In LA Times, Meghan Daum Admits Cold Feet about Sarah Palin

Meghan Daum–always incisive, often funny, occasionally brilliant–wrote a column for the Los Angeles Times last week that I first noticed because of the Hall-of-Fame correction appended to it:

FOR THE RECORD:
Politics: In Meghan Daum’s April 17 column on Sarah Palin, Palin was misspelled as Pain in one reference.

Daum is a terrific writer.  A decade ago, she published a gloriously rambunctious collection of essays titled My Misspent Youth.

I’m eager to read her imminent confession about succumbing to real estate addiction and other forms of materialism and status-envy after her move from Nebraska to LA: Life Would Be Perfect If I Lived In That House .

And having read her whole LA Times column now: “Why Sarah Palin doesn’t get what she deserves” I’m struck by a couple of things she says.

Daum writes, “Palin has gumption…But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have gone after her harder on many fronts. I didn’t do it because I didn’t want to come across as a mean-spirited smarty pants.”

She also admits, “Because the Palin machine ingeniously rebrands any criticism…as bilious emanations of the ‘lamestream media’(this being code for liberal elitist, which is code for educated…) it’s all but impossible to challenge her without being discredited…”

I think we should read and re-read the above. One of the hottest Gen-X writers on the radar screen says she pulled her punches at Sarah because she was afraid of being attacked by Palinists. Now that she sees Sarah as down and probably out (“Sarah Palin probably isn’t running for president”) she expresses remorse, because she feels it’s safe to do so.

While we might not applaud her careerism, we should at least give her credit for ‘fessin up, even at this late date. Very few of the many worse offenders have had the courage to do so.

She writes that when attacking Palin “It’s impossible not to feel like we’re punching shamefully below our weight…Palin lacks the intellectual, analytical and rhetorical skills to have a competent discussion about policy or much else…She is, in terms of the political arena, easily outclassed.”

Yes, but: you’re only kicking her now when she’s down. In 2008, when it mattered, you shied away for fear of being “discredited.”

Meghan Daum is not the writer of whom I’d make an example in that regard. And her fresh burst of candor shines a light on the dark, wormy cellar of fear and ambition that dictates the parameters of so much MSM discussion of politics. Why is Matt Taibi one of the few political journalists worth reading today? Because, like Hunter Thompson and Jimmy Breslin back in the day, he writes it as he sees and feels it.

Meghan Daum’s admission that she did not should be applauded. Never too late to return to the true faith of writing without fear or favor.

28 Responses to “In LA Times, Meghan Daum Admits Cold Feet about Sarah Palin”

  • Dusty:

    Wonder if Meghan will start “reporting” on Palin now. Or even if she will start reporting on the GOP, Tea Party and the Koch Bros. Or even the lady in California who sent out the racist email about Pres.O.
    Nice Blog Joe and I am looking forward to reading your book.

  • ForeverAnonymous:

    I wouldn’t say that Palin is been kicked while down. It just may be that the time is now to avert a greater catastrophe, not because Palin may win, but because she may run. The public still have time to recuperate from confessions like Daum’s and confirm that Palin is worth of their disdain.

    The lines that describe Palin in an unflattering way have always say it best:

    Pipe Dreams
    http://www.portfolio.com/executives/features/2009/03/17/Governor-Palins-Big-Energy-Battles/

    It Came From Wasilla.
    http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2009/08/sarah-palin200908

    It is good to confirm that.

  • FrostyAK:

    These people stating they were afraid to confront $palin (or Pain, as many of us find her to be) are adding to the evidence that Brad Scharlott cites in his research paper – about the ‘spiral of silence’. Way too little too late from the MSM.

    These “reporters” might have allowed the always narcissistic Wild Alaskan Dingbat to be one faltering old man heartbeat away from the “nucular” codes. If one can’t even say the word properly, they should be nowhere near such power. $arah’s penchant for retribution could have annihilated us all by now…

    What is now considered reporting makes me sick. There used to be INVESTIGATIVE reporters, now it seems there are just corporate shills.

    Joe, we are hoping that your book will be a ‘no holds barred’ total expose.

  • Mickey:

    “it’s all but impossible to challenge her without being discredited as a biased and therefore unqualified source.”

    I’ve never heard of this writer before. Unsurprising, considering.

    Ms. Daum would -quite literally- be a hero today if she had been brave enough to treat the Palin pick as the farce it was. It was a desperate time in American presidential politics – and our media let us down badly.

  • carrieoki:

    Dear Joe,
    I posted the following to the LA Times, but am unsure whether it will “pass inspection” there.
    The following is an observation, not a diagnosis. Palin is the perpetual victim, which is the primary symptom of sociopathy. She lies. She does not accept blame. She engineers the discrediting or firing of people who disagree or cross her. Rules are for others, but not for her. She uses others for tools, including her family. All of these are noted as symptoms of sociopathy in “the sociopath next door: The Ruthless Versus the Rest of Us,” by Martha Stoudt, Ph.D., Crown, 2005; Broadway, 2006. The author of this book states 1 in 25 Americans are sociopaths. Women and men, usually nonviolent. A sociopath could be a family member, a boss, a neighbor, a politician. The best way to deal with a sociopath is to not engage with them, i.e., turn the other way and run like hell.
    It is my opinion that normal people can sense this in Palin and as self-protection, do not engage with her. But, I wish there were more journalists (and there are a few writers that are putting out books–Geoffrey Dunn on May 10, Frank Bailey on May 24, and Joe McGinness in September) who would expose her for the vindictive manipulative, power hungry witch that she is.

  • Heidi3:

    It appears that Prof. Scharlott’s “Spiral of Silence” has birthed a nasty, self-preserving offspring called “CYA”. Yup – current day “investigative journalism”, Stage II. Hopefully, Stage III will be backpeddling, the consequence of which will be even more revenue from site hits, which I firmly believe is already planned – Oh, Hi there, Arianna Huffington, et al. Stage IV (wishful thinking): the “Spiral” augers into the desert floor, and is no more.

    Good for Meghan Daum! I love her writing, too, although having lived in status-ruled L.A. for 57 years, I probably would have titled my work Life Would Be Perfect If Everyone Saw Me Living In That House. I admire her for having reached back into her honest self, pulling out and stating forthrightly what has been obvious all along. I’m glad you highlighted her, Joe.

    And thank YOU a thousand times for being there for all of us who have months and years invested in the search for and revelation of the truth behind this evil. The saga MUST be pursued, not only for what might have been (a heartbeat away!), but to ensure that it never happens again. And that will require an honest, non-corporate owned, inquisitive press.

  • cranberry:

    Thanks for directing me to Matt Taibi’s writings, Joe.

    I love hearing people say, simply and clearly, what is obvious and right before our noses.

  • Gindy52:

    I call BS on her excuse. She didn’t go after Palin for the same reason no one else did. Palin sold papers and magazines at a time when those same sales were dropping. Palin made clicks on websites and blogs go into the stratosphere. You don’t kill off the Golden Goose, no matter how much you are disgusted by her. The media, left and right, propped her up for all to see so they could make MONEY. Period, end of story.

  • VictoriaJ:

    What I find interesting is that ANYONE thinks Sarah Palin has “gumption”. Sarah Palin is a coward.

    When she isn’t hiding behind one way social media and letting her internet attack dog, Rebecca Mansour, screech nasty rhetoric at those unlucky enough to tune in; then she is trying to lure President Obama to acknowledge her by her almost daily Obama bashings (which are getting pretty embarrassing as she seems to be stalking the President like a lovelorn, angry teen). If not twittering idiocy, she’s being rubbed over at FOX where they feed her answers like the low watt celebrity she is.

    People need to get over this meme that Palin is brave and spirited. When faced with real reporters (which she never is) she’d fold like a cheap suit. Its easy to seem brave when your questioners have been set up in advance not to ask you even one hard policy question and lets you go on harangues. Palin is a blowhard weakling that uses her flying monkey followers to make sure nobody drops a house on her.

  • Mary:

    I agree completely with your thoughts on this article, Joe. It’s frustrating that professional journalists would feel that they shouldn’t be “mean” to the dumb lady WHO MIGHT HAVE BEEN ELECTED VICE PRESIDENT, but on the other hand it’s good to finally read some honesty on the subject. Especially after the past few days of fake “debunking”.

    Matt Taibbi is awesome. I’d love to see the Palin monkeys try to take him on. His piece about the Tea Party and it’s government provided scooter lovin members was so great.

  • dmoreno:

    It is refreshing to see that some journalists are stabbing at redemption and reflecting on how they have handled SP. An interesting comparison is how the MSM is attacking Donald Trump. He has basically stepped into her shoes and all of the big players have no problem hitting him below the belt. I wonder why? I completely understand not taking out the big gloves when dealing with little minds, but Donald is no scholar and in some cases, just as stupid. Does anybody think it has anything to do with the fact that SP is a woman? This truly is an interesting phenomena.

  • Mary:

    Absolutely. The only parts of the definition of gumption that apply to Palin are “aggressiveness” and (maybe) shrewdness.

  • Mary:

    Ooops – it’s should be its.

  • Heidi3:

    OK, but don’t you at least give Meghan some credit for speaking out now? She’s one of the first. I know that if I’d been in her shoes, my instinct would have been to scream at my editor, “Why the hell are we giving this Wasilla hillbilly the time of day?”. But what if I’d been told to sit down and shut up for the time being – maybe the publisher had a ‘grand plan’ that I wasn’t privy to? Do we really know if Meghan has personally benefitted from not speaking out until now? I don’t – I’m not aware of her past writings about Palin, but would be glad to learn.

    And yes, I think it can be said that Palin has “gumption” – brass balls, if you will. For example, she had the RNC in the palm of her hand that night: a teleprompter loaded with a scathing speech, and excellent delivery. And thanks to the $250K free wardrobe & stylists, drooling sycophants, and the “prop” family – Trig being the most vulnerable little guy thrust out like a trophy, let alone red-faced Bristol – she was empowered to continue the charade. All of these trappings, combined with her innate sociopathic narcissism, have led her to believe that she’s actually relevant. To some, this is perceived as “gumption”.

  • g:

    I think you misspelled it. It’s “shrewishness.”

  • crystalwolfakacaligrl:

    Victoria,
    Love your comment esp the end “fold like a cheap suit” lol! Been tweeting it out, hope you don’t mind…

  • Kurt Eckhardt:

    I’m a major Daum fan (I even greatly enjoyed her Palin essay) who found this blog via Joe’s exchange with Meghan on Twitter.

    I’m also someone who has better things to do with my life than cash in by terrorizing Sarah Palin.

    And I wouldn’t waste my time commenting here if not moved to repulsion by a few of the earlier comments.

    Besides contrasting the leftist inspired media attention toward Bristol Palin’s pregnancy, compared to the hardly mentioned $1mil a year lobbying gig and business exploits of Hunter Biden (not to mention Ashley Biden’s cocaine use) where are the “investigative” forays into Obama’s life?

    How was Obama admitted to Ivy League, Columbia after two years as a so-so student at Occidental ? Where are his transcripts? Grades? Admission papers?

    Likewise, where are his records from Harvard. (unlike most law students, Obama “skipped” a couple of years between undergrad and law school) Was his law school education financed by Rezko? Was Obama an “affirmative” admittance?

    In a half century on this planet didn’t he have any friends to provide “background” other than a few college roommates, Jeremiah Wright and Tony Rezko?

    I’m no birther and unlike 99% of the people who’ll read this, as a former Chicago pol, I’ve spoken with Obama a handful of times between 98-04. And although I’m not a political supporter of his, I have no personal animosity toward him. If anything, I view him as a good guy.

    But anyone who asserts that Obama was vetted by the media with any where near the same blood thirsty enthusiasm that was reserved for Palin, is only lying to themselves.

    Then again, improper vetting leads to exposed character flaws like reversals on Gitmo, undeclared “humanitarian” bombing in Libya, signing statements….

    And to the leftist cretin who earlier mentioned the Koch Brothers: It’s hilarious that 2 brothers from America’s heartland, who employ 70,000 Americans, are demonized while leftist, Hungarian born, Move On financing George Soros is an icon even though at this very moment, the Quantom Fund’s largest holding is a long gold position (almost 10% of their portfolio-a huge bet by such a big fund). And as risk taking conservatives know, owning gold is a de facto short dollar trade.

    Soros talks like FDR but he trades like he’s Ron Paul.

    Keep drinking the kool-aid, you twats.

  • mo:

    Troll. Paid 25 cents per message, I’m guessing.

  • Mary:

    Wow, you seemed fairly reasonable and civil until the very end.

  • Kurt Eckhardt:

    Sorry Mary. my short S&P position popped against me while I was writing-left me in a bitter mood. My apologies!

  • sallyngarland,tx:

    Conservative blogger Matt Lewis has a book on Amazon “The Quotable Rogue” due June 28. The cover is almost all solid red with a black moose on the cover. Strangely resembles McGinniss’ book cover. I wonder if it was on purpose.

  • emrysa:

    “But anyone who asserts that Obama was vetted by the media with any where near the same blood thirsty enthusiasm that was reserved for Palin, is only lying to themselves.”

    it appears you have missed the entire point of why people are still trying to expose the quitter. SHE WAS NOT VETTED. you’ve put up a false equivalency.

    the mccain campaign kept putting forward a myth of this woman, and the press ate-it-up. had they actually VETTED her, they would have seen that her story/persona is nothing but a manufactured image that does not exist in reality.

  • jk:

    I got a good laugh from the description of the book.

  • lilly lily:

    Saw a movie called Hanna, about a teen age assasin. The opening sequence was Hanna hunting down a large male reindeer in the wilds of Finland, mid winter. Hanna is everything Palin would like to be. But Hanna can speak Arabic, Japanese, German, English to name of few things Palin can’t do, including her gutting and skinning the large Caribou she had killed, and drags back to the Brothers Grimm cottage where her Uncle?father? is teaching her all his own skills as a CIA. Agent.

    Hanna is a tough cookie. Has need to be.

    Palin, or Pain as she is so correctly misidentified as, is just as deadly in her own way. She poisons everything she touches.

    Though were Hanna knows every variety of Kung Fu, and is almost super human in ability, Palin is a wimp masquerading as a tough cookie.

    Sarah Pain might be as hard as nails, but she isn’t treated as what she is by the media. A fake a fraud, and a cheat on every level. And why not. Because the media are wimpish outmaneuvered by another thin skinned wimp.

  • icvillages:

    Quite possibly my two most favorite Palin pieces that drove Sarah to quit her one and only statewide elected position right there in the middle.

    Talk about real-estate addiction, materialism and status-envy, Sarah didn’t have to move from Alaska to L.A. to become addicted to OPM (other people’s money) – she’s lived off of public money for 20 years before hitting the national trail. Found money and celebrity was addicting, she had to quit (as long as she wasn’t beloved anymore and cherry-pick governing wasn’t so fun anymore) in order to cash in on that instantaneous, unearned fame and notoriety.

    The New Yorker did some seriously unflattering numbers on her, as did the New York Times, Newsweek and many other LSM. . .

    Looking forward to the summer of Palin, blockbuster books for sure – but for once she’s not the one wagging the dog.

  • VictoriaJ:

    Oh my. Mr. Sanity seems to have absconded from your building and is having a smoke behind the dumpsters.

  • dmoreno:

    I will assert that Obama was vetted–not much going on it seems.–SP was thrust into our faces with no prior knowledge of really who she was. We had a chance to get to know Obama. The media may have looked “blood thirsty” but were actually just scrambling to catch up. Once they found all the skeletons in her closet, there was much to fuss about. You may disagree with Obama and think there are a few skeletons in his closet, but by comparison, SP beats everyone HANDS down. Her hypocrisy is unmatched, probably ever, in recorded history. In reality, the media has, as is being shown of late, not REALLY asking all the pertinent questions making the rest of us Blood Thirsty, for sure.

  • Archivist1000:

    Ashely Biden’s cocaine use?

    Surely you aren’t referring to that long-ago debunked FAKE photo?