Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The L-Word

Call me obsessed, but this story continues to flabbergast me. Yes, there are a few people, like Rachel Maddow and the Village Voice (not to mention the Alaska bloggers), hitting this hard, but for the most part it is just a side show to the big news on the financial crisis and the rest of the election campaign news. Maybe this is because the part about an elected official using his or her office for personal benefit, to reward friends or punish enemies, is as old as the hills. The fact that Sarah and Todd Palin were so brazen and clumsy about it also can be swept away on the basis of, well, it was just Alaska, where we are led to believe that most politicians do far worse and, besides, how were they to know that they would be receiving national scrutiny. And what politician does not spin uncomfortable truths as far away from them as possible?

The difference here is that there is no spin. Palin flat out contradicts what the Branchflower report says -- that she violated an Alaskan statute (the Ethics Act) and that she abused her power. Yet, over and over again she says to the press that she was cleared of all wrongdoing and that the report found that she did not act unethically. The more she is asked the question, the more she cheerfully and enthusiastically repeats the lie.

This may not be entirely new in the Rovian political world, but it still scares the heck out of me. I am not sure which part bothers me more -- the blatant falsehood or the fact that it was resorted to so unnecessarily. There are so many ways she could have credibly defended herself or skirted the issue without lying. But instead she said down is up, the report exonerated her, period.

Was this a lack of imagination, critical thought, or such a love of mendacity that she just could not resist? I really wish that the die-hard Republicans who still hang on to the belief that any evidence of Palin's falsehoods must be unfounded because of all the "hate" Democrats have for the righteousness of the Republican cause, would just wake up and see what this woman is really like. As long as she is on the ticket, no one, of any political persuasion should be voting for it, because to give Palin any more power, to reward her for her lying, is to cause irreparable harm to our country.

UPDATE: Even the Anchorage Daily News finally weighs in with "Palin Vindicated? Governor Offers Orwellian Spin."

And Gary Kamiya quips in
"Palin family values" (published in Salon), : "The GOP claims to be the party of 'family values.' It turns out they meant Soprano family values."


Tobias Haller said...

I'm still amazed at the power of delusion, the capacity for people to blind themselves to the flaws in one they idolize. It is a fascinating study in psychology; it is also frightening that a person like Palin could be one deadbeat... uh, heartbeat, away from the presidency.

We have had enough mendacity in the White House -- from both parties -- and so have become desensitized to the point where barefaced lies are excused.

I will happily be casting my vote for Obama. I only wish I were in a state where it was a closer race so that it counted more...

klady said...

Love, loyalty, or what seems to be a worthy goal can delude many of us into missing or discounting flaws of all kinds, whether they be in persons' characters (ourselves or others), the ideas they espouse, or the means by which they seek to achieve an end.

What I think is remarkable in today's political climate are the numbers of people unwilling to even listen to the other side, let alone do what research they can to try to ascertain the truth. I know people with advanced degrees, professional jobs, etc. who will listen to nothing but Rush Limbaugh and Fox News, and are absolutely convinced that anything anyone else says is not only false but part of some kind of conspiracy. They do not want to engage in any conversations of discussion or talk about possible middle or common ground -- they just know they are right and that's it. Of course, there is some of that on the left, as well, and some in the middle who just do not see the point of working very hard to gather information to form an opinion. But how scary that someone like Palin can rely on vast numbers of the public to not bother to check something that it so readily available -- or worse yet, not care, either because the truth doesn't matter or because they are convinced that anyone who disagrees with them will only feed them lies.