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Monica “I'm a Cheniac” Crowley on The Factor: Poor Picked-On Sarah Palin

Reported by Ellen - July 2, 2009 -

Guest blogged by Julie

Horrors everywhere for Fox News! Cap and trade passed the House! Obama isn't giving Bush credit in Iraq for a job . . . well done?! Sarah Palin's being picked on again – this time by her own party! Al Franken is certified – finally – as a Senator! Governor Sanford's wife ain't standing by her man! Where do I start? Okay, twist my arm – I'll start with Sarah Palin (and end with the segue into the future of the Republican Party).

Monica Crowley guest hosted The O'Reilly Factor Tuesday night (6/30/09), and she was just beside herself. It seems that the Alaskan Guv is being picked on again – this time by the Republicans. Get ready with plenty of hankies – it's gonna be tough for me, writing this through the river of tears.

“Why does the Governor still have a target on her back,” lamented Crowley. “ . . . Sarah Palin continues to be the target of her own party's smear tactics. A scathing new Vanity Fair article has the McCain camp taking aim at the Governor, saying she was 'nowhere near ready for the job of Vice President.' The question: why is the Republican Party tearing itself apart so publicly?” You can view the Vanity Fair article here. (Just for the record, also last night on the Factor, Crowley and Glenn Beck yucked it up about Al Franken being “Stuart Smalley.” and not Senator material. Seems she's got no beef with Democrats being so targeted.)

Crowley introduced GOP strategist Jennifer Millerwise Dyke, who turned out to be a reasonable voice unwilling to undertake the standard smear tactics otherwise known as the Fox News SOP, and who actually sounded reasonable.

“All right, Jennifer, what is going on here?” Crowley asked, clearly in despair. “I mean, Governor Palin is up in Alaska, she's running her state, she's making a speech or two here and there, the campaign is eight months over. Why do the McCain guys continue to dump all over Sarah Palin?” The bigger question is, why do you continue to deny Sarah Palin's complicity in every one of her dramas, and continue to treat her as some kind of victim?

And, let's face it, the “running her state” part is highly debatable – something Crowley omitted in her “Fair and Balanced” presentation. Since the campaign ended, Palin has been criticized on more than one occasion for serving her own interests instead of doing her job. “Disengaged from the legislative process” and “the executive is prioritizing her national image, her national brand, over the day-to-day operations of state government and the interests of the State of Alaska” are just a couple of comments. And that whole “making a speech or two” thing – does Crowley mean speeches blasting every blogger or comedian or pundit who criticizes her or her family? Of course, there was the Letterman incident, and now she's taken on an Alaskan blogger. I mean, yeah, defending herself would keep her pretty busy, but despite what Crowley tried to imply, it's not like Palin just slunk back up to Alaska to lick her wounds and quietly do her job. I think Sarah Palin is the one who needs to be reminded that the campaign is over. Oh, and that she lost.

Dyke responded, “Well first, I think that there's always a fascination in the behind the scenes stories, and that's the type of piece . . . this particular reporter is very good at writing . . . The losing side typically is dissected when it comes to what went wrong, who did what . . . .”

Poor Crowley – didn't get the tea and sympathy from Dyke she wanted. But she kept trying.

“I know that, Jennifer,” Crowley said, exasperated, “But you know, we've been through this drill, the campaign was over eight months ago, and people have had their say, so why continue to do this? Why pick on a woman who is, I guess, a seemingly easy target – is it because these McCain campaign guys . . . are trying to salvage their career so they can go on to work on other campaigns?” No, Monica, they're clearly trying to distance themselves from the Village Idiot. And for the record, she's an easy target because, like an 8th grader, she insists on throwing herself out there to respond to what sometimes seems to be every little slight. I mean, come on – she even challenged President Obama to a foot race! “Easy target” doesn't even begin to cover it.

“I don't know the motive behind the story,” Dyke said. “I will agree with you that I don't think it's helpful for us to continue to look backwards instead of forward . . . There's some things that Sarah Palin could be focusing on as well that will help her to kind of stay out of the limelight. I think that in recent weeks we've seen her out there battling and doing tit for tats with David Letterman, which I think is really unhelpful.” Dyke seemed unwilling to flat out defend Sarah Palin, much to Crowley's chagrin.

“I think she should be focusing on,” Dyke continued, “Things she needs to be focusing on, becoming and being viewed as a true statesman. And she can do that by focusing on being Governor, by focusing on some key policy issues, like energy for example . . . even some foreign travel, such as to Russia . . . I'd rather have them making fun of her for being involved in substantive issues than getting involved in, again, with tit for tats with David Letterman and things like that.” What we've been saying for eight months – get the hell back up to Alaska, stay there, and govern.

Crowley may have had an “uh-oh” moment with Dyke's recalcitrance, but her solution was to completely ignore the topic. As if Dyke hadn't spoken, and clearly trying to deflect heat away from Palin, Crowley asked, “Why do you think Republicans do this to each other?” Hmm, maybe Palin's not the only Village Idiot. Okay, Mon, they're doing this because Palin practically has “Palin 2012” tattooed on her forehead, the Republicans are no doubt as horrified as the rest of us that she might actually represent the Party as a presidential candidate, and there are some who think she may have single-handedly tanked McCain's presidential dream in the 2008 election.

Dyke replied honestly, “I think ‘cause we’re on the outs right now. You know we had eight years where we had a clear leader of the party, just as the Democrats do now . . . and the fact is, we've just come off of two really tough elections. We lost the House, we lost the Senate, we lost the White House. And there's no clear, obvious leader of the Party that we're going to be able to be, all get behind in the next three or four years.”

Dyke continued, “That person will certainly emerge, but until that happens I'm afraid that people are spending way too much talking about the Mark Sanfords in the world . . . big distractions . . . instead of focusing on . . . important policy issues that are going on. We are losing so many opportunities right now with the Administration that's currently in power and the out of control spending, these new policies on cap and trade – I mean, the list goes on and on for the things that we should be talking about as a Party, and unfortunately we're focused on the past and on things that really aren't very consequential to the American people.”

Failing to incite much sympathy for Palin from Dyke, Crowley veered off the Palin topic and talked about the “ . . . explosion of big government being led by the Democrats. . . This is a providential opportunity for the Republicans to get their acts together and start attacking on the basis of issues and concepts and agendas and ideas rather than go after a woman who was the vice-presidential nominee eight months ago!” Well, well, well – out of the mouths of babes. Admitting to “attacking” is something new here – though the Republicans have been doing it since January, they like to think of it as “standing up to” the Obama Administration, not “attacking."

“Well . . . and there’s someone who has done that,” Dyke said, “. . . former Vice President Dick Cheney. He's the one who's gone out there and filled the void . . . .”

“And I love former Vice President Dick Cheney,” Crowley gushed. “I'm a Cheniac . . . .” I couldn't make this up, folks – yes, she really said that. 

“I think . . .,” Crowley continued, “There's a Republican, a leadership vacuum, and Cheney stepped into it because, honestly, Jennifer, there were so many Republicans, conservatives, even moderates and conservative Democrats, who are very disturbed at what's happening out of Washington with this out of control spending, an explosion of the debt, an explosion of the deficit . . . We want somebody hitting back. Cheney stepped into the vacuum... So apart from him, Jennifer, do you see anybody else? For example, former Governor Mitt Romney . . . .” First “attacking,” now “hitting back.” Crowley is clearly a novice at concealing the hidden Fox News agenda.

Dyke replied, “ . . . I'm not sure that you're going to see any particular serious candidate step out right now . . . It's unfortunate for us as a party . . . but I do think that . . . we're going to have a few more months where you still have that continued void when it comes to one clear voice defending the Party.”

“Well,” Crowley replied, defeated. “And remember, Barack Obama was a very unknown State Senator and U.S. Senator for many years and he came up from nowhere, so hopes remain high for the Republican Party.”

To paraphrase Mickey Rourke's line from that great old movie, Diner: If you don't have dreams, you have nightmares.