Saturday, August 30, 2008


I HAD A WHOLE POST written inspired by Captain Joy's very smart comment in the comments, but then it occurred to me:

Gov. Palin's selection amounts to McCain TROLLING the debate.

HER OPEN APPEAL to former Hillary voters is classic disingenuous CONCERN TROLLING.

AND HER SELECTION tempts us into a quicksand debate of relative experience in which we'll all sink in a panicky writhe of circular arguments and counter-accusations.

GOV. PALIN is a remarkable and accomplished person. But every anxiety she provokes (in both parties) as a shadow president to an aging man--and the doubts her selection sows regarding McCain's own judgment and priorities--are self evident.

There is no reason to get bogged down in the comments, all snared up in the bottom of the thread.

RATHER, it's better to take a cue from Obama's second comment, in which he dials back his campaign's own initial reaction. Because he seems to know the first rule about trolls, which is:


THAT SAID, you really should read Cpt. Joy's very smart comment here.

UPDATE: Thank you, KARNAS, for pointing out my egregious error.

That is all.


Unknown said...


and he's trying to get me all riled up. cause that's how the trolls do.

but you make a very good point john hodgman. we DON'T want to engage in a conversation that reinforces the BS "unprepared" meme. especially right after senator obama's pitch perfect acceptance speech so clearly demonstrated its fallacy.

luckily: even though the palin announcement stomped on that news cycle, there's a silver lining in the THIRTY EIGHT MILLION viewers saw the speech for themselves (ow!). it blows my mind: more people tuned in to hear speeches about national policy than watched the oscars. obama's inspiring a new level of civic engagement that's just kinda thrilling.

so. yes. DNFT. gotcha.

Dean Trippe said...

It seems as though McCain hoped Palin would draw voters on two fronts. First, she would energizes the conservative base, a block that's been reluctant to support McCain, despite his recently re-tailored positions. Secondly, she would open the door for the disaffected Clinton-supporting voters to vote Republican for the chance to see a woman a heartbeat away from the presidency.

Unfortunately for McCain, these supposed Palin positives cancel each other out. The anti-choice/pro-gun folks her conservative policies attract are unlikely to want a inexperienced young WOMAN in the VP slot, especially given McCain's age. Likewise, the older female voters who've expressed disloyalty to the Dems for not picking Hillary aren't going to get behind a VP candidate with positions on women's rights and issues so counter to their own.

Basically, McCain just brought hot dog flavored ice cream to the cookout.

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Jacob Karnas said...

I agree with dean trippe. To a point. I think that McCain really did himself a favour.

My friends and I have been discussing the goings-on of the last week and, as a Republican, I am on one side against everyone. The one thing, however, that we all agree on is that McCain choosing a woman VP, especially one with "firsts", could really help him take the election.

And not to be one of those, but:

Who's MCAIN?


Jacob Karnas said...

Just so people don't think I'm being a pretentious bastard:

I'm not.

At least not trying to be. I'm not really as Republican as I come off.

But don't tell anyone. I have a persona to keep up.

Dan Warren said...

Jacob, the only poll numbers I've seen so far (Rasmussen) just don't bear that out as a strong effect. While they show that Palin is viewed favorably (people like her), there are almost exactly as many people who say they are less likely to vote for McCain now that she's the running mate as people who say they are more likely.

Taking everything together, it doesn't look like she's done much harm (yet?), but it's not at all clear that she's doing much good.

edbles said...

What I find weird about trolling is that I always assume it is a 13 year old boy with nothing better to do. So when I clicked on the link to the Hodges/Bass incident I suddenly get reintroduced to the horror I feel when I initially read a trolling comment and go "Oh my god this person may be operating a motor vehicle somewhere near me!"

Unknown said...

did you see this morning's talk shows?

every time palin's record came up, mccain's surrogates used it as an excuse to pivot back to obama's supposed inexperience. (and, frustratingly, didn't receive a lot of push back, NO ONE mentioned the iraq interviews.) it's exactly the wrong conversation to be having right now.

you're right jh. mccain=troll.

Sam Kolb said...

Here's what scares the hell outta me though... some dumb sys admin coming along and sending Obama's acceptance speech along with the Palin selection to the cornfield.

Matt Fried said...

Thank you for the congratulations on the show. I'm very excited for it.

Also, I'm glad to hear that there is no empt or malice between us, since I am a fan of your work and was a bit embarrassed that I may have annoyed you when you were trying to have an evening out with your family. All of this brought about by me saying semi-audibly at The Wonder Wheel "Oh my God, it's John Hodgman!"

Anyway, to you Mr. Hodgman. I can't wait for the next book.

Admin said...

I think that Hodg-man is correct, McCain is a troll, and the wounded baying of Republicans complaining about double standards bears it out.

I think there is also an element of pure identity politics, in that you are voting for someone because of who they are, not because of what they can do.

The point of it is to say that Sarah Palin is someone whose life is like the (swing) voter's - a "blue-collar," gun-toting working mom multitasking with her big family, as opposed to Obama, who is none of those things.

So I can't figure out if this is Harriet Myers or Dan Quayle. But Dan Quayle got elected, so beats me.

Jacob Karnas said...

THANK YOU, Mr. Hodgman.

I hate correcting people, but when it comes to our next president's name, I can't allow mistakes.

(AGAIN: Not being a Republican zealot, just keeping up with my character/persona.)


Benjamin said...


She is Harriet Myers; Dan Quayle at least had experience.

For the life of me, I can't figure out why McCain would trade his one legitimate talking point--experience--for the chance to insult millions of women nationwide.

The only thing that really troubles me, though, is why I keep caring. It's not like he or Obama ever had my vote anyway, so why can't I just tune out?

Benjamin said...

My apologies.

Due to a scroll button malfunction, I incorrectly addressed my remarks to Karnas, when they ought to have been addressed to ADMIN.

Jacob Karnas said...


At first I was a little confused.