Brodner’s Cartoon du Jour: You Betcha!

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For the last two weeks Sarah Palin has been blitzing the media with her blame-all, victim-athon book tour (my take on her tends toward the extra-toony). It used to be that a candidate who aspired to higher office would struggle to prove her knowledge of issues and ideas on new directions for the country. Instead, in order to solidify her standing with a sector of the boobwazee, she struggles to show how wrapped in paranoia she can be.

Sam Tannenhause puts it this way in today’s New Yorker piece:

It happened…in 1976, when Ronald Reagan battled the incumbent Gerald Ford all the way to the National Convention; and in 1992, when Pat Buchanan harried George H.W. Bush during the primaries and then, in a televised address at the Convention, in Houston, thundered, “There is a religious war going on in this country.” A similar revolt is under way today, though as yet no insurgent tribune has emerged—except, possibly, Sarah Palin. Polls taken last November showed that she had alienated centrists, and a majority of people still eye her with mistrust. But this is beside the point. Populists, from William Jennings Bryan and Huey Long through Joseph McCarthy and George Wallace, have always been divisive and polarizing. Their job is not to win national elections but to carry the torch and inspire the faithful, and this Palin seems poised to do. That she is the first woman to generate populist fervor on such a scale enhances her appeal—and makes her, potentially, a figure of historic consequence.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

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It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

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Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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