Patterico's Pontifications


The GOP’s Secret Weapon? (Updated)

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 11:35 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

William Shatner recently conducted an insightful interview of Rush Limbaugh and followed it up with this Sarah Palin moment on the Tonight Show, causing Sissy Willis to ponder whether William Shatner is the GOP’s secret weapon:

William Shatner and Sarah Palin on the Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien

I don’t know about Shatner’s or Conan O’Brien’s motives or political leanings but I have a theory why Hollywood liberals might warm to Sarah Palin. I think it’s related to Obama’s declining polls numbers. After the Bush years, liberals knew they had to do everything possible to help Barack Obama win the Presidency. Once elected, I suspect they thought Obama would govern so well that the bulk of their work was over. The polls show that’s not the case.

It may well be a coincidence — and I’m certainly not saying there’s a conspiracy — but what better plan could celebrities like Oprah luck into than garnering sky-high ratings for themselves by hosting Sarah Palin, all while simultaneously building up the one Republican they have convinced themselves could never win?

Go for it, Hollywood. Just remember: Be careful what you wish for.


UPDATE: Williams Jacobson calls this a Palin turning point and says the media needs Palin more than Palin needs the media.

31 Responses to “The GOP’s Secret Weapon? (Updated)”

  1. Shatner’s done some 2nd Amendment commercials in the past. I suspect that he’s a closet conservative.

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  2. I don’t think it a secret really. I’ve heard he’s a friend of Rush Limbaugh. From Breitbart’s Big Hollywood.

    Stashiu3 (44da70)

  3. I think he sends mixed signals but I hope you’re right. Either way, it was really Conan O’Brien that made this skit possible, not Shatner.

    DRJ (84a0c3)

  4. Either Conan O’Brien is really tall or Palin and Shatner are really short.

    She may outwit a lot of these people who think they are so brilliant. There was an amusing post on Wash Monthly that ended with some comment about Bush’s intellectual lack. I remember many years ago when I was at a meeting with Daniel Bell, a big name in information technology and related areas in the early 60s. He made the comment that doctors and army officers should have an IQ of 125, neither higher or lower. I think this applies to politicians, too. High IQ people may be too consumed with impractical intellectual pursuits and have an inflated opinion of their competence in practical matters.

    Of course, people on lefty web sites may also have an inflated concept of their own IQ. Lots of them think Al Gore is smart, for example.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  5. I…don’t know if…that’s true, but it…could be.

    JEA (295140)

  6. She is making a boatload of money from her book and has been on the tour to promote it. Hollywood recognizes when a moneymaking opportunity is there and is taking advantage of it as they usually do. What happens when the book promotion is over and she is not given the forums like she is now? Late night hosts will go back to the Palin jokes and her numbers will probably decline somewhat. Will her fans complain that is not fair?
    I’m more interested in what Palin will do to outline some substantiative solutions to the issues the country faces. Getting caught up in the Hollywood silliness is not a good move in my opinion.

    voiceofreason2 (3d715e)

  7. Getting caught up in the Hollywood silliness is not a good move in my opinion.

    Palin is not the puppet. She’s the puppet master.

    John Hitchcock (3fd153)

  8. The sales of her book have given the glitterati a metric by which to judge her popularity.
    There are a lot of people buying that book that represent a great deal of potential revenue for Big Media.
    Why chase them away?
    Not everyone’s as dense as the NYT, WaPo, LAT, etc.

    AD - RtR/OS! (9b753a)

  9. Shatner’s done some great readings of Palin’s poetry.

    imdw (a610b2)

  10. Interesting theory, and I wouldn’t put it past Palin Derangement Syndrome sufferers to entertain such a fantasy. Thanks for the link! I’ve linked you in an update.

    Sissy Willis (33a2d0)

  11. I suspect that he’s a closet conservative.

    Which would make him a rather uncommon figure in the entertainment industry, in that there are apparently a lot more closeted gays (or bis) than closeted conservatives.

    The fact Shatner has chosen to be interviewed in the past few years by Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck suggests he’s at least not a garden-variety Hollywood liberal—-I’d guess, in fact, he’s probably somewhat squishy like an Arnold Schwarzenegger, meaning that by Hollywood standards, Shatner is an ultra-conservative.

    [GLENN] BECK: I have always had a love affair with America. I have believed completely in the American myth. You — you are Canadian. Growing up, what was the American myth? What was it that you saw from afar?

    SHATNER: The thing: total freedom, everybody has the — to as much as — as hard as you wanted to work, that`s how high you could rise.

    BECK: I love “Boston Legal.” I think you`re brilliant. Really think you`re brilliant.

    But how come you have to be crazy to be a conservative? Why is the only damn conservative on the show nuts?

    SHATNER: See, now you`ve just walked into your own trap. Why — so what if there`s a conservative. What is conservative? Conservative used to be something else, right? I mean, conservative used to be lower taxes.

    BECK: Come on, man. You`re nuts…

    SHATNER: Wait a minute. Conservative used to be no debt. I mean, what — the two lines of conservatism and liberal have been mixed up.

    BECK: But you`re shooting people in the — come on, I mean…

    SHATNER: But that`s crazy, crafty. At times, the guy`s not crazy.

    BECK: Oh, no, I know. He`s — look, there are times — here`s the thing…

    SHATNER: So he may be pretending to be crazy. That`s kind of what I`m playing.

    Mark (411533)

  12. “all while simultaneously building up the one Republican they have convinced themselves could never win?”

    I don’t think so.

    I think it more how the handlers and advisors of Palin are playing the game. McCains folks couldn’t abide her an threw her to the winds. They wanted her to fail. And they succeeeded. But even when she was being so mishandled, she was outdrawing Biden and embarrassingly McCain.

    Sarah Palin has star power, a fact that is not lost on her current handlers. They can set the terms of an interview that will skyrocket ratings. They are not overexposing her. They are milking the book tour by getting media coverage of adoring fans.

    However you are right, there is angst in tinseltown over Obama’s performance, that maybe he wasn’t ready. But much of it concerns his foreign policy failures — especially with Israel. The peace process has been a dismal failure. You knew that when he sent Hillary to Israel to pick up the pieces, formerly the exclusive domain of John Mitchell. The Iran nuclear issue is dead, though Obama still doesn’t understand when a no is really a no. He will keep flailing away, all for nought.

    Politics consists of symbols and signals. I am sure trusted friends of Obama have already communicated Hollywood’s displeasure with his Israel policy. But nothing says it louder than opening the door to a popular political rival. And especially one they had previously shut out.

    Corky Boyd (e57add)

  13. “SHATNER: So he may be pretending to be crazy. That`s kind of what I`m playing. ”

    This guy is on to Beck.

    imdw (e66d8d)

  14. I don’t doubt it either Sissy, but how accurate has their judgement been, they bought the Obama song and dance. She brought the McCain campaign much closer to the finish line despite all the daggers in the back by the likes of Wallace and Schmidt, the last who is teaming up with Plouffe,to show how to run winning campaigns “That word you are using. . .”

    bishop (996c34)

  15. High IQ people may be too consumed with impractical intellectual pursuits and have an inflated opinion of their competence in practical matters.

    Certainly when it comes to a person involved in decisionmaking and judging people and issues, IQ (particularly as it relates to the brain’s ability to retain information—ie, memory) doesn’t necessarily mean a damn thing. I’m far more concerned about a person’s innate biases, in whether he or she believes that liberal emotions — or, to be specific, a liberal outlook — either make someone wonderful, generous and beautiful or, in fact, naive, foolish, phony and devoid of common sense.

    Mark (411533)

  16. I think that’s one reason Oprah is retiring. She realized that if Palin was the one big ratings day, her time was so over. I think the WH special tonight will bomb too.

    Patricia (b05e7f)

  17. Of course, people on lefty web sites may also have an inflated concept of their own IQ. Lots of them think Al Gore is smart, for example.

    Far be it from me to defend Pope Prius I, but Gore is certainly not stupid. Other than a televangelist, who else could manage to live in complete contradiction to the message he spreads, and not only convince millions of people that his position is the correct one, but actually compel those millions to defend his hypocritical lifestyle?

    Another Chris (470967)

  18. I think Oprah is retiring because she realizes that after she put her entire career and prestige on the line when she decided to promote Obama, that action doesn’t look so intelligent now. That, and she’s probably finally grown tired of the same old thing every year. This must be the umpteenth time she’s threated to quit, looks like this one will stick – besides, she’s got a cable and multimedia empire to look after.

    Dmac (a964d5)

  19. Mark: Re your citation of Shatner to Beck, “So [Boston Legal’s Denny Crane] may be pretending to be crazy. That`s kind of what I`m playing.”

    Exactly right. That’s the point I was making in my own post about Shatner as the “GOP’s secret weapon.”

    Sissy Willis (33a2d0)

  20. Interesting comment on the 125 IQ. IIRC, GWB”s IQ is about 125. Based upon their released military records, Kerry is slightly lower and his grades at Yale were slightly lower than acknowledged “party animal” GWB’s. Gore’s IQ was the lowest of the three. Carter had an IQ much greater than 125 (estimated by some to be almost as high as Jefferson’s) and no one knows Obama’s IQ score.

    Longwalker (4e0dda)

  21. True, but Thompson served a much more effective foil on Law & Order, Painting Crane as crazy and conservative, while giving all the smart lines to Spader’s character was not an accident.

    Meanwhile Dick Wolf’s shop has become Media Matters Masterpiece Theatre which not only took up the Beck is inspiring killers of illegal immigrants, but even their own angle on the census taker’s death

    bishop (474138)

  22. Sleepover?”

    I know, I know. The NYT. But this article from September of 2008 catches the conscience of the Crane/Spader kinship.

    Sissy Willis (33a2d0)

  23. Crane/Shore relationship, I mean = Shatner/Spader Boston Legal characters.

    Sissy Willis (33a2d0)

  24. And Nixon was the smartest President of the 20th Century by all accounts. Carter not far behind. Brains aren’t everything. Reagan and Roosevelt were no geniuses but understood people.

    Palin resonates. I don’t know if she would win as a Republican, but I wonder how she would do as an insurgent. Received wisdom was that a populist third party would doom the Republicans, but the devil is in the details. And the times.

    Kevin Murphy (3c3db0)

  25. This was funny and good TV. Palin can laugh at herself.

    Can anyone imagine Barack Obama making an abrupt appearance on Rush Limbaugh to make fun of someone making fun of Obama? I can’t imagine Obama showing up on this program after someone lampoons his Audacity book. Thin skin. With all the tough choices Obama has to make, I don’t think he has what it takes to let a few critical advisers into his circle. He can’t change course or admit something didn’t work right.

    If Bush had that problem, we never would have won Iraq. Not that bush is the ideal, but Obama’s thin skin is he defining characteristic for me.

    Dustin (44f8cb)

  26. “And Nixon was the smartest President of the 20th Century by all accounts”

    Always thought Hoover was the most intelligent one. Not that your point doesn’t stand. Carter, Hoover, Nixon… they weren’t the kind of men Reagan, Truman, or Teddy R were.

    I don’t think it’s the intelligence that’s the issue. It’s the ability to lead instead of micromanage or build up the ego. The men who made sure the USA knew they were super smart probable had a basic problem with making hard choices or admitting error (even behind closed doors).

    Dustin (44f8cb)

  27. Always thought Hoover was the most intelligent one.

    Based on CV, I’d have to say that Theodore Roosevelt beats all of them. His Naval War of 1812 is still considered definitive over 100 years later, his history of the American West was a fantastic example of the philosophy of American exceptionalism applied to historical studies and was also used for several decades, he managed to get the Russians and the Japanese to come to terms, and on and on.

    Nixon was ridiculously smart, and so was Clinton, but both ended up being too smart for their own good. Same thing with Carter and Hoover.

    Eisenhower, though, might be the most underrated President of the 20th century in terms of intelligence. The only reason he was portrayed as a simpletom by the left was because he was running against the classic leftwing intellectual elitist in Stevenson. He was arguably the last truly capable American president of the 20th century; he managed to find ways to let his subordinates think they were solely responsible for things that went well, while manuevering to let them take the heat when things did not. Nixon, of all people, called him “the most devious man I’ve ever met.”

    Another Chris (470967)

  28. I’ve updated this with a link to William Jacobson’s insightful post on the same topic.

    DRJ (84a0c3)

  29. the look on shatner’s face was priceless. i don’t know if he was acting or not, but it was like Denny Crane. He was positively mesmerized by her.

    That being said, i think it is premature to call it a turning point.

    A.W. (e7d72e)

  30. If the look on his face at the beginning was acting then he is a lot better than he has been given credit for. The end when the two of them walked off together was also great.

    Sabba Hillel (153338)

  31. She really handled that perfectly.

    SPQR (26be8b)

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