Tom Degan

Tom Degan
Goshen, New York, United States
August 16
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: TOM DEGAN is a former video artist who in 2006 became so thoroughly disgusted at the state of America's national political dialogue, he decided to take time off to become a freaking civics teacher. He was born in Goshen, NY in 1958 and, after living all over the United States and Canada, moved back there in 1992. He is a high school dropout who in 1977 received an equivalency diploma (HEY, IT'S LEGAL!) He attended SUNY in Middletown, NY and in 1986 studied journalism at the New School in New York City. He is the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and has worked as a truck driver, a radio DJ, and a metal worker... OK, he didn't ACTUALLY receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, but he DID get some kind of ribbon of sorts when he was in the Cub Scouts. He is the inventor of Cheez Whiz and lives off the royalties on the sales of that fine product. He loves children and little baby duckies. FULL DISCLOSURE: He didn't really invent Cheez Whiz. His address is: 2590 Rte 17M (PO BOX 611) Goshen, NY 10924 (845) 294-5714


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FEBRUARY 1, 2013 10:02AM

2008: Sarah Smile - 2013: She's Gone

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I never thought I would live to hear me say these words, but thank goodness for Hall and Oates.
"The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their 'level of productivity in society,' whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil." 

-Sarah Palin, August 7, 2009
Yeah, she's gone alright. I have mixed emotions about this latest development. True, she was (and is) a cancer on America's body politic. True, she's a textbook example of how it is still so easy for even the dumbest white people to succeed in so race-conscious a society. But oh how I'm gonna miss Fascist Barbie. She was the Buster Keaton of unintentional comedians. Early in the 2008 campaign John Cleese said that he no longer believes that his fellow Monty Python alumni, Michael, is the funniest Palin on the planet. How I wish I could thank her personally for those gales of laughter these past four-and-a-half years. 

On the day in 2008 that Sarah Palin made her first appearance as John McCain's running mate, I knew next-to-nothing about her. The only thing I knew for certain was that she was the Republican governor of Alaska. I didn't even have a mental image of her. A quick google search of her name revealed some curious facts. The first thing that struck me was the date of her birth - February 11, 1964. That was a milestone day in my life that I could remember distinctly! It was the very day that my beloved grandmother, Loretta Doran Clements, died unexpectedly in South Bend, Indiana. For the historical record, it was also the day that the Beatles played their first concert in the United States. 

At her first joint appearance with McCain in Dayton, Ohio, she didn't make much of an impression on me to be sure. As I said on this blog at that time, she had all the gravitas of Sally Field as Gidget. The moment she opened her mouth it was instantly apparent to me that the McCain campaign had made a dreadful blunder. Good for them.

Can you imagine the "what ifs" that poor John McCain must experience every waking hour of each and every day? He originally wanted Joe Lieberman for his running mate. That was too much for the geniuses at the RNC to handle. Lieberman? A former Democrat - and a Jew??? Absolutely out of the question. They insisted on a right wing neanderthal that would appeal to "the base". If Senator McCain had had his way, there's every reason to speculate that he would have won that election. He might even be at the dawn of his second term at this very moment. It's no wonder he has turned into such a cranky old curmudgeon - and who could blame the poor bastard?

We really need to face some hard and uncomfortable facts. When someone like Sarah Palin can make it as far as she has, it can mean only one thing and it's not a particularly good sign. We are living in a culture that has been custom-tailored for idiots. When a person who can barely put two coherent sentences together without the aid of a state-of-the-art teleprompter becomes one of the best-selling non-fiction authors of the decade, that's usually a pretty good indicator that society is spiraling downward at a fairly decent clip. Fasten your seat belts, kiddies!
Move over Lou Gehrig. Barack Obama has got to be the luckiest man on the face of the earth. Throughout his career, whenever he has sought elective office, fate has always been kind enough to place in his path to power a genuine headcase (Remember Alan Keyes?) That is precisely what happened in 2008. Not to my surprise, Sarah Palin and John McCain went down to screaming defeat on Election Day. Of course she placed the blame - not on the idiocy of the campaign that was waged - but on the "lame-stream media" You see, they insisted upon asking a litany of awkward and tricky "gotcha" questions, as Katie Couric of CBS did when she posed to her this brain-bender:

"What do you read?"

During her last campaign appearance with McCain, although the senator was smiling, it was a clenched-teeth kind of grin - or rather a grimace. His eyes revealed a very different emotion. It was all-too-clear to me that he would have strangled her then and there given the opportunity. It gives me the dry heaves to contemplate how close this incurious, mean-spirited and idiotic woman came to being "a seventy-four year old heartbeat away from the presidency".

And so back she went to Juneau; back to the relative obscurity of the governor's office in a relatively isolated state, light years from the thrill and glamor of New York and Washington. And then there was the money - and all that money. The offers came pouring in from the right wing scream machine. They wanted Sarah as the new face of conservatism in America. Fox Noise was beckoning. Oh, the dilemma. 

There was a buck to be made, many millions of them in fact. The job of governor was a drag, and compared to the offers she was getting it was a low paying gig. What to do? Abandon the citizens of Alaska she was sworn to serve. Just tell them that those evil liberals had made governance impossible. She had to save America from those awful people. In fact her plan was to cash in on her new found celebrity  - BIG TIME.

 "And so Alaska may progress, I will not seek reelection as governor."

Sarah Palin, July 3, 2009

What the....DID SHE JUST SAY THAT??? You bet'cha!

She was on her way. A few people in the media speculated that she would seek - and receive - the 2012 GOP nomination.  That was my most cherished prayer, but I concluded early on that it would never happen. My luck has never gotten that good! But what a knee-slapper a "Sarah for President" campaign would have been. Can you even imagine? 

It's all over now. Her fifteen minutes are up. For nearly four years she hopped around the country with one foot on a banana peel and the other one in her mouth. It finally became clear to everyone that this silly and shallow woman doesn't have the substance of a half-eaten box of Fruit Loops. Her time as a cultural and political icon was destined to be brief. The amazing thing is that she was taken seriously by anyone for half a minute.

This week it was announced by Fox News that they will not be renewing Sarah Palin's contract as a commentator on that awful network. When someone's act gets too weird even for Fox, it's a pretty good sign that one needs to fold up the tent and go home. Maybe they're heeding the warning of MSNBC's Joe Scarborough who has publicly admonished the Republicans for being "the Party of Stupid". Whatever the reason, she's history. 

Not long  ago I watched the 1958 film "A Face in the Crowd" with Andy Griffith. It is the story of a homespun singer/philosopher whose lust for power and treasure turns him into a feared and vengeful  demagogue. In the end his world caves in on him and he finds himself alone and disgraced. The parallels to the story of Sarah Palin are eye-opening.

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I saw that Andy Griffith movie! Great analogy!
I believe she is now putting out a workout video and book. Not kidding.