The suggestion that talking about Sarah Palin is not important, sent HBO Real Time guest panelist Andrew Sullivan, a media veteran who now writes the “The Daily Dish” blog for The Atlantic, into an angry rant about Palin (reflecting PDS: Palin Derangement Syndrome) that was so much of an over-reaction, though it earned loud applause from the audience, that host Bill Maher, who agreed with Sullivan's perspective, called it a “shit fit” as he tried to calm him down and finally had to mimic an ape as he held up his fists by his head and yelled “grrrrrr!” to silence Sullivan.
Leading into Sullivan on the Friday night show, left-wing journalist Naomi Klein called Palin “Bush in drag” and “when you add the hunting you got Cheney,” prompting musician William Adams, who goes by “will.i.am,” to complain: “You know what scares me about Palin, is that we're talking about Palin and we're not talking about how to get out of the hole.” That set off Sullivan, the British born and raised frequent contributor to Time magazine and the New York Times, his voice getting louder and his hands gesticulating more as he proceeded:
We have to talk about Palin. Bill, let me just say, I don't want to go this far in talking about her. She is a farce. This nomination, the nomination of this person to be potentially President of the United States next January – that's the possibility, technically speaking she could be President next January – is a joke. It is absurd! It is something that should be dismissed out of hand as the most irresponsible act any candidate has ever made, ever!
As Sulivan was drowned out by loud applause from the Los Angeles audience, Maher tried to calm him down: “Okay....you're little shit fit...I agree with you, but-”
Sullivan was undeterred: “It was not a shit fit. This is an outrage, an outrage! And after three weeks, no press conference. What is this, Putin's Russia?” Maher tried again: “I know, we're all upset about it.” Sullivan, in full rage: “We need to be more upset. We need to be much more upset!” Maher, mimicking an ape: “Grrrrrr!”
That finally silenced Sullivan and Maher moved on to how while other groups have returned to the pre-conventions split, white women are still going for McCain-Palin by a wide margin.
Sullivan fancies himself a conservative and a couple of years ago authored the book, 'The Conservative Soul: Fundamentalism, Freedom, and the Future of the Right,' in which he “makes an impassioned call to rescue conservatism from the corruption of the Republican far right.”
The Atlantic's bio for Sullivan which lists his many news media positions over the years.
Audio: MP3 clip which matches video above (1:00, 360 Kb)