Posted by: michelle2005 | November 17, 2008

Sarah Palin…The Great “Obfuscator”



The following analysis written by Dick Cavett should be required reading for the editors of The National Review Online (e.g. Kathyrn Jean Lopez) )



Some conservatives continue to insist that if Gov. Sarah Palin had been free from her handlers, she would have been able to inspire and win the majority of electoral votes in a presidential election between her and Barack Obama.  When may I commence laughter?  The irony is that some conservatives have begun to compare Governor Sarah Palin with former President Ronald Reagan.  This makes me wonder, if Reagan was known as  the “Great Communicator” should we then call Sarah Palin the “Great Obfuscator”?


I am adding the definition of the word “obfuscate” for the editors of the “National Review”


American Heritage Dictionary

ob·fus·cate      (ŏb’fə-skāt’, ŏb-fŭs’kāt’)   
tr.v.   ob·fus·cat·ed, ob·fus·cat·ing, ob·fus·cates 

1.             To make so confused or opaque as to be difficult to perceive or understand: “A great effort was made . . . to obscure or obfuscate the truth” (Robert Conquest).

2.             To render indistinct or dim; darken: The fog obfuscated the shor







Dick Cavett


November 14, 2008, 10:00 pm

The Wild Wordsmith of Wasilla

Electronic devices dislike me. There is never a day when something isn’t ailing. Three out of these five implements — answering machine, fax machine, printer, phone and electric can-opener — all dropped dead on me in the past few days.

Now something has gone wrong with all three television sets. They will only get Sarah Palin.

I can play a kind of Alaskan roulette. Any random channel clicked on by the remote brings up that eager face, with its continuing assaults on the English Lang.

There she is with Larry and Matt and just about everyone else but Dr. Phil (so far). If she is not yet on “Judge Judy,” I suspect it can’t be for lack of trying.

What have we done to deserve this, this media blitz that the astute Andrea Mitchell has labeled “The Victory Tour”?

I suppose it will be recorded as among political history’s ironies that Palin was brought in to help John McCain. I can’t blame feminists who might draw amusement from the fact that a woman managed to both cripple the male she was supposed to help while gleaning an almost Elvis-sized following for herself. Mac loses, Sarah wins big-time was the gist of headlines.

I feel a little sorry for John. He aimed low and missed.

What will ambitious politicos learn from this? That frayed syntax, bungled grammar and run-on sentences that ramble on long after thought has given out completely are a candidate’s valuable traits?

And how much more of all that lies in our future if God points her to those open-a-crack doors she refers to? The ones she resolves to splinter and bulldoze her way through upon glimpsing the opportunities, revealed from on high.

What on earth are our underpaid teachers, laboring in the vineyards of education, supposed to tell students about the following sentence, committed by the serial syntax-killer from Wasilla High and gleaned by my colleague Maureen Dowd for preservation for those who ask, “How was it she talked?”

My concern has been the atrocities there in Darfur and the relevance to me with that issue as we spoke about Africa and some of the countries there that were kind of the people succumbing to the dictators and the corruption of some collapsed governments on the continent, the relevance was Alaska’s investment in Darfur with some of our permanent fund dollars.

And, she concluded, “never, ever did I talk about, well, gee, is it a country or a continent, I just don’t know about this issue.”

It’s admittedly a rare gift to produce a paragraph in which whole clumps of words could be removed without noticeably affecting the sense, if any.

(A cynic might wonder if Wasilla High School’s English and geography departments are draped in black.)

(How many contradictory and lying answers about The Empress’s New Clothes have you collected? I’ve got, so far, only four. Your additional ones welcome.)

Matt Lauer asked her about her daughter’s pregnancy and what went into the decision about how to handle it. Her “answer” did not contain the words “daughter,” “pregnancy,” “what to do about it” or, in fact, any two consecutive words related to Lauer’s query.

I saw this as a brief clip, so I don’t know whether Lauer recovered sufficiently to follow up, or could only sit there, covered in disbelief. If it happens again, Matt, I bequeath you what I heard myself say once to an elusive guest who stiffed me that way: “Were you able to hear any part of my question?”

At the risk of offending, well, you, for example, I worry about just what it is her hollering fans see in her that makes her the ideal choice to deal with the world’s problems: collapsed economies, global warming, hostile enemies and our current and far-flung twin battlefronts, either of which may prove to be the world’s second “30 Years’ War.”

Has there been a poll to see if the Sarah-ites are numbered among that baffling 26 percent of our population who, despite everything, still maintain that President George has done a heckuva job?

A woman in one of Palin’s crowds praised her for being “a mom like me … who thinks the way I do” and added, for ill measure, “That’s what I want in the White House.” Fine, but in what capacity?

Do this lady’s like-minded folk wonder how, say, Jefferson, Lincoln, the Roosevelts, et al (add your own favorites) managed so well without being soccer moms? Without being whizzes in the kitchen, whipping up moose soufflés? Without executing and wounding wolves from the air and without promoting that sad, threadbare hoax — sexual abstinence — as the answer to the sizzling loins of the young?

(In passing, has anyone observed that hunting animals with high-powered guns could only be defined as sport if both sides were equally armed?)

I’d love to hear what you think has caused such an alarming number of our fellow Americans to fall into the Sarah Swoon.

Could the willingness to crown one who seems to have no first language have anything to do with the oft-lamented fact that we seem to be alone among nations in having made the word “intellectual” an insult? (And yet…and yet…we did elect Obama. Surely not despite his brains.)

Sorry about all of the foregoing, as if you didn’t get enough of the lady every day in every medium but smoke signals.

I do not wish her ill. But I also don’t wish us ill. I hope she continues to find happiness in Alaska.

May I confess that upon first seeing her, I liked her looks? With the sound off, she presents a not uncomely frontal appearance.

But now, as the Brits say, “I’ll be glad to see the back of her.”







  1. […] Read the rest of this superb post right here […]

  2. I think what people like about her is the same thing they liked about Bush. She comes across as someone you’d like to hang out with, have a beer with, just sort of get to know.

    Except, when it comes to politics, that’s just not good enough.


  3. Your site always causes one to pause and re-evaluate their thinking. Many of my colleagues read your blog, too. On more than one occasion your articles have been the center of very heated debates.

    A month or so ago, something you put in the NY Times…almost started a fight here. One of the gals became so angry, she was spitting fire. Of course, there was no substance to her arguement. You really are a step above most on the ‘net.

  4. […] Sarah Palin…The Great “Obfuscator” […]

  5. I don’t know how it happens but even your dead serious articles have the right touch of humor. I really enjoy your work.

    *sees smoke signal coming in* Uh-oh. It’s you know who.

  6. Excellent post. I have to wonder what direction the GOP is heading. The Republican governors made it clear where they are going when the snubbed her of a leadership position. McCain’s campaign couldn’t throw her under the bus fast enough. Yet the media and right-wing talking heads still love her as does what’s left of her base.

    “I’ll be glad to see the back of her.” lol

  7. As usual, great post. I will also “be glad to see the back of her”. I do think that her fan base is dwindling down. In a few months she will be dead news!

  8. […] Sarah Palin…The Great “Obfuscator” « “An Eclectic Array of Topics” Sarah Palin had been free from her handlers, she would have been able to inspire and win the majority of electoral votes in a presidential election between her and Barack Obama. When may I commence laughter? … […]

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