Tuesday, August 10, 2010


I was going to ignore the story about Sarah Palin's confrontation with a disgusted Alaskan (video below; transcript here) because I assumed it wouldn't change any minds in the middle (yes, as New York magazine puts it, Palin does seem to roll her eyes when the woman who confronts her, Kathleen Gustafson, says she's a teacher, "as if to say, 'Of course, only a teacher would be such a liberal nut,'" but it was also obvious that Palin would respond with a wounded oh-but-I'm-a-teacher's-daughter tweet or Facebook post, and, well, here's the Facebook post). I also thought Palin got lucky in her enemies: Gustafson mostly limited herself to a critique of Palin's career management (rather than, say, her policy pronouncements), and she's seen before a banner of her own creation that calls Palin Alaska's WORST GOVERNOR EVER. A tad heavy-handed, no?

But, then, what's heavy-handed in this era? The only difference between Gustafson and the crowds that shouted down Democratic members of Congress at last summer's town meetings is that Gustafson is engaging in her confrontation and her heavy-handed sloganeering all alone -- and I mean not just all alone in this particular confrontation but apparently all alone in America. No other liberal in this country seems to be doing what she's doing. Certainly no one seems to be doing it in groups. Multiply Kathleen Gustafson by 100 and you've got a town hall demonstration; multiply that demonstration by a few dozen and you've got a movement.

But we don't have such a movement on our side, because we seem to have decided that the teabaggers have the copyright on public displays of anger at this moment.

In fact, there's plenty of untapped anger out there. There's no reason yet another movement couldn't spring up to articulate it. Obviously such a movement wouldn't have corporate sponsorship from the equivalent of Fox News or Freedomworks, but it might also tap into ordinary Americans' frustration and rage.

Gustafson was one liberal confronting one right-wing pol. How about a few more confronting a few more?

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