Saturday, August 21, 2010

Palin To The Defense

It's not easy to ignore Sarah Palin. Not only because she is so entertaining, willing to exploit almost any controversy, but also because ignoring the comments of any would be demagogue and presidential candidate does no one but her any good.

The woman who couldn't quite handle a full term as governor continues to delight many on the right, this time with a Facebook defense of Dr. Laura Schlessinger (transcript of the infamous conversation, here). On Thursday, Palin wrote

Does anyone seriously believe that Dr. Laura Schlessinger is a racist? Anyone, I mean, who isn’t already accusing all conservatives, Republicans, Tea Party Americans, etc., etc., etc. of being racists?

Adversaries who have been trying to silence Dr. Laura for years seized on her recent use of the n-word on her show as she subsequently suggested that rap “artists” and other creative types like those producing HBO shows who regularly use the n-word could be questioned for doing so. Her intention in discussing the issue with a caller seeking advice was not to be hateful or bigoted. Though she did not mean to insult the caller, she did, and she apologized for it. Still, those who oppose her seized upon her mistake in using the word (though she didn’t call anyone the derogatory term) to paint her as something that she’s not. I can understand how she could feel “shackled” by those who would parse a single word out of decades of on-air commentary. I understand what she meant when she declared that she was “taking back my First Amendment rights” by turning to a new venue that will not allow others the ability to silence her by going after her stations, sponsors, and supporters.

I, and obviously many others, have been “shackled” too by people who play games with false accusations, threats, frivolous lawsuits, misreporting, etc., in an effort to silence those with whom they disagree. That’s why I tend to defend people who call it like they see it while others stop at nothing to shut them up. I learned this valuable lesson when the partisan obstructionists in my state tried to shackle, bankrupt, and destroy my family and supporters, and my record, with endless frivolous litigation when I returned from the Vice Presidential campaign trail. In order to shake off the shackles they wanted to paralyze us with, I handed the reins to another, much like Dr. Laura is doing, so that these obstructionists who hated a Commonsense Conservative agenda wouldn’t win. I didn’t retreat; I reloaded in order to fight for what is right on a fairer battlefield. So, more power to someone with good intentions who refuses to be shackled by their detractors when they are falsely accused of being racist.

Dr. Laura did not call anyone or any group of people the n-word. Curiously, the same criers over this issue didn’t utter a word when White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel called a group protesting the Obama Administration’s actions, “f***ing retards.” When this presidential spokesman uttered this term I commented that the President would be better off not including Emmanuel in his circle of advisers, and my opinion was based not just on the crude and disrespectful term Emmanuel used to label people, but because he too often gives the President very poor advice. I was called intolerant and narrow-minded by many on the Left for commenting on that issue. Many of these same Leftists are now spinning the Dr. Laura issue into something it is not. As usual, their hypocrisy and double standard applications are glaring.


Palin is correct when she remarks "creative types.... who regularly use the n-word could be questioned for doing so." But she is wrong about almost everything else.

- Adversaries who have been trying to silence Dr. Laura for years. Who are these unnamed "adversaries?" Dr. Schlessinger herself has pointed the finger at Media Matters for America- but Palin specifies no group or individual and, in either case, Media Matters is not "adversaries" but "adversary.

- Her intention in discussing the issue with a caller seeking advice was not to be hateful or bigoted. Uttering the "n" word once probably is a slip of the tongue or some other mistake; twice, it may be that; eleven (11) times was hateful and bigoted, and intended to be so.

- Though she did not mean to insult the caller.... Dr. Sclessinger's intent was to insult the caller. How else to interpret her remarks: using the "n" word eleven times; "My dear, my dear" (to someone who already had identified herself by name, albeit a fictitious one); "Chip on your shoulder. I can't do much about that.... Yeah. I think you have too much sensitivity.... and not enough sense of humor;" "If you're that hypersensitive about color and don't have a sense of humor, don't marry out of your race."

- though she didn’t call anyone the derogatory term. No, she didn't call any one person- "Jade" or anyone else- by the derogatory term. Only an entire race of people.

- I can understand how she could feel “shackled.” Oliver Willis at Media Matters explains "Lets begin with the idea that anybody has shackled Palin or Schlessinger. They are both well-off media figures in the 21st century. Unlike slaves who were actually shackled and in shackles, neither Palin or Schlessinger are anyone's property, and they both have the freedom to speak, marry, vote, and engage in all the other privileges of being a citizen of the United States. In other words, they aren't shackled at all. Here is Palin in her home (from mlive.com), free to go as she pleases, and here is the very un-shackled Dr. Laura in what looks like a nice home (from YouTube). By comparison, here is a drawing of a person that was in shackles (from Jack and Jill Politics). Just so we're clear."










Was "shackled" simply insensitive- or deliberately provocative? You make the call.

- I understand what she meant when she declared that she was “taking back my First Amendment rights” by turning to a new venue that will not allow others the ability to silence her by going after her stations, sponsors, and supporters. The Bill of Rights protects people in the U.S.A. from an overreach by government; it limits the powers of governments, not of individuals, pressure groups, or anyone else. But she knew that, didn't she? Further, Dr. Schlessinger has not been "silenced;" she has chosen on her own to spread her gospel by other, public means. In fact, she maintains that she was not thrown off the air, pressured to change her approach, or even to make an apology- that was alll her own decision, or at least she claims.

During an earlier controversy pertaining to Dr. Schlessinger, Brent Bozell, chairman of the conservative watchdog Media Research Center and defender then and now of Schlessinger, remarked of her critics "I don't fault them for their tactics. It's perfectly acceptable for an organization to lobby to cancel a program they think is inappropriate. I don't think there's anything wrong with that at all."

Bozell' opinion is questionable- the tactics are questionable- but that's the way the game is played, especially by the right. If it's not illegal, immoral, or fattening, turnabout is fair play.

- I, and obviously many others, have been “shackled” too by people who play games with false accusations, threats, frivolous lawsuits, misreporting, etc., in an effort to silence those with whom they disagree. That’s why I tend to defend people who call it like they see it while others stop at nothing to shut them up. I learned this valuable lesson when the partisan obstructionists in my state tried to shackle, bankrupt, and destroy my family and supporters, and my record, with endless frivolous litigation when I returned from the Vice Presidential campaign trail.

No time now to explain that the "endless frivolous litigation" was nothing of the sort. But here again, Palin demonstrates that she is today's classic conservative. It's in the self-congratulatory message ("I tend to defend people who call it like they see it"); the martyr complex ("tried to shackle, bankrupt, and destroy my family and supporters, and my record"); the rationalization ("handed the reins off to another" because of "these obstructionists"- not to become fabulously wealthy touring the country without being burdened by the mundane responsibilities of governing a state day-to-day); and, above all, the mantle of victimization, with which her rant is saturated.

- I didn’t retreat; I reloaded in order to fight. It really is a win-win with the base; Palin gets to cry about being victimized because she is a woman, while employing traditional macho language of not retreating but instead reloading (she loves to use this firearms metaphor).

- Dr. Laura did not call anyone or any group of people the n-word. In not calling "any group of people the n-word," presumably Schlessinger was referring to all Americans by that term. Or at least that's the obvious implication.

- Curiously, the same criers over this issue didn’t utter a word when White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel called a group protesting the Obama Administration’s actions, “f***ing retards. The left- or at least what Gibbs/Obama considers the "professional left"- was critical of Emanuel. But while Palin justifiably condemned Emanuel's "crude and disrespectful term, she ignored or failed to notice the statement of your most important supporter "But our politically correct society is acting like some giant insult's taken place by calling a bunch of people who are "retards," "retards." And that was not in private- wrong, though it was- but on the public airwaves, there to encourage others to use the term.

Laura Schlessinger, though a bigot, is a serious person with a few opinions reflecting traditional values. Sarah Palin is not a serious person- but she is a serious threat to the Republic and should be neither ridiculed nor ignored but confronted, and continually.




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