Friday, November 14, 2008

Mea Culpa, Sarah Palin

Sometimes you're right when others think you're wrong (whether the 'Bradley Effect' might be a factor in the 2008 election), sometimes you think you're right, someone else thinks you're wrong, but no one can be sure (just ask the guy I work with whether my calling back to *check in on things* while I was on leave was appropriate), and sometimes you're just wrong.

Seeing the retractions to the stories about Sarah Palin's confusion regarding whether Africa was a continent ( I have to admit that it was something I repeated to friends and even made a reference to (albeit a quick one) on this blog...without ever having seen any documentation that she had ever said it (unlike, say, her answers to the Bush Doctrine question, the bank bailout, whether she reads any periodicals, and her own rebuttal to the Africa thing, which are all widely available on YouTube for your viewing enjoyment, or fear).

But when you're wrong, you're just wrong, and there's not much more you can say.

I know I wouldn't want people mis-attributing quotes to me, much less repeating said quotes, so the same respect should be due Gov. Palin.


Nick said...
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Nick said...

It seemed so plausible!

The New Englander said...


That's a good point! Actually, we do need to be careful (just short of a retraction-to-the-retraction)because it's somewhat possible that a McCain staffer actually leaked it and then "Eisenstadt" *misappropriated* himself as the source.

And, if you listen to Sarah Palin's response (Because of Darfur, and the things there, and, such as, the investment of the Alaska, and the dictators, and the Darfur) its plausibility really rings true!


Nick said...

Some of her answers remind me of Miss Teen South Carolina from a few years ago. Remember, "And the US Americans, and the, uh the Iraq...not enough maps..."

Matt said...

Something I've learned from recent campaigns is that it doesn't matter if the rumor is true, it just matters if it SEEMS true.

We know now that the "swiftboating" of John Kerry was factually incorrect and morally reprehensible. The problem was that John Kerry was such a sanctimonious and duplicitous pandering fraud of a human being that it seemed completely plausible that he was an absolute self-serving coward in a war.

Same thing with Palin. It seems ridiculous she didn't know basic third grade geography, but she is such an buffoon and intellectual lightweight that it's not implausible at all.

The opposite, of course, would be Obama. When he was accused of being a radical and/or terrorist, that accusation just didn't match the description of what you saw on stage; he seemed just way too eggheady and boring to be a terrorist. Also, die-ing his hair gray for the debates was pretty brilliant.

The New Englander said...


As far as plausibility goes, and as far as the Miss Teen South Carolina comparisons go, the quote below should settle everything:

"My concern has been the atrocities there in Darfur and the relevance to me with that issue as we spoke about Africa and some of the countries there that were kind of the people succumbing to the dictators and the corruption of some collapsed governments on the continent, the relevance was Alaska’s investment in Darfur with some of our permanent fund dollars.

"Never, ever did I talk about, well, gee, is it a country or a continent, I just don’t know about this issue.”

Matt, I like your comparisons with plausibility...I mean, just imagine someone saying that President-Elect Obama didn't know what NAFTA was -- it just wouldn't ring true so it would gain no traction at all, whereas you could maybe believe it about a real lightweight.

Nick said...

To pile on...

In her brief time in the wider publie eye, Gov. Palin made some ludicrously convoluted statements, but it's the statements that were clear and direct that offended me the most about her candidacy:

"We believe that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America, being here with all of you hard working very patriotic, um, very, um, pro-America areas of this great nation."
--Palin in N.C (10/16)

This was not just one instance of pandering to a rural audience. She repeated this theme of "Real America" over and over, and I guess I'm still wondering what country I live in. What country do you live in, GP? I guess Lowell and the Commonwealth of Mass are not in Palin's "real" America. I'd like to see her explain that one at the local VFW.

To be sure, hacks on both sides of the political aisle have been peddling this divisive approach forever. But for a Vice Presidential candidate (who was already so woefully incurious, so thoroughly unqualified, and so stridently aloof) to resort to this was just unacceptable.

Who knows how the election would have turned out had McCain picked someone else. I think he still would have lost, but he and his campaign would have done so with a great deal more dignity.

I hope Palin recedes into the hinterlands--back into that fictitious "real America" of her mind, where she can raise her kids, live her life, and spare us the haunting prospect of her leadership.

The New Englander said...


Well said. Even as someone who voted for McCain earlier this month, I agree with your points.

The funny thing is, I stuck with McCain because he stuck to his guns on Iraq, (and I STILL believe that he was right about his frustration with Obama's refusal to say 'win' instead of 'exit', or about bringing a 2003 mindset to 2008), but with the new troop agreement about to be signed by the Iraqi Parliament, it looks like it's all a moot point anyway, and it's not clear that it would've been any different had the American Presidential election gone differently.

Oh, well. So it goes.

I don't necessarily like Joe Biden, and I don't understand why the media didn't touch the Neil Kinnock stuff with a 10-foot pole (even Fox didn't go there), but at least I think he can bring something to the table as VP that Gov. Palin can't..