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Hannity’s Bullyboy Pique A Sure Sign Sarah Palin Is In Trouble

Reported by Ellen - September 3, 2008 -

Sean Hannity seems to be getting it that Sarah Palin’s candidacy is in trouble. Hannity & Colmes was broadcasting from the Republican National Convention last night (9/2/08). Could there be any place Hannity should feel happier and more comfortable? But the exuberance of the night before was gone and replaced with a bullyboy pique. Even more telling was that Hannity spent more time talking about Barack Obama than about Palin and McCain. Meanwhile, as Hannity complained about the death of journalism, he and FOX News neatly avoided discussing the substantive issues that make Palin’s candidacy so troubling. With video.

Speaking from a broadcast area that looked to be smack in the middle of the crowd (quite a distinction from the hidden sky box used at the Democratic Convention), Hannity was clearly in a mood. Whereas the night before Hannity had marveled over Palin as “the greatest pick they could have made!” now she was the victim of a biased media and not nearly as important as the undeserving Obama.

Hannity’s first comment to his first guest, Dick Morris, tellingly deflected away from Palin. “Sarah Palin has been now in the public spotlight for five days. There have been tougher and harder questions that have been asked relentlessly by a biased news media about her daughter than about Barack Obama who’s running for 19 months.”

Morris agreed. “A man would never have to go through this, that her husband was DWI 20 years ago, that her daughter’s having a kid, that there’s a fight going on between her sister and her husband. Her husband tasered the kid. That would never be asked about a man.”

Of course what they really meant is that it should only be asked about a Democratic and/or black man. Because Edward R. Hannity has spent hours of airtime trying to make political hay out of Obama’s attendance at The Million Man March 13 years ago, Michelle Obama’s thesis 20 years ago and Obama’s casual connection to former Weather Underground member William Ayers, whose radical activities ended 40 years ago and is now a college professor and perfectly upstanding member of society.

Even more important, the really troubling issues about Palin are not about her family, though the husband’s DUI, their pregnant teenager and her own covered-up shotgun wedding do not exactly serve as glowing recommendations for her particular brand of conservative family values.

But as Hannity and Morris surely knew, but failed to mention, the importance of the dispute between Palin and her ex-brother-in-law is that she may have abused her power and broken the law. It’s an issue of sufficient importance that the State of Alaska is investigating and Palin has lawyered up.

Laughably, Morris went on to praise her as an ethics crusader who cleaned up Alaska politics “top to bottom.”

Also not discussed were these inconvenient facts about Palin: She lied about her opposition to the Bridge To Nowhere, was the director for a 527 group in support of corrupt senator Ted Stevens, was a big fan of the earmarks that McCain outspokenly opposes, and has ties to a fringe secessionist group whose motto is “Alaska First” at the same time that McCain’s campaign slogan is “Country First.” As Emptywheel points out, the big question is whether or not the McCain campaign was too inept to discover these facts that have quickly been unearthed in the few days since Palin was chosen or whether the campaign didn’t care about such astonishing variances with its own positions.

After briefly touching on and then dismissing the possibility that Palin might be replaced, Hannity, complained again that “journalism is dead” and went on another tear against Obama for not getting the kind of scrutiny that Palin is getting (though not, it seems, on "We report. You decide" FOX News). Apparently, the 24/7 coverage of Rev. Wright and “bittergate” didn’t count.

Morris, however, had good news for the peevish Hannity. “I think this is going to be a huge win for McCain,” Morris said. “In choosing Palin, McCain emphasizes his battle against corruption, his battle against the insiders in Washington, his fight against government spending.” Morris predicted that Palin will emphasize those factors in her speech Wednesday night. Never mind that it won’t exactly be the truth. “Voters are going to love that speech,” Morris predicted. “And once they love that speech, they’re going to love McCain for selecting her and even love him more for standing by her.” This from the same man who predicted that Hurricane Katrina cleanup would give President Bush a huge boost in popularity.

Hannity went back to attacking Obama. “She has far more executive experience than Barack Obama, the community organizer, has,” Hannity complained. Despite claiming to admire her background, the only thing Hannity singled out was her choice to have a Down’s Syndrome baby and five children. Not very vice-presidential, eh?

Alan Colmes has done a lot of excellent blogging about Palin but on television he has refrained from dwelling on the most serious questions about her record such as the corruption investigation and her ties to the Alaska secessionist group. It suggests that the topics are a FOX News no-no.

Still, Colmes made the overall most important point, that ultimately it’s about McCain more than Palin. “Was she vetted properly?” Colmes asked. “They spoke on the phone once. They met once. Apparently, McCain’s team went to Alaska the day before he announced her as the candidate. What did they know? How much did they know? What are they not prepared for? Was the vetting process – was it just an instinctive, sudden decision because Hillary Clinton wasn’t on the Democratic ticket?”

“What’s vetting supposed to be?” Morris asked incredulously. “You find out her public record. You go through her finances. You go through her taxes. You go through any criminal involvement. You go through any accusations that have been made. You go through how she does. Do you ask, ‘Was your husband DWI?’ Do you ask, ‘Is your daughter pregnant?’ Do you ask questions like that?”

And in just a few moments, Morris was blaming the Obama campaign for the personal attacks being leveled at Palin’s family.

By the way, if you look carefully at the video, it’s clear that there were large sections of the arena that were nearly empty, a stark contrast to the Pepsi Center in Denver which was filled to overflowing. You may need to have the video set so that it takes up your entire screen to see the empty seats because the cameras seemed to be making a point of not focusing on those sections.