Posts Tagged ‘Sarah Palin’

So long, Sarah.

July 5, 2009

Sarah Palin is threatening to sue her critics for defamation. Apparently anyone who speculates out loud about her decision to abruptly resign, who fails to take yesterday’s bizarre and rambling statement at face value, is opening himself (or herself) up to a lawsuit:

Van Flein’s letter threatening legal action specifically pointed the finger at Alaska blogger Shannyn Moore as “most notably” claiming as “fact” that Palin resigned under federal investigation.

Van Flein, asked why he singled out Moore, said it’s because she went on national television and talked about it. (emphasis mine — ed.) Moore was on with MSNBC’s David Shuster on Friday, the day Palin said she will resign.

Van Flein wrote that his letter “is to provide notice to Ms. Moore, and those who re-publish this defamation, such as Huffington Post, MSNBC, the New York Times and the Washington Post, that the Palins will not allow them to propagate defamatory material without answering to this in a court of law.”

The New York Times and Washington Post haven’t written anything about this, but Van Flein said he believed they were asking questions. “What I’ve been informed is that they’ve been interviewing people in Wasilla about this, and have tried to interview the governor’s parents about it,” Van Flein said.

Were Palin a figure of any authority, this would amount to an all-out attack on the very practice of journalism — and an imperial decree: Thou shalt not investigate. Had things gone differently last November, this woman would be installed at the center of the executive branch of the United States, her hands firmly grasping the controls of a much-expanded vice presidency with seemingly limitless authority. But things didn’t go differently, and Palin is, thankfully, in no position to do harm to hapless bloggers — even those who dare to “go on TV and talk about her.” She is a public figure — a person whom it is, by legal definition, nearly impossible to “defame” — and now out of office, no longer capable of enforcing any of her whims at the point of a gun.

I wonder how many of Palin’s sometime supporters will now acknowledge that this woman was grossly unqualified for her office — not merely the one she aspired to, but the one she held. She never showed even the slightest awareness of the most basic thing any public figure must know — something even Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton know: You have to take criticism. Criticism is part of the job description. And you open yourself up to speculation — even damaging, unfair, mean-spirited speculation. Because the alternative is tyranny. Imagine if Bill Clinton had tried to put the Drudge Report out of business, or sued Christopher Hitchens for libel. Imagine a world where he could.

It’s doubtful Palin would understand that. This is the same person who tried to launch a national campaign to stop a late-night talk show host from telling corny jokes about her. But she’s gone now, and good riddance.


The real America.

October 26, 2008

According to Sarah Palin, it’s in “these small towns” like Greensboro, North Carolina, where she opined Oct. 16 that the real America was to be found in the hearts of “very patriotic” and “pro-America” folks in America’s heartland. As she put it: “This is where we find the kindness and the goodness and the courage of everyday Americans. Those who are running our factories and teaching our kids and growing our food and are fighting our wars for us. Those who are protecting us in uniform. Those who are protecting the virtues of freedom.”

Since when are courage and kindness virtues exclusive to small towns? (For that matter, is Greensboro, the third-largest city in its state, really a small town?) Those brave firefighters and ordinary folks whose courage we rightly admired on Sept. 11 were from New York, so presumably they don’t count. Then there’s that weird us vs. them stuff popping up in the unlikeliest way — “fighting our wars for us”? If Palin wants to divide and conquer, she’d better get it straight who “we” are.

The slings and arrows of an outrageous election.

October 14, 2008

One of the more entertaining sideshows of this remarkably entertaining election (seriously, I sat through ’00 and ’04 as a fully alert, news-addicted political junkie, and next to this one they were like watching toast burn) has been watching erstwhile Bush supporters twist themselves into a rhetorical tizzy over the spectacle of Sarah Palin being, well, Sarah Palin. Here’s my two favorites so far:

Andrew Sullivan: I don’t think Palin is dumb; she is just proudly ignorant, a cynical opportunist and a pathological liar.

Christopher Hitchens: “A deceiving and unscrupulous woman utterly unversed in any of the needful political discourses but easily trained to utter preposterous lies and to appeal to the basest element of her audience.”

Then, of course, there’s the unclassifiable crackpot:

Camille Paglia: Even if she disappears from the scene forever after a McCain defeat, Palin will still have made an enormous and lasting contribution to feminism. As I said in my last column, Palin has made the biggest step forward in reshaping the persona of female authority since Madonna danced her dominatrix way through the shattered puritan barricades of the feminist establishment.

You can’t make this stuff up. Of course, you might argue that it’s hard to tell what sort of person Palin actually is, since the McCain campaign’s scrupulously shielded her from any dangerous question-askers, to the point of all but trying to rig the vice presidential debate in her favor. Not that it matters too much, since this election’s pretty much in the bag, but it was nice to see see a lot of media types actually get pissed about Palin’s gutless Agnewing about the mean liberal press.

McClellan and Liddy: A second look.

October 5, 2008

When Sarah Palin referred to General “McClellan” in the debate the other night, the first thought that crossed my mind was “What’s Scott McClellan got to do with it?” On closer thought, I rather like the idea that Palin, in her cheerfully addled way, was confusing General McKiernan with General George McClellan, the first commander of the Union Army during the Civil War. Ironic, considering the fact that Palin would be the first vice president since John C. Breckinridge to express sympathy for secessionists.

Since the McCain crew’s decided to make Obama’s tenuous relationship with Bill Ayers an issue, it’s worth bringing up McCain’s long-time association with G. Gordon Liddy. Liddy, one of Nixon’s crudest, nastiest henchmen, an advocate of domestic terrorism and murdering political opponents, experienced an inexplicable rehabilitation after his release from prison (where he served four years for his role in Watergate) and went on to become a kind of proto-Limbaugh, all but advocating an armed revolution against the Clinton Administration. He was every bit as evil-minded and vicious a creature as any Weatherman — in fact, he was worse, because he wasn’t a member of a fringe group; he was working in the most powerful office in the world. The fact that John McCain considers him an upholder of “the principles and philosophies that keep our nation great” is truly astounding, considering only a few years back McCain seemed like a relatively reasonable person.