Palin Goes John Birch Society

Josh Marshall asks:

Why is Sarah Palin referring to Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) as "Uncle Barney Frank"? Someone help me with this.

The John Birch Society used to call Joseph Stalin "Uncle Joe," in derisive reference to the US alliance with Russia during WWII. Get it? Barney Frank is a Communist according to the Republicans.

By Big Tent Democrat, speaking for me only

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    Funny, I read that same quote (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by andgarden on Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 10:09:56 AM EST
    an entirely different way. Gay relatives are always being introduced as "uncle" thus and such.

    But your reading makes at least as much sense, especially in the "Obama is a socialist!" context.

    Maybe a two-fer (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 10:11:29 AM EST
    Whatever, (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by KeysDan on Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 10:14:11 AM EST
    but it is certainly safe to assume that it is not a compliment.

    yup (none / 0) (#5)
    by andgarden on Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 10:14:07 AM EST
    Given the context is "family" (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by rilkefan on Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 10:39:05 AM EST
    that makes much more sense to me.

    Here's the whole quote: (none / 0) (#19)
    by andgarden on Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 10:43:11 AM EST
    "Now they do this in other countries where the people are not free -- government as part of the family, taking care of us, making decisions for us," she said during a rally in Sioux City, Iowa. "I don't know what to think of having in my family Uncle Barney Frank or others to make decisions for me."
    I can absolutely see it both ways. The context supports BTD's interpretation, but I think the subtext supports mine.

    Um (5.00 / 0) (#22)
    by lilburro on Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 10:50:17 AM EST
    entering Michelle Bachmann territory...you are now cleared for landing...

    Indeed (5.00 / 0) (#23)
    by andgarden on Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 10:53:03 AM EST
    Bachmann and Palin remind me of each other.

    I don't know (none / 0) (#25)
    by lilburro on Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 11:12:03 AM EST
    Are they all just going crazy?

    The "hope" Obama represents, therefore, is not hope at all. It is the misery of his utopianism imposed on the individual.

    Ok I am scurrying away from NRO now.


    She connected values to economic interest (none / 0) (#29)
    by bison on Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 11:56:51 AM EST
    Before she made these comments, Palin spoke about an Obama presidency would undermine the family values of hard work and so. . . .  She intertwined all this with the total collapse of an American value system as people like her understood.

    That helps the Stalin hypo some (none / 0) (#44)
    by rilkefan on Mon Oct 27, 2008 at 10:57:47 AM EST
    but why use "family" so prominently if not your hypo?  And there's "Uncle Saddam", and maybe other relevant non-Stalin refs.  I find it implausible that McCain's campaign is sending Palin out to transparently link Barney Frank with one of the worst people in history - and if so, then where's the uproar?  Where are the other wingnut references to Reid or Daschle or Ted Kennedy (well, no, "Uncle Teddy" is current among Democrats)?

    gay relatives are uncles? (none / 0) (#42)
    by coigue on Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 07:33:02 PM EST
    what if they are female? What about real uncles?

    Actually FDR is usually credited with ... (5.00 / 3) (#4)
    by Robot Porter on Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 10:13:02 AM EST
    giving Stalin that nickname.

    During the war (none / 0) (#7)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 10:14:38 AM EST
    FDR died in 1945.

    Its persistent use is a John Birch creation.

    So really you are wrong in context - at actually repeating a John birch line.


    The John Birch Society used it ... (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by Robot Porter on Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 10:17:36 AM EST

    Which they couldn't have done if FDR hadn't originated the appellation.

    I get you're point.  But I'm still right.

    Now final Jeopardy:  Who was John Birch?

    (no googling)


    Right on the trivia (none / 0) (#9)
    by AF on Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 10:18:39 AM EST
    BTD's right on the politics and the point.

    You're wrong on the point (none / 0) (#10)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 10:21:47 AM EST
    which is that the CONTINUED use of "Uncle Joe" is a John Birch thing.

    FDR used it while fighting the Nazis, did anyone object to the smootihing of the monster that was Stalin during WWII? Really?


    Who was John Birch? (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Robot Porter on Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 10:24:25 AM EST
    I think the answer is rather interesting.

    So? Who is he? (none / 0) (#14)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 10:27:56 AM EST
    Army Intelligence Officer ... (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Robot Porter on Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 10:33:36 AM EST
    and Baptist missionary who was killed by Chinese communist forces in 1945.

    The Right Wing heralded him as a martyr and considered him the first victim of the cold war.


    Right -- here's the link (none / 0) (#39)
    by Exeter on Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 04:07:04 PM EST
    seriously... (5.00 / 0) (#12)
    by white n az on Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 10:25:00 AM EST
    does anyone actually take anything that Sarah Palin says seriously?

    Her politics of division and identification are so last election cycle.

    Des Moines Register today endorsed Barack Obama and specifically stated...

    Worst of all, in grasping for political edge in his choice of a running mate, he burdened his ticket and potentially the country with an individual utterly unqualified to ascend to the presidency. Before choosing Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, McCain emphasized the importance of experience and sound judgment in fighting terrorism and confronting a restive Russia and a rising China. He has also questioned Obama's readiness to be commander in chief. Then he picked a running mate who clearly isn't ready.

    Those are some pretty harsh sentiments...Utterly unqualified

    Seems like a stretch to me (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by rilkefan on Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 10:36:36 AM EST
    See here.  The prosody of "Uncle Barney Frank" makes "Uncle Joe" a totally clunky reference if intended.

    Uncle Barney's Hamburger's in San Antonio? (none / 0) (#20)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 10:45:09 AM EST
    That's your theory?

    Um, you are wrong.


    No. Allow me to explain what google does (none / 0) (#24)
    by rilkefan on Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 11:06:37 AM EST
    since you don't appear to understand.  It provides a list of links to pages in which the search term appears - that establishment in San Antonio is just one of them.  The search I linked shows a lot of "Uncle Barney" references in the culture.  For all you or I know there's a relevant Uncle Barney on TV or in Nascar or elsewhere.  (Note that this is a hypothesis, not a theory.  And see "stretch" .)  Or andgarden's hypothesis is right.  Or it's something else.  Or it's just a randomly derisive frame that stuck.  You have a hypothesis.  If you claim to know based on the above, you're not being reality-based.

    Uncle Pedophile? (5.00 / 0) (#30)
    by 1980Ford on Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 12:25:18 PM EST
    Google these in turn...

    gay pedophile

    gay pedophile uncle

    gay pedophile uncle freeper

    To understand Palin, it is necessary to know she is church/talk radio/right wing educated and she can't help but use their buzz words. She is the personification freeperville and Rush Limbaugh ditto heads. The gay allusion, if that is what it is, is just another layer.


    "Uncle Milty" (none / 0) (#36)
    by 1980Ford on Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 01:51:22 PM EST
    Freedom's Milton "Uncle Milty" Friedman

    No one holds a more honored position in the freedom movement of the last 50 years. In May, he spoke to Hillsdale College President Larry Arnn. Here is Nobel economist Milton Friedman, in his own words.


    Heh (none / 0) (#34)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 01:32:27 PM EST
    The p[ropblem is your link had nothing but the San Antonio joint you dope.



    Sorry, but you're computer-illiterate (none / 0) (#43)
    by rilkefan on Mon Oct 27, 2008 at 10:29:13 AM EST
    if your browser returns just that San Antonio link - it's not even first in the google list.  Here's the plain text url: http://www.google.com/search?q=uncle+barney&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:e n-US:official&client=firefox-a I gave.  Maybe http://www.google.com/search?q=uncle+barney would have been safer, though.  But obviously San Antonio was irrelevant.

    ya (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by connecticut yankee on Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 10:38:46 AM EST
    Makes sense.  Theyve been pushing the marxist, communist nightmare stuff, including a bit from Palin about countries losing their freedom.

    I'm shocked by how totally unhinged theyve become. Nobody in the middle believes it, only these goofuses on the far right.

    Still a problem (5.00 / 0) (#28)
    by bison on Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 11:54:31 AM EST
    It is a  concern that anybody believes it!

    Is this the right room for an argument? (5.00 / 3) (#26)
    by jerry on Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 11:13:50 AM EST

    I've told you once. (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by dws3665 on Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 11:31:08 AM EST
    Paternalism and funny uncles (5.00 / 0) (#31)
    by Zeno on Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 12:26:55 PM EST
    In the context of talking about good old American self-reliance and family values, mentioning getting advice from "Uncle Barney" is a way of dismissing paternalistic advice from those who are related but not part of the nuclear family. (Pronounced noo-kyu-ler for added impact.) The gay angle is also possible, since "funny uncle" is often a euphemism for a gay family member.

    Of course, parsing Palin is like looking for pearls with a muckrake. Unless the pig swallowed grandma's necklace, you're not going to find any.

    Maybe Palin herself doesn't know (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by ThatOneVoter on Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 01:01:03 PM EST
    what it means, and is simply reading the line from a script. Heck, given the confusion and arguments displayed here, I wonder if the writer even had any clear idea except that "Uncle Barney Frank" sounded bad. Remember, some of these speechwriters are quite young.

    Fiddle about (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by white n az on Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 03:15:41 PM EST
    I'm your wicked Uncle Ernie,
    I know you won't see or hear me,
    as I fiddle about, fiddle about, fiddle about.

    Your mother left me here to mind you,
    now I'm doing what I want to,
    fiddle about, fiddle about, fiddle about.

    Tommy, the Who

    Despicable. (none / 0) (#1)
    by mg7505 on Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 10:09:20 AM EST
    You have to wonder if her otherwise-incoherent sentences and phrases are just a cover so she can make subliminal remarks like this.

    I don't wonder (none / 0) (#40)
    by FreakyBeaky on Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 06:40:33 PM EST
    I think you nailed it.

    Not just despicable, but STOOPID! (none / 0) (#41)
    by coigue on Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 07:32:00 PM EST
    THat stuff only works on Republicans of a certain era, who are going to be EVEN more rare in 2012.

    If Google is out, can we call (none / 0) (#13)
    by KeysDan on Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 10:25:26 AM EST
    Governor Palin as an expert or, better, one of her third graders?  My guess is a downed American pilot in the civil war in China and friend of Madam Chiang Kai Chek?    

    Veiled reference to "Uncle Sam"? (none / 0) (#21)
    by Coral on Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 10:47:18 AM EST
    Uh, no, guess not.

    Need more context (none / 0) (#32)
    by Manuel on Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 12:28:46 PM EST
    And I don't visit TPM.  Is it possible she is using the term in the same way many people use it to refer to Alan Greenspan?  He has been known as Uncle Al for a while.

    An apt description of Maestro Greenspan: "Uncle Al, Wall Street's Pal." I wonder, though -- Does Uncle Al understand how foolish he is now being made to look by so many of the folks to whom he has been so extraordinarily generous?

    gov. palin (none / 0) (#35)
    by cpinva on Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 01:50:15 PM EST
    is a totally clueless political wonder; it's a wonder she got elected to anything. she has a B.S. (B.S.?) in journalism, not exactly a hard science major. at any other college or university, it's a B.A., at best.

    she is demonstrably void of any actual knowledge of U.S. or world history, recent or ancient. why they allow her out in public, by herself, is a mystery to me. of course, her selection as veep is a mystery; surely their must have been someone, with real intelligence, who could have filled the same bill?

    the "uncle barney" comment was (to me anyway) a clear referrence to "uncle joe" stalin, given the context it was made in. i don't see the gay angle at all, at least not in the paragraph above.

    and yes, they've all gone crazy.

    i didn't know that about john birch, having never bothered to look it up. the things i learn on here!

    Never thought I'd see the day (none / 0) (#37)
    by oldpro on Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 02:35:08 PM EST
    when BTD headlined a Palin post.

    What's the world coming to?

    Must be a slow news day...

    Baseball at 5 (my time).

    Skate America at 1 on NBC!

    Of course, there's always housework...