Don’t mess with Alan Grayson

Sarah Palin gets both barrels.

Alan Grayson (D-Fl) already has a reputation for a sharp tongue, having suggested that Dick Cheney STFU and that the Republican health care plan consisted of “Don’t get sick” and “If you do get sick, die quickly.”

But Sarah Palin may have gotten a bit more than she bargained for when she decided to go after him. Here’s what she said, in his home district:

I got to meet quite a few candidates who are lining up in a contested primary who want to take out Alan Grayson. And I think Alan Grayson — what can you say about Alan Grayson? Piper is with me tonight, so I won’t say anything about Alan Grayson that can’t be said around children. But thank you, Florida, for allowing candidates in a contested primary to duke it out over ideas and principles and values, all with the same goal, and that is unseating those who have such a disconnect from the people of America. That’s what the goal is here in this race against Alan Grayson. Please fight hard, and do this for the rest of the country. Fight hard, and send a conservative to Washington, DC.

And here’s the response from Grayson’s website:

Palin, the former half-term Governor, current-nothing and future-even-less, charmed the all-Republican audience with her folksy folksiness and her homespun homespunnery. Atypically, Palin was wearing clothes that she had paid for herself. At the end of the event, she shared her recipe for mooseface pie.

In response to Palin’s attack on Rep Grayson, Grayson actually complimented Palin. Grayson praised Palin for having a hand large enough to fit Grayson’s entire name on it. He thanked Palin for alleviating the growing shortage of platitudes in Central Florida. Grayson added that Palin deserved credit for getting through the entire hour-long program without quitting. Grayson also said that Palin really had mastered Palin’s imitation of Tina Fey imitating Palin. Grayson observed that Palin is the most-intelligent leader that the Republican Party has produced since George W. Bush.

When asked to comment about what effect Palin’s criticism might have, Grayson pointed out, “As the Knave’s horse says in Alice in Wonderland, ‘dogs will believe anything.'” Earlier, as the Orlando Sentinel reported, Grayson said, “I’m sure Palin knows all about politics in Central Florida, since from her porch she can see Winter Park,” which is part of Grayson’s district.

Grayson said that the Alaskan chillbilly was welcome to return to Central Florida anytime, as long as she brings lots of money with her, and spends it. “I look forward to an honest debate with Governor Palin on the issues, in the unlikely event that she ever learns anything about them,” Grayson added, alluding to Politifact’s “liar, liar, pants on fire” evaluation of much of what Palin has said .

Scientists are studying Sarah Palin’s travel between Alaska and Florida carefully. They hope to learn more about the flight patterns of that elusive migratory species, the wild Alaskan dingbat.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

24 thoughts on “Don’t mess with Alan Grayson”

  1. Grayson´s got the balls but still has a way to go to sharpen his style of invective. If he is aiming for the professional troublemaker slot, he should study the sayings of pro-life Glasgow Marxist George Galloway, MP, expelled from the Labour Party, suspended from the House of Commons, persona non grata in both Israel and Egypt, but always welcome in Saddam´s Iraq.

    Other examples of how to do it:

    – The Earl of Sandwich to John Wilkes, circa 1770: ¨Sir, do you expect to die on the gallows or of the pox?¨

    Wilkes: ¨That depends, my Lord, on whether I embrace your Lordship´s principles or your mistress.¨

    – In the Oxford Union, ca. 1965, I heard Leofranc Holford-Strevens (sic) describe the young Douglas Hogg as ¨a shining wit, as Dr Spooner might have said¨.

  2. I'm sure he's a fine Congressman. And making fun of Palin is probably a reasonable way to deal with her. But it just didn't strike me as that funny.

  3. Oh, excellent. Hats off to Grayson and his people for that incredibly awesome response.

  4. “I look forward to an honest debate with Governor Palin on the issues, in the unlikely event that she ever learns anything about them,”

    pretty much sums it up

  5. James: "Grayson´s got the balls but still has a way to go to sharpen his style of invective."

    You don't use a scalpel on heads made of rock.

  6. > examples of how to do it

    "It is a marvel of medical science that they could first locate the one part of Randolph that was not malignant, and, having found it, immediately remove it"

    attributed (IIRC) to Auberon Waugh, on being told that Randolph Churchill had undergone the surgical removal of a tumour that turned out not to be malignant.

  7. Addressing Palin and her ilk in the manner adopted by Rep. Grayson is problematic in that: a, they won't get most of it; and b., they'll simply come back, more chipper than before, remaining irritants in the public eye.

    The problem, as Rachel Maddow discovered the other night in interviewing J.D. Hayworth, is that the nutters think that anything other than a refutation equal in vehemence and nuttery to their own constitutes assent.

  8. The British are better at this; but it isn't clear that it has much value beyond entertainment. Parliament is more fun to watch on C-Span than Congress — but the downside is that you excite more young Newt Gingrich's who would be better left unexcited. Galloway is another case in point. The man is a moral disaster and an ass — he loved and misses the Soviet Union: A Sarah Palin for a slightly more erudite but equally fucked-up constituency of nutjobs.

  9. Brevity, as the Bard reminds us, is the soul of wit: a funny concept that’s good for a one paragraph of snark should not be extended to fill an entire page. Rep. Grayson, like The Onion and Saturday Night Live, would do well to learn this principle.

  10. Larry, I don't think you're accusing James Wimberley of anything different, but just for clarification I'd say that it seemed pretty clear from his invocation of Saddam that, despite his specific admiration for Galloway's vehemence and vituperation, Wimberley shares your low opinion of Galloway.

    Getting to the actual post: me, I'm not so sure about this sort of thing. It's fun to read, and FSM knows Palin deserves no more respectful treatment and is no kinder to her opponents – but, on the other hand, she's an unemployed ex-politician making her living as a huckster and political sideshow. Wallowing in the slime of personal and political attacks is how she makes her money and remains in the public eye. I suspect that none of this is good for our politics or our public policy – especially because it is perfectly positioned for the process- and personality-oriented stories that our media love to do instead of writing substantive reports on policy proposals. If Palin and Grayson get in a slanging match, the press can gleefully report on it, and contribute to the idea that both parties are equal groups of carnival sideshow barkers with no important difference between them.

    It's like the health care debate: the provisions of the bill poll extremely well on their own and cleanly phrased, but the bill and its contents poll much worse when they are named, because although most news outlets have done a substantive story about the basic policy implications of the bill, albeit few outlets have done many more than one, for twelve months they've done daily reports about the endless wrangling, intrigue, and especially the substance-free but invective-rich accusations that each side launches. And this may go for Grayson's charge that the Republicans want the sick to die as well: as a substantive assessment of their policy prescription's effects it may be uncomfortably close to the truth, but when phrased as he did it seems as dishonest and meaningless, and as much a debasement of our public discourse, as Palin's lies about Death Panels.

    So, good for Grayson for standing up for himself. And it might be the case that when one party is using such flamboyant nonsense to good effect, the other must do the same or be left behind, so maybe he's doing the right thing not only for himself but also for his policy goals and his party. But I don't think it's a good development for our society.

  11. Hmm. Didn't we go through a period of unwelcome northern out-of-work politicians in the deep south once before? And isn't this a bit more, well, extreme (geographically and otherwise)?

  12. It would be funnier if it were shorter. But I agree that good natured ridicule is the best way to deal with Palin.

  13. This is fantastic. Just fantastic. Although if I were Grayson I would've been more careful to limit the jokes to solely Palin-related humor, and not risk offending Alaskans or other Northerners – not that it will directly affect him in Florida – but lets face it, Grayson (or anyone else) would have more than enough great material on Palin without having to include "mooseface pie" lines or emphasizing "Alaskan" a number of times.

    Still, this country could use more of this entertaining stuff.

  14. "A shining wit, as Dr. Spooner might have said" is a put-down I will treasure forever.


  15. I was bewildered after hearing Palin's remark about the only difference between hockey moms and pitbulls is lipstick. My dog Early sported quite a lipstick during his presence on earth and he wasn't a pitbull or a bitch. Maybe I just don't appreciate what passes as 'publican humor.

  16. "Shining wit" is great, but I agree with Larry Birnbaum that political wit may arouse the snarky in disproportionate numbers. And Newt is nothing if not snarky. William Buckley is the apotheosis of snarkiness, IMHO. Fun, but no substitute for sincerity and insight. The one-upsmanship of making a cutting joke in no way signifies the superiority of one's position. And while there are a few good jokes in Grayson's text, it's not exactly a boffo monologue–despite the fact that I couldn't agree more with Grayson's opinion of Palin's character.

  17. He could have just gone with this line: “I look forward to an honest debate with Governor Palin on the issues, in the unlikely event that she ever learns anything about them,” and left it at that.

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