favorite Bob Dole. But the insurgent campaign of a former Nixon speechwriter can’t compare with the ongoing soap opera of the Palins. Bristol and Levi together again!
When I ran the Palin-as-Buchanan theory past another Republican, a woman this time, she said that was an insult to Buchanan, who is deeply serious and has thought about these issues. She doesn’t agree with his conclusions, but he rode the rocket at a moment in time, just as Palin is poised to do. This friend does corporate focus groups that have nothing to do with politics, and at the end she likes to ask what the participants think of various people in the news: “When you mention her name, they all smile, even if what comes out of their mouth is that she’s terrible.”
A big part of Palin’s appeal is how well she works with today’s culture, which is shallow and quick. Twitter is 140 characters—which gets me back to the serious do-gooders who worry about girls in Afghanistan. They don’t have the same ability to get to the heart of things, plus they’re dealing with issues most voters would rather avoid, and that includes Palin, who quit public office when it got harder than tweeting.
The Washington Post
The Plum Line
by Greg Sargent
August 3, 2010; 11:48 AM
Still more proof Sarah Palin is toxic outside her bubble
Okay, here's still more evidence, as if you needed it, that Sarah Palin is increasingly toxic to voters who reside outside the Palin Nation bubble.
Pew Research just released a new poll finding that more than twice as many Americans see a Palin endorsement as a negative for a Congressional candidate than view it as a positive.
The numbers: Thirty eight percent say they are less likely to back a Congressional candidate if Palin "campaigns on their behalf." Less than half that amount, 18 percent, say they are more likely to do so. Forty two percent say it would make no difference, only slightly more than see it as a downer.
No one is contesting the fact that Palin is a major draw among GOP primary voters. But the larger story here -- one that goes directly to the heart of her presidential aspirations -- is that she's successfully tightening her emotional grip on her devoted legions of supporters at the expense of just about everyone else. Far more see her as a turn-off than as a turn-on.
Palin supporters get very, very angry when you point this out. But the evidence is overwhelming at this point:
* A recent NBC/WSJ poll reached the same conclusion as today's Pew poll: It found that a majority of adults nationwide would look negatively on candidates endorsed by Palin.
* A recent Gallup poll noted a striking disconnect in public attitudes towards Palin: While her favorability rating is far higher among Republicans than that of all the other 2012 GOP contenders, she's also far and away the least liked of all the 2012 hopefuls among Americans overall.
* A recent poll of New Hampshire voters from the Dem firm Public Policy Polling found that 51 percent say they're less likely to back a Palin-endorsed candidate. Tellingly, among moderates that number jumped to 65 percent.
* Multiple other polls have found her negatives on the rise with the broader electorate.
This all supports what I've argued here before: That Palin is better off staying in her current role of celebrity quasi-candidate. This has allowed her to insulate herself from direct media cross-examination and to communicate directly to the Palin Nation mob, which is growing more transfixed. But the rest of the world continues to sour on her. It's hard to see how she'll succeed if she ever steps outside the bubble she's crafted for herself.
There's a tremendous amount of media discussion about whether Palin will run for president and about how much of a political "rock star" she has become. It's odd that the larger and arguably more important story about what she has wrought for herself never enters into the conversation.
I'm no expert on the psyche of a woman