I’m a Resident of Flyover Country and a Citizen of Stopover Country

On my very first TV appearance ever (CSPAN’s Washington Journal the first week of the Libby trial), I shut up my most belligerent caller very simply. He accused me of being a "Katie Couric type from the coasts" … "who had no clue what people like me in flyover country were thinking."


As soon as I said I was from Michigan (unfortunately, Jane wasn’t there to slap down any illusions I’m like Katie Couric), he shut up. Because I am, like he is, from flyover country.

Today, I get to add another moniker to my profile, thanks to Governor Palin. You see, when Palin was trying to claim she had extensive foreign experience thanks to her trips to visit the Alaska National Guard in Kuwait and Germany, she also mentioned her "trip" to Ireland. 

Now, thanks to Governor Palin, mr. emptywheel (through whom I got citizenship), and Ben Smith, I can proudly say I’m a citizen of Stopover Country.

I wrote the other day that a Palin spokeswoman said trips to Germany, Kuwait and Ireland made up her foreign travel.

Two details worth clarifying:

The Ireland trip was a refueling stop on her trip to military installations in Germany and Kuwait, spokeswoman Maria Comella said.

Apparently, Shannon Airport (which has a big US immigration operation to process all the returning Americans) is so foreign that Sarah Palin is now basing her Commander of Chief credentials on it. 

Frankly, there are parts of Flyover Country–probably even including Ann Arbor–that are more worthy of the "foreign" claim.

  1. AZ Matt says:

    Marcy Wheeler has foreign policy credentials because Michigan is right next to Canada! Marcy for Secretary of State if not President!!!!

    • emptywheel says:

      I’m sure having done business in Asia and studying France, Argentina, and the Czech lands in grad school would disqualify me. Though come to think of it, I wrote my dissertation on the same country the only other female Secretaries of State wrote their dissertation on, so maybe I’m a lock.

  2. klynn says:

    I need to be pinched. Goodness your posts today along with Jane’s and Christy’s have me thinking I got sucked into an alternate universe. What. A. Reality. Today.

    My United Nations internship trumps her foreign experience. Can I get on a ticket? Oh please?

    Oh well, I’m just another from “Flyover” Country…

  3. AZ Matt says:

    Gee, come to think of it, I have two years in Kenya and 2.5 in Costa Rica as a Peace Corps Volunteer and 18 years on the Hopi Reservation. No executive experience but I was vice president for a local non-profit for 4 years. Damn! I think I could do it!!

  4. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Do they speak Latin in Flyover Country?
    Do they have ‘potatoes with E’s’? Y’know — potatoeeey potatoes?
    Do they have tomatoeeeeey tomatoes?

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:


      Well, clearly you should be in contention for the Ambassadorship to Butter. Or at the very least, Assistant to the Secretary of Salt.

  5. sailmaker says:

    Great idea – Marcy President or Secretary of anything Federal. Give her top secret security clearance, access to the National Archives, and a connection to the tubes that supplies a pint of Guiness or something for every 5 paragraphs, and things would never be the same.

  6. AZ Matt says:

    From Froomkin today: WaPo

    Stolberg adds: “Mr. Cheney remains furious over the conviction of his former chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby Jr., after a trial that depicted the vice president as the orchestrator of a scheme to discredit a critic of the Iraq war. Alan K. Simpson, a former Republican senator from Wyoming, said Mr. Cheney regarded the trial as ‘a grievous distortion,’ and would most likely press Mr. Bush to pardon Mr. Libby. . . .

    Poor Scooter!

    • Badwater says:

      The pardon is ready to go. Just show Cheney his bank account and brokerage statements. He’ll feel better fast.

  7. JohnLopresti says:

    fdlserver said post twice, Our plane allotted only thirty minutes to debark in Shannon the one beautiful time I ‘visited’ Erie. Three years later a folk singer published a ballad about an Isle offshore from Ireland, with images which share the muse’s vision, a surrogacy through the eyes of a national, and perhaps a place worth visiting. I liked JBalkin’s lament today, as well, regarding the putative nominee’s experiment with AK secession. I imagine even RNader now second guesses his having relented following early resistance to participate as a candidate for a third political party, then he became part of the problem intead of working from within to improve his own party, carpe diem, though his message be worthwhile. Brussels was nice from inside the Lufthansa oval window, such a punctual airline it was, too, the morning commute to Frankfurt am Main, a row of Flemish school children cherubically pink in the foggy cold in some kind of school uniform identical short pants on each lad, selfsame plaid fabric on every child in the line waving to someone in a nearby seat. Now there are two cities on the To Do list, places to see.

  8. AZ Matt says:

    Oh, I have been to Israel for 10 days and travelled across Europe for a month. That includes a week in West Berlin when it was surrounded by commies. Sort of a Cold War experience.

    • Badwater says:

      Hey, international travel. Ever been a mayor or a student body president? McCain may be your next call so keep the line open.

      Actually, the student body president at many high schools has a bigger constituency than Mayor Palin had.

    • bobschacht says:

      The Republicans miss the Cold War. The only bad thing Reagan ever did in their eyes, although they’ll never admit it, is to end the Cold War, thus depriving them of a common, undisputed Enemy.

      This Middle Eastern stuff is too difficult for them. Demonizing the Arabs and/or Moslems (it makes little difference to them which is which) is made difficult mainly by our best buddies in Saudi Arabia.

      So they enjoy throwing stones at Putin by nipping at his heels in Georgia, the Ukraine, etc. in an effort to wake up the Russian Bear. Now there is an Enemy they grew to love. Bring back the good old days!

      Bob in HI

  9. scribe says:

    Framed at home I have a photo I took of the Berlin Wall from Pariser Platz looking toward the Victory Column (where Obama spoke). No graffiti on The Wall, though, since the picture was taken from the wrong side and getting close enough to graffito it was a good way to get shot.

    And I go fishing in Canada once every year or so. Can that get me a fisheries sort of job with the government?

  10. MrWhy says:

    I’ve been to Alaska, I’ve been to Europe & the British Isles – but not Ireland. I’ve been to the high Arctic, I’ve been in international waters, I’ve sailed the high seas. I have high school French, and a smattering of Scottish Gaelic. I’ve never been elected to public office, but I did run for student council. I’ve been on the executive of a few NGOs. Does that qualify me for anything?

  11. jdmckay says:

    The trajectory of this thing seems like Harriet Myers all over again.

    I wonder who VP #2 will be? Will the Maverick play it safe?

    With his Larry King cancellation, big John’s looking like a petulant child. This whole thing is in the theater of the absurd.

  12. MadDog says:

    Shorter McSame: “No, no, no! The one I want has got to be a Cheerleader or a Miss Congeniality contestant!”

    So…is this how McSame picks a wife or a Vice President?


    • bmaz says:

      Sorry MadDog, Palin fudged that too. The real winner of “Miss Congeniality” in that year’s Miss Wasilla Contest surfaced yesterday to reclaim her rightful crown, such that it may be.

        • emptywheel says:

          Given the DAvid Lynch show that has played out since Friday you doubt it? In fact, it’s true. She was neither Ms Congeniality nor, it appears, the runner up in Miss AK, though I need to double check that last bit.

          • skdadl says:

            Well, I always doubt my own sense of humour, which is kind of stodgy, and then there’s Claude Rains bmaz and his not-stodgy sense of humour. But I’m truly gobsmacked at someone who would fake a claim to being Miss Congeniality.

            I’m not sure I want to be ambassador to anywhere any more. These days, I’m thinking more asylum somewhere peaceful and social democratic, maybe Iceland. (Yes, Harper is about to call an election, and he could very well get a majority. And then we could end up as the last loyal Bushies left in the world.)

            • LabDancer says:

              Do tell. Might I presume that the Canuckistanians are headed to the polls in advance of the first Tuesday in November disaster? I’ve been figuring that the only way a minority government could hang on this long is because opposition liberal leader was thinking Obama coat tails.

              • Ishmael says:

                Yep. Election is probably going to be October 14, and yes, there is concern among the Harpies that Obamania may spill over the border. The problem in Canada is that the progressive vote (about 65-70% on a good day) is split 4 ways, and the Tories get the balance by default.

                • skdadl says:

                  Hi, Ishmael. What bothers me is that there are a lot, really a lot of Harpie scandals just maturing right now, but the public haven’t caught up because it was summer, and then some of those scandals are kind of wonkish in the first place. I think that’s why Harper’s decided to jump: he knows things can only get worse for him from now on, although his numbers have held through the summer.

                  Mr Why @ 50: really, I hear that Iceland is cozy.

                  • Ishmael says:

                    Hey skdadl – I think it will be a much tougher election for Harper than the last one. It will be harder for him to keep all the backbench wingnuts from saying anything stupid, and I think the press will push back after all the message control of the last couple of years. And I’m sure that Julie Couillard’s book will have its release date pushed up – maybe if AGAG had left his secret documents at his stunning girlfriend biker chick’s house the US media would have covered it as much as Sandy Berger’s document stuff!

                    • skdadl says:

                      And then there are all the frontbench wingnuts. Honestly, you can count the competent members of that caucus on the fingers of one … well, who really needs five fingers?

            • bmaz says:

              Captain Renault asked me to forward this to you:

              ALASKA PIPELINE: Amy Gwin, 43, of University City, grew up in Alaska and competed in the Miss Wasilla, Alaska, competition in 1984 against GOP vice presidential choice Sarah Palin. Gwin said Friday that she won the Miss Congeniality award in the competition, although Palin’s Wikipedia entry says she won the contest — and the Miss Congeniality award. Gwin was a year behind Palin, now 44, at Wasilla High School, which had about 800 students. Gwin said Palin was “a high school star in a good way,” a beauty who got good grades and excelled at athletics. Gwin, who was president of her class, does not recall Palin holding school office. The Wikipedia entry on Palin said she was head of the school’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes and captain of the basketball team. Gwin said she was not surprised when Palin became the governor of Alaska, but is astonished that she got the GOP nod for vice president. Asked whether she would support Palin because she knows her, Gwin said: “I wouldn’t support her if she was my very best friend. I support Obama and don’t share any of her (Palin’s) politics. She’s very shallow.”

              • freepatriot says:

                “She’s very shallow.”

                apparently she’s a little bit vindictive too

                she’s got an “enemies list”, could she be more nixonian ???

                she’s not goin softly into that good night

                we’re gonna get to kick her around a lot, before we don’t have her to kick around anymore, if you follow my meaning

                I love it when the repuglitards try to defend the indefensible

                they’re so cute when they fight back

                this is gonna be fun

                and on a related topic, I’ve made a bundle on the popcorn stocks in the past few weeks, and I figure I should profit from the health food freaks too. I tried some koshi stuff, and I’m thinking of investing my profits in the company, so I wanna know, does anybody really eat that shit ???

                is this what they sell you on the airplanes ???

                in prison ???

                let me hear from you people

                what, I thought this place was filled with people who enjoy eating nuts and twigs

                (ducking and running)

                  • freepatriot says:

                    careful dude, we’re in deep tinfoil territory here …

                    (that means put your beanie on, just to avoid any confusion)

                    nixon didn’t die

                    nixon’s most loyal sycophant, dick cheneyl donated his body to hold nixon’s soul (nixon’s soul is kinds small as souls go, and cheney never had a soul to begin with, so everything worked out okay)

                    so nixon never really died, dick cheney just acquired a personality (if you count what nixon had as a personality)

                    eat the blue pill after reading this, the agency will deny all knowledge of your existence, even if you don’t get caught

                • MrWhy says:

                  I hear it’s an interesting place to visit, but not such a great place to live. Not sure 4 years is viable.

                  • freepatriot says:

                    Not sure 4 years is viable.

                    if mcsame is elected, the place will be a garden in 4 years

                    I got a backup plan if mcsame is elected

                    I’m investing in siberian real estate

                    I bought some lots along the coast that might be livable soon

                    (ducking and running)

        • MrWhy says:

          If the only source to claim that SP was Miss Congeniality is Wikipedia, we can’t blame the McCain/Palin campaign for the bad info.

  13. randiego says:

    Sorry MadDog, Palin fudged that too. The real winner of “Miss Congeniality” in that year’s Miss Wasilla Contest surfaced yesterday to reclaim her rightful crown, such that it may be.

    That’s it. Undoubtedly the straw that broke the camels back. No way she lasts the week.

    McCain campaign: Disarray doesn’t really cover it

  14. CTMET says:

    Gee I used to have a Labrador Retriever and now I have a dog that is half Australian Shepherd. I would like to be US Trade Representative please.

    • masaccio says:

      I’ve been to China, so I trump you for Trade Representative. Perhaps you would consider the Agriculture Department.

      • freepatriot says:

        hey, I got dibs on agriculture

        I grew a watermelon this year (ate it yesterday) an I got another one on the vine

        I got beans, tomatoes, carrots, punkins, basil, and EIGHT kinds of peppers

        you can’t compete with diversity like that

        (anybody seen my copy of “Soy Beans for Dummies” ???)

  15. freepatriot says:

    come on, ew, stop fooling yourself

    we don’t fly over Michigan

    we only fly over the classy states like Ohio and Wyoming

    and being a citizen of Ireland counts as foreign policy experience ???

    we eat potatos, drink whiskey, and participate in drunken brawls we call family reunions, right here in America. That’s not foreign policy experience we can believe in, it’s Saturday night at the Sullivans’ down the street

    besides, most Irish people speak english even worse than the brits, so if you had to stop there, you’d want the refueling to be done as quick as possible

    but I will give you credit for foreign policy experience, you canada touchers (they speak french there, ya know)

    so livin next to a bunch of surrender monkeys does give you foreign policy, but not as much foreign policy experience as you would have if you lived next to a good country like Mexico

    here in cali (where all us beautiful people live) we don’t gotta listen to french surrendermonkey talkers. we just gotta learn to say no hable espanol


  16. LabDancer says:

    Having been to Eire on a number of uniformly pleasant adventures, two signs that Governor Palin missed that she might have learned from:

    “Guiness is Good for You”

    “Guiness is Good for Your Babies”

    Both signs seen over the entrance to one of many, many pubs in the tiny town of Ennistymon east of Lahinch west of Ennis northwest of Shannon Airport- doubling as the business address of the local undertaker.

    • bobschacht says:

      “Guiness is Good for Your Babies”

      Sorry. I just have to rant about this.

      If this is a true report, the slogan is a lie. Guiness has alcohol in it, and alcohol is NOT good for your baby. The brains of many children have been damaged or at least dumbed down a bit by alcohol consumed during pregnancy.

      It is true that some mothers have consumed beer while pregnant, and point to an apparently undamaged child and say, See? My Johhnie’s OK. My drinking didn’t hurt him! Maybe. But who knows how many IQ points Johnny lost as a result? For maybe 10 years, I was a member of an Internet support group for parents of children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Their stories are not funny. Our alcoholic beverage industry thinks its OK, just like the Tobacco Industry wanted us to think that smoking was OK.

      Alcohol kills or damages brain cells. In the developing brain of a fetus, this can be really, really important, and can have far-reaching effects. It is too important to F**k around with, by repeating a stupid slogan.

      OK, I’m done with my rant now.

      Bob in HI

      • MrWhy says:

        Although I’d hate to deny a pregnant woman the occasional glass of wine or beer, I can sympathize with your position on this.

        The best evidence I’ve seen is that an occasional drink is not noticeably harmful. Regular heavy drinking is very likely harmful.

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        Well, I’m laughing at all the comments here quite heartily, and in my best ‘Hermoine Granger’ tone explaining patiently to freep that yes, I DO eat twigs & nuts & kashi. In addition to loads of butter on the popcorn.

        But Bob S in HI, I really hear you.
        I recall one child (Alaska Native) who I watched when she was 2 or 3; I’d be surprised if she’s still alive. Her neurological conditions from FAS were so severe that she was almost certainly never going to be able to walk in a straight path from one side of a room to another. Her mom was 15 at the child’s birth, and it wasn’t the mom’s first child.

        I’m sorry to go ‘all serious and downer’ on what is a hysterically funny thread — and heaven only knows we all could use a good laugh!

        But I really, **really** understand what Bob S is talking about and in so many wrenching respects it makes it difficult for me personally to watch the news — in which the press seems to be ‘tut-tutting’ about whether the ‘dirty bloggers’ should be so mean and out-of-line as to mention a teenage pregnancy. And whether that makes it ‘okay’ for the press to mention that a potential VP has a 17-year-old daughter who is five months pregnant. This is serious business, and while it may not be ‘polite’, it’s reality.

        I’ve seen a number of kids in Alaska who can’t think abstractly enough to comprehend ‘tomorrow’. FAS (fetal alcohol syndrome) in every case. I’ve seen the same thing among Aboriginal children, and I’ve seen the very same thing in American suburbs.

        So while I myself would happily drink at the Bar upstairs from the undertaker, I can also **really** understand why Bob S would react so strongly.

        Michael Dorris, now deceased, wrote what is probably the best book on fetal alcohol syndrome: “The Broken Cord”. One of my nephews (adopted at birth) has been a source of endless sorrow, and every one of his symptoms align with FAS — his birth mother was a white suburban kid, FWIW. So for someone who’s had to negotiate the complications of FAS through years of holidays, etc, it really is a ‘hot button’.

        All of these experiences make a person like myself shudder at the very idea of a teen who plans to ‘keep the child and marry the father’.

        And if you think FAS is bad, talk to anyone tracking down what happens with meth. That stuff is absolutely venal. And schools – mostly public – are only starting now to see the first wave of meth kids. This nation has incredible public policy problems ahead of us, none of which will be seriously addressed by the talk of ‘rights’ to anything. We need far more focus on responsibility, IMHO.

        Anyway, with that off my chest for the moment, I’ll go back to hooting over the comments Jack Cafferty at CNN is reading off of emails from his viewers — hysterical. And, not being pregnant, I may open up a beer to go with the heavily buttered popcorn. The Kashi twigs will have to wait for a slower news day.

        To anyone who’s actually read this far… humble thanks.
        Bob S, I tip my cap to you.

      • LabDancer says:

        I take you’re attacking the ad not the reporter. There is more than enough detail in my observation to check if one is so inclined. Oh, and if memory serves Fearless Leader & Fearless Leader’s consort were recently east of Ennis some, somewhere closer to O’Bama’s ancestral home county of Offaly. Ennistymon may be an extreme case [one of its nicknames is The Kissing Town, and most of rest go downhill from there.] but I doubt it be too much different in most of the smaller towns.

        As to FAS, well, of course that justifies a powerful amount of ranting so no need to apologize. Not too many years back I was in a rural courthouse waiting to speak to a plea arrangement for one of those many can’t-miss future mega pro athlete types and we were held up for the better part of an hour while a genuinely humane judge tried to wrestle, for what I gather the third or fourth time, with what to do with a youngster under 20 who had been found guilty of the latest in a long string of acts of violence, all of it opined by the third or fourth level of state mental health worker, like those before her, to trace back to FAS, his life destroyed, possessed indefinitely into the future of an apparently incurable inclination to keep attack people in uncontrollable rage, sometimes seemingly from feeling slighted or from frustration, sometimes seemingly out of nothing.

        I’ve known the judge for many years and ran into him some time later & I can assure you it ate him up- though he did make a brave joke about the youngster’s bright prospects in Republican politics.

  17. Ishmael says:

    …just watching Fred Thompson trying to praise and not bury McCain right now, and I am truly surprised that a professional cue-card reader/”actor” is giving a really bad speech right now – it’s like he didn’t do even a single run-through, he’s mumbling at times and stumbling a lot.

      • Ishmael says:

        I guess they had to cut the lines about Obama and Biden being girly-men. BTW, I see that Movie of the Week Palin is trying to claim executive privilege on emails, and according to DK, some of them are copied to state’s rights Todd Palin (why do you hate America Todd?) I have to admire the sheer audacity of trying to expand executive privilege to include spousal privilege as well!

  18. notjonathon says:

    You and Sarah have something in common, after all, Marcy. You are both citizens of two countries: in your case, the U. S. and Ireland; in her case, the U. S. and Alaska.

    Democrats a-Biden,
    Republicans a-Palin.

  19. Mnemosyne says:

    There are the countries you visit, where you get off the plane and they stamp your passport and so on to register your presence there.

    And there are the countries you step in. The plane lands in the middle of the night, you get off and walk around the deserted concourse to stretch your legs while ground crews refuel the plane, then you re-board and fly away. You were never officially in that country.

    It seems that our tundra beauty queen stepped in Ireland and thus was never really there. Which sounds rather like a description of the McSame campaign.

  20. yonodeler says:

    Sarah Palin and George W. Bush have a problem in common. Personal flying history presents neither in a favorable light.

  21. yonodeler says:

    There were no Viking invasions there while Palin was in Ireland, so Ireland and all nations should take note that she would be a fearsome defender of allies.

  22. plunger says:

    Apparently the Washington Post and the rest of the MSM can still pursue the Bristol Palin matter, but we should be expected not to?


    The story has now morphed into one whereby McCain, the MSM darling, is no longer in charge of the medium. He canceled an appearance on Larry King in direct retaliation for tough questions asked of Tucker Bounds? What a moron.

    McCain had the 100% complicity of the MSM – total benefit of the doubt, and now he is attacking them.

    If there is any more clear example of why this man should not be the President of the United States, I’ve yet to see it. If you can’t handle THIS amount of pressure, and use the soap box available to you to turn things to your advantage, you just don’t have the skills necessary to command the country.

    Blaming the media for your own failures (selecting the wrong candidate) is as counter-productive as anything I can think of.

    Memo to John: You’re done.

  23. plunger says:

    I think it’s great that the most religious zealots in the United States have adopted a new motto to blunt all discussion of “L’Affaire de Palin.”

    “Life Happens” …fashioned after the popular “Shit Happens!” bumper sticker.

    Who does their spin strategy?

    Karl, did you really want to invoke the “Shit Happens” message and attach it to McCain like, well, shit – for the rest of his political life?

    Mission Accomplished!

    Can you say effin moronic?

  24. klynn says:

    Mr. Klynn, after doing some news “catch-up” reading last night said the following about the Republicans, McCain and his decision making abilities, “When you are explainin’ you are losin’,” in a great southern, snarky voice (although he is not southern).

    Too much explaining about Palin.

  25. plunger says:

    Cindy was fuc*ing McCain when he was still married to his first wife who was then recovering from a terrible car accident, and McCain’s VP selection got knocked up – then eloped to get married, only to give birth to her first child 8 months later?


  26. alank says:

    There’s Canton and Pekin, Michigan for those there who don’t want to suffer the hours of air travel to Beijing.

    Tooling around the world as plenipotentiary just to issue threats to foreign hosts is not my idea of productive foreign travel/policy nor is it worthy of mention on one’s résumé. For this Sarah is probably overqualified.