Ephialtes in our midst

I just watched the film 300 this weekend (loved it), and for the purposes of this essay, the timing couldn’t have been better.

Recall the character of Ephialtes – deformed, hunched-back, wearing the Spartan crimson and shield of his father, volunteering his services to King Leonidas. The king engages Ephialtes, watches him as the proud man shows off his moves, before telling him if he wants to help with the cause, he can remove bodies from the field of battle. Because of his height and his hunched back, Ephialtes would be a fatal kink in the Spartan phalanx and thus cannot be used. Ephialtes is heart-broken, and spends the rest of the film undermining the Spartan plan by working with Xerxes and the Persian army.

Ephialtes – meet John Ziegler.

It has finally come to pass that the creepiest of creepy Palinistas has come full-circle and ejected himself from Palinista status, for good it seems. Yes, John Ziegler, who has been on a two year publicity campaign about his single moment with Sarah Palin, has finally turned his blazing guns on himself and, just like that, pop goes the weasel.

Such a thing can be hard to watch – to read a round-up of some, you’d think this was surprising. Ed Morrissey at HotAir and Erik Erickson at RedState treated Ziegler’s turnabout as though it was out of nowhere and that it was at least partially justified. I love the work of both men, but I’d passionately disagree. Ziegler has been emitting a creepy vibe for some time, and those of us who watch Palin and who she surrounds herself with have winced each time Ziegler emerges from obscurity to pen another “did I ever tell you the time I interviewed Sarah Palin” concern-troll piece at The Daily Caller. Ziegler’s work is the Wrestling Earnest Hemmingway of our political times, at least in Palinista land.


There are two types of Palinistas, if you weren’t aware:

First is the kind who support Palin because she says what she means, means what she says, and her views and actions line up with how said Palinista also believes – I’m one of these. We don’t worship her, see her as flawless, understand why so many have an issue with her resignation and long since gave up arguing about it and, most importantly, don’t for a second believe she owes us anything. She’s fighting the good fight, and we’re here to help.

The other kind is a bit more confusing, not necessarily nefarious, but at least a bit neurotic: the kind who believe that by virtue of supporting Gov. Palin over the years, they are entitled to a piece of her, up-to-and-including a say in whether or not she should run for POTUS. John Ziegler, for two years, has led the charge of this ignoble lightweight brigade. The release (and wildly positive reviews) of The Undefeated, combined

The internecine struggle within online Conservatism that revolves around Sarah Palin would be baffling to anyone who’s not actually a part of it. I’m not talking about the mainstream, the GOP, or national politics – I’m talking about the coterie of blogs, good, better, bad and best that generate hundreds of thousands of comments from hardcore Conservatives each time they post anything about Sarah Palin.

Of the more popular among these, I read daily Ace, HotAir, RedState, RSM and Riehl and Legal Insurrection, to name six. The first three are overwhelmingly the most popular and respected Conservative blogs on z’net, and the other three are among the best-done – out of the six, only one is pure Palinista territory (Legal Insurrection), while the rest range from strongly supportive to agnostic regarding Palin as a politician and Palin as a national figure.

I make no bones about my support for Palin – I want her run, and I want her to win. If she doesn’t win, I doubt I’ll feel short-changed because, among other things, she’ll go down fighting. What does this have to do with Ziegler’s latest re-hashed rant? Everything – he did a favor that wasn’t requested, and is now storming the beaches of his own personal Normandy in an attempt to … what, exactly?


Ziegler financed and directed the documentary Media Malpractice, which was released shortly after the 2008 election came to a close. The film makes a compelling case that the national media cabal went after Sarah Palin while protecting Barack Obama in order to swing an election. It was well-done, and Palin, against her advisors’ wishes from my understanding, did an interview with Ziegler at her Wasilla-AK home. On the basis of his documentary and that interview, Ziegler has devolved into Christian Bale’s character in The Fighter, rambling on years later about the time he knocked down Sugar Ray Leonard. In Ziegler’s case, there is not speck of writing he does that doesn’t begin with several passages regarding his close relationship with the Palin’s, even though from the outside looking in, he doesn’t have one.

I’ve been thinking about this all day, and I’ve read a lot of reaction of Ziegler’s piece – currently over at HotAir, more than a thousand comments ballast the piece Ed posted this morning that, for me, was far too sympathetic to Ziegler, considering he broke almost no new ground in his latest rant. Here’s what bugs me about what Ziegler has now done, and what he’s been in the process of doing for two years: he has a crush on a married woman, and is now getting desperate.

That may sound tacky, but I don’t know how else to explain his obsession with her without actually questioning his motives, something I usually try to avoid doing, but in his case, something that is getting much more difficult. Ziegler relishes discussing his “friendship” with Sarah Palin – of all the moves she’s made since the 2008 election, I doubt she regrets any more than allowing him into her home in the first place.

I have met Sarah Palin, but I don’t “know” Sarah Palin, but I know more than a few people who do, and none of them talk about her the way Ziegler talks about her. They don’t inflate every email and idle conversation into breathless scenes from a hack’s romance novel, and they don’t for a second forget what their role is within her larger operation. In my experience, most of the people I know who know her rarely even speak of any personal interaction with her – it’s all about the politics, which is as it should be.

As I’ve written before (and only bring up now because Ziegler continues to return to this very bizarre characterization), Sarah Palin is indeed an attractive woman in person, but there is nothing “sexy” about her – she is clearly a woman in her late 40s, married and mother to five children. Most men I know who’ve met her have the same impression – she is good looking, but she is clearly a taken woman who gives off zero “vibe” of that style. Ziegler, like the nerd who goes to a popular girl’s house to tutor her, comes off as reading much more into his interactions with her than actually likely exists.

It’s embarrassing, and it would be pathetic were it not for the fact that Tucker Carlson and the DC continue to give this man a forum to mine every lump of coal in his Palin arsenal in the desperate hope that one of them will turn into a diamond. For two years, he has repeatedly pointed out he told Palin she couldn’t beat Obama – good for you dude, join the club of Everyone Else Who Has Said That. Gov. Palin has done scores of interviews and met literally thousands of other Americans since that interview, yet Ziegler returns to it again and again. I’m reminded of an interview Jenny McCarthy did ages ago where she pointed out that Playboy kept doing pictoral spreads of her even though she hadn’t posed for the magazine in years – she sold issues and was grimly aware that so long as there was money in it, they’d keep running them.

Same goes for Ziegler – he can’t get over the fact that he wasn’t immediately invited into the Palin’s inner-circle after making his documentary, so for all this time he’s made a name for himself as a concern troll who exists solely to pump his own name by saying exactly what people who don’t like Sarah Palin want to hear. In short, he’s the 21st Century David Brock, although it seems with less conviction.


About godsowncrunk
I'm King B, the originator of the Jellywhite lyrical style and god's own crunk.

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