Saturday, October 18, 2008

what color is the sun in your world?

When Sarah Palin was nominated to be Vice President of the United States by John McCain most people had never heard of her. I had. In following the Ted Stevens corruption investigation over at TPMMuckraker early in the summer, there had been an item speculating that the GOP might want to replace Ted Stevens in the upcoming election for his Senate seat with a candidate who wasn't, you know, being investigated by the FBI for corruption.

One such possible replacement mentioned was then-popular Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, but this was seen by Josh Marshall as improbable because, even then, her approval ratings were plummeting in Alaska because she too was under investigation -- not for accepting bribes, but for abusing her power as Governor to wage a vicious, all-out campaign to get her ex-brother-in-law fired from his job as an Alaska state trooper.

But, of course, this state of play didn't stop John McCain from picking her as his VP running mate. After all, McCain once shook hands with her at an event, and then had a 15 minute telephone conversation with her; enough, apparently, to convince him that she would make a fine VP and potential president if he were to become dead or incapacitated as a result of one of his many serious lingering health problems.

But despite the McCain campaign's subsequent no-holds-barred legal assault and outright attempts to obstruct justice, the investigation rolled on and the Republican-dominated Alaska legislature released its report as scheduled. The report -- which I've read -- unsurprising concluded that Sarah Palin had indeed violated state ethics laws and abused her power, pretty much exactly as had been described all along in news accounts.

Prominently featured in the report are its "Findings". And under the heading of "Finding I" the report states: "For the reasons explained in Section IV of this report, I find that Governor Sarah Palin abused her power by violating Alaska Statute 39.52.110(a) of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act." This could not be more clear or unambiguous. She "abused her power" and violated an ethics statute.

Again, this is not surprising. That someone like Sarah Palin -- an ambitious, though small and petty, uneducated, unsophisticated backwoods Christianist autocrat -- would do such things is not exactly shocking to a person like me. After all, I grew up in a small town in the bible belt. Such things are taken for granted in such places.

But what is astounding -- even to me -- is Sarah Palin's reaction to this report. There are a lot of possible responses, none of them very good, but nonetheless par for the course with prominent people who have been caught out in some type of wrongdoing. The investigation was a partisan witchhunt. The investigator was biased. The investigator was incompetent. The report's conclusions are not logical, ignore the facts, or give emphasis to the wrong facts. The witnesses lied or were biased. I wasn't afforded the proper opportunity to give my side of the story. Etc, etc.

These responses, while inaccurate, legalistic, obfuscatory, and bordering on dishonesty, are what we have come to refer to as "spin". This means taking bad facts and putting them in the best possible light through some degree of specious defense-lawyer-type argumentation. It is what Bush and his minions have been doing for 8 years now.

But this is not what Sarah Palin did. Sarah Palin said the following: "Well, I’m very very pleased to be cleared of any legal wrongdoing, any hint of any kind of unethical activity there. Very pleased to be cleared of any of that."

This is not spin. This is stating what is verifiably, absolutely untrue.

This is like Clinton coming out and saying: "I am pleased that the House of Representatives voted not to impeach me." What if Fred Goldman had gone in front of television cameras and stated: "I am pleased that the jury found O.J. Simpson guilty of murder, and I'm looking forward to him being sentenced to life in prison."? Or maybe, back in February, Bill Belichick could have met the post-game media and said: "I am very pleased to have won this game, and our players deserve a lot of credit for the Patriots being crowned the 2008 Super Bowl Champions."

Henry Wade: "It is very pleasing to me to have the Supreme Court accept my position and rule that there is no constitutional impediment to the power of states to prohibit abortion."

King George III: "I was pleased to read the declaration by the American colonists, and I wholeheartedly agree with their conclusion that they have no cause or desire to dissolve the political bands which connect the colonies to Great Britain."

Maybe in a couple of weeks Sarah Palin can hold her very first press conference, in which she might be asked: "How disappointed are you with the election results, with being part of a ticket that will be remembered for losing in such a historic landslide?" To which she will perkily and confidently answer: "Well, I am very very pleased to have been elected Vice President of the United States, and I feel strongly that also, this validates the good judgment of the electing people, decent pro-Americans too, those people, there, who voted. And can vote, for elections. Youbetcha. Also, I am looking forward to being inaugurated in January, there, for America, the job creation, and supporting of its values, inaugurating me."

And maybe then people will point and laugh, and some men in tidy white coats and clear plastic gloves will surround her and gently escort her away.


Kingfish said...

Post of the year!

Gleemonex said...


HHL said...

thanks for reading, y'all. I had fun with that one. imitating Palinspeak is good times.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post! Thanks for the fun!