I’m sure I covered this matter previously. Whenever former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin says or does something that’s classic Palin, my liberal friends get all over the topic. They go on and on, posting graphics with cute captions, pointing out contradictions between what Palin says and what the real world thinks is true and trying to remind us of how ridiculous this all is. When they do this, then I jump in and get on their case, and warn them that what they are really doing is wasting their time. Because this is my job.
By all appearances Palin is a successful woman, great family, governor of the largest state (not the most populous), former candidate for vice president of the United States. So, what’s the problem with Palin? Let me count the ways.
Palin is a member of that large part of the population who think that saying something (and saying it often) makes it true. Back over 40 years ago comedian Henry Gibson was famous for saying, “A lie is as good as the truth if you can get somebody to believe it.” The sad truth seems to be that Palin believes a lot of the stuff she says, which makes her sort of a cut-rate liar. That may be the very worst kind.
Somebody posted this on Facebook, and I lifted it to illustrate a point. Palin would do well to take a hint from this small message.
In a way I have been in the same position as Palin. On many topics I am absolutely clueless, and with this in mind I find what works best for me is to keep my mouth shut. Like Palin, sometimes my little scheme does not work, and my stupidity peeks out. Palin seems to have taken this failing to a high art. There are some examples.
Prior to the 2008 election Katie Couric interviewed Palin on CBS
Katie Couric: And when it comes to establishing your worldview, I was curious: what newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this to stay informed and to understand the world?
Sarah Palin: I’ve read most of them, again with a great appreciation for the press, for the media.
KC: But, like, what ones specifically? I’m curious.
SP: All of ’em, any of ’em that have been in front of me over all these years.
KC: Can you name a few?
SP: I have a vast variety of sources where we get our news too. Alaska isn’t a foreign country, where, it’s kind of suggested and it seems like, ‘Wow, how could you keep in touch with what the rest of Washington, D.C. may be thinking and doing when you live up there in Alaska?’ Believe me, Alaska is like a microcosm of America.
This appears to show that Palin initially lied about keeping up with worldly events by reading a number of newspapers, but when the lie was challenged she was unable to name her sources because she didn’t read any newspapers and magazines of note. Another possibility is that she actually had been reading various publications, but in the blitz of questions and answers none of them came to her mind (brain freeze). The most likely case is that in the interview Couric was pressing for a memorable sound bite and saw an opening in asking the question. At this point Palin could have cut her losses by saying something like, “Actually I get a lot of stuff from Fox News, but I sometimes pick up the New York Times and Newsweek.” She could also have said that she reads the local paper, which reprints the same wire service feeds used by the big city papers. Anyhow, apparently she felt she was in a trap and needed to keep up the image of somebody in the know and wise to the world, which she obviously was not, at least at the time.
Instead, she said, “All of ’em,” and the trap was sprung. From that point there was no turning back. She could have lied and named the Los Angeles Times, The Dallas Morning News, the New York Times, the Kansas City Star, the Chicago Sun Times, the Arizona Daily Star, the Salt Lake City Tribune, the Seattle Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Washington Post, Houston Post, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, San Antonio Express-News, San Jose Mercury News, Sacramento Bee, Times of London, Pravda, Izvestia, Le Monde, La Republica, La Prensa, some of which I have read, some of which I have not. Anyhow, she could have named any of those, but she did not, because it likely would have been a lie, and besides she likely had never heard of these publications. Anyhow, it was classic Palin, and I love it.
Palin really needs a note stuck on her toothbrush that reads, “If Katie Couric phones, you are out.” Again Couric interviewed Palin. Couric asked what Supreme Court decisions she disagreed with, besides Roe v. Wade. Palin was clueless, and it showed.
“Well, let’s see. There’s ― of course in the great history of America there have been rulings that there’s never going to be absolute consensus by every American, and there are those issues, again, like Roe v. Wade, where I believe are best held on a state level and addressed there. So, you know, going through the history of America, there would be others but ―” –Sarah Palin, unable to name a Supreme Court decision she disagreed with other than Roe vs. Wade, interview with Katie Couric, CBS News, Oct. 1, 2008.
This clip shows more of the interview. At the beginning Couric asks vice presidential candidate Joe Biden the same question she asks Palin later in the clip. She asks about the Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade. Biden explains the decision and says he agrees with it. Palin does not explain the decision, but she expresses disagreement. Couric asks both candidates what Supreme Court decisions they disagree with, and Biden mentions a decision that struck down a law he had sponsored. The law would have made violence against women a federal crime to be prosecuted in federal court, but The Court said no. Violence against women was a matter involving individuals and did not rise to the federal level. Biden was wrong in his interpretation of the law, but at least he could explain the case.
What we see in the case of Palin is somebody completely unfamiliar with national law and politics and unaware of any Court decisions she disagrees with. What Palin should have said in response to Couric’s question was, “No, I can’t name a decision I disagree with. I have not previously worked in national government and have not been involved in matters that went before the Supreme Court.” Palin was at the time aware that her previous political experience as governor of a back-water state left her completely unprepared for national politics, and she was evidently defensive. She felt the need to project initiative, but she had nothing to put forward, and her response fell abysmally flat. This is the Palin we all know and love.
Like most of us, Palin sometimes has problems with the English language. How she handles language gaffs is what is so telling.
The blogosphere erupted with laughter and ridicule this week when Sarah Palin sent out a tweet using a nonexistent word and then proudly mistook her illiteracy for literary genius.
Here’s the tweet that started it, which Palin sent out in response to the controversy over building a mosque in New York City near where the Twin Towers once stood:
“Ground Zero Mosque supporters: doesn’t it stab you in the heart, as it does ours throughout the heartland? Peaceful Muslims, pls refudiate.”
Palin quickly found herself the butt of many tweets after it was pointed out that “refudiate” is not a word. So she deleted the tweet and replaced it with another:
“Peaceful New Yorkers, pls refute the Ground Zero mosque plan if you believe catastrophic pain caused @ Twin Towers site is too raw, too real.”
After being ribbed for misusing the word “refute,” Palin quickly took down that tweet too. She then claimed common ground with no less than one of the greatest writers of all time:
“‘Refudiate,’ ‘misunderestimate,’ ‘wee-wee’d up.’ English is a living language. Shakespeare liked to coin new words too. Got to celebrate it!”
God, I hate Twitter. Attempts to insert an amount of intelligent thought into 140 characters can often fracture the English language. “pls refudiate?” Forget about “refudiate.” What is “pls?” Is it “plus?” “Pupils?” Wait, I know. It’s “please.” God, the ghost of Shakespeare will be rapping at your door tonight.
Again, for a middle-aged woman who has held and was seeking to hold an even higher level of public responsibility, this shows a distressing lack of maturity. What you are supposed to do in a case like this is re-tweet something like, “God, that was awful. What I meant was ‘repudiate.'” Wait, she attempted that, but not in a mature way. She deleted the tweet and then compounded the crime by layering on another language gaff.
OK, forget about Palin’s problems with the language. We all have those. Here real problem, which got buried in all the language mess, was her stand on the issue. A Muslim mosque near the previous site of the Twin Towers? There is supposed to be something wrong with that? The Muslim world attacked us? Not 19 religious fundamentalists with a severely broken world view? It would have been OK to build a Christian church there (already is one) or a Jewish temple? Or a Buddhist temple, but not a Muslim mosque? Have we declared war on a particular religion above all others?
Readers, I am not religious, so I do not have a dog in this fight, but it seems that allowing a mosque (or Muslim cultural center) in lower Manhattan would be like sticking a finger in the eye of all those religious fanatics who claim this country is at war with Islam. And Palin opposes this? And Palin wants to hold power at the national level?
At this point I observe I have reached the endurance of some readers, so I’m cutting this off for now. Those interested can read more in subsequent posts.