'Tea party' race
"Liberals long ago found the best way to fight conservatives was to avoid ideas and instead ascribe them a despicable motive, preferably racism (the charge of misogyny having lost its steam). When confronting a Catholic liberal, the motive one is often ascribed is not racism but Republicanism — as if this were the only explanation for why you wouldn't want Catholic dollars going to community organizations that promote abortion and same-sex marriage.
"The subject-motive shift — as we used to call this fallacy in logic class — has become so entrenched in the public mind that very few noticed it, until those in the Tea Party refused to take the bait. They weren't going to have their objections to government bailouts and Obamacare reduced to their supposed objection to an African-American president.
"In fact, the Tea Party represents a post-racial society better than President Obama in the White House. The president and his surrogates have not been very subtle in playing the race card, while the Tea Party refused to cower and cringe when charged with bigotry. They know full well that the racism of their parents is no longer part of the fabric of American society."
— Deal Hudson, writing on "A Tea Party Thanksgiving" on Nov. 24 at Inside Catholic
The right enemies
"Other than a few forced goofball throwaways ['Sarah Palin's Alaska'] rarely becomes overtly political. But with the introduction of [Joe] McGinniss, who rightly serves as the heavy, one is reminded of Palin's singular talent as a politician. It is why, in addition to her personal magnetism and charisma and ability to rile up often inchoate populist ire, she appeals to such a large swath of conservatives.
"And the reason is that no matter how annoying Palin is — no matter how jingoistic, no matter how shameless a headline-hunter, no matter how likely to sound like a 15-year-old Twitter-head ('SWEET diversion from politics! Dancing W/The Stars party in r livingroom tonight w/friends who r lovin' this change of pace 4 Sweet Bristol!') — she still manages to elicit often irrational hatred from politically motivated enemies who are even more annoying than she is.
"Only the hardest of hard-bitten cynics wouldn't feel sympathy for Palin when Andrew Sullivan advances conspiracy theories that she is not the biological mother of Trig. Or when a noxious gasbag like Joy Behar expresses surprise that Palin's book is a success since most of her base 'doesn't even read.' Or when a creepy finger-sniffer like McGinniss moves into a house next door to play Peeping Tom into her family sanctum, then publicly complains that he wants to be edited out of her show."
— Matt Labash, writing on "R U Lovin' Sarah's Alaska?" in the Nov. 20 Weekly Standard
"Eastwood's films often center on a character having an identity crisis without really knowing it. In the Westerns, this allowed him to give new spin to the Stone-Faced Stranger motif he took from his films with Sergio Leone: Whether it's the 'Outlaw Josey Wales,' whose thirst for revenge and inability to bury the axe after the Civil War prevents him from embracing his patchwork family; or Preacher in 'Pale Rider,' who tries and fails to give up violence (or, well, at least guns); or William Munny in 'Unforgiven,' who seeks the life of an anonymous family man, then tries to convince himself that he's doing this final act of killing for money and the sake of a whore's honor, and finally has to realize that he's a 'meaner-than-hell, cold-blooded, damn killer' after all.
"This idea is perhaps most clearly rendered in 'White Hunter Black Heart,' which is basically a movie about how John Huston (or John Wilson, the film's Huston stand-in, played by Eastwood himself) did everything he could to deny the fact that he was, essentially, a pampered, Hollywood director: The whole film works its way towards his acceptance of his duty and his job and calling action on the first shot of 'The African Queen'; note how his director's chair has 'Director' written on it, instead of his name, which I think would have been more common. "
— Bilge Ebiri, writing on "Why Clint Matters," on Nov. 14 at his blog They Live By Night