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Sarah Shoots Herself in the Foot — Again

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Sarah Palin is a remarkable woman, with many strong points, but an instinct for always saying the right thing in the right words clearly isn’t one of them.She blew her most recent opportunity to prove her credibility by posting a disastrous video intended to absolve herself of any responsibility for the Tucson shootings. She was absolutely right to defend herself, as there is no evidence that she, or anyone else, influenced the shooter, but once again her inability to find the proper tone, or choose the right words, further damaged her reputation.

She started out being conciliatory, and showing sympathy for the victims, then veered off into the tired old Tea Party rant that America is great because we all have the right to say whatever we want, and these accusations were just aimed at silencing dissent. You’re right Sarah, your enemies have never succeeded in silencing you. Unfortunately, neither have your friends. Even Newt Gingrich, not usually associated with moderate speech, said, in reference to some of her recent statements, “I think that she has got to slow down and be more careful and think through what she’s saying and how she’s saying it.”  Most damaging was her use of the phrase “blood libel.” This was a prepared speech, and it is highly unlikely that she used this specific term unintentionally, or that she was unaware of what it referred to, but once again, instead of simply admitting that she could have chosen her words more carefully, she chose to come out swinging. She offered up her own definition of the term, and insisted that its use was appropriate in this context.

This wasn’t the first time Sarah Palin demonstrated her lack of ability to admit she goofed. Her supporters claimed that it was unfair to criticize her for saying refudiate instead of repudiate. They are correct in pointing out that everyone occasionally has these little slips of the tongue. The problem wasn’t her initial mistake, but her reaction to the criticism. Instead of just laughing the whole thing off, she made herself look more foolish by saying that the English language evolves, and if Shakespeare could make up new words then so could she.

If she really has any thoughts of running in 2012, she will have to abandon her rogue-grizzly mindset. The Republican ballot is shaping up to be a long one, with most of the party’s heavy hitters seeking the nomination. These are veteran campaigners, who have grown wise enough to know that they can’t do it on their own. Candidates for the top office surround themselves with advisers, handlers, spin-doctors and speech writers, and nothing is said or done without being vetted by this carefully selected team.  If Sarah Palin is serious about 2012, she needs to assemble her own team, and take advice and direction from them. She demonstrated in 2008 that she has little aptitude for following orders, and unfortunately still shows little desire to do what others ask of her.

It’s probably already too late, but if she wants the presidency, she will have to curb her talent for shooting from the lip, and learn to be a team player.

And she needs to start today.

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About Ian Stevenson

  • Here is an article by Victor Davis Hanson on much the same subject. It’s probably worth reading.


  • Anything by Mr. Hanson is worth reading, disagree with him or not.

  • Not really. Took me about a paragraph and a half to detect his tu quoque fallacizing, which he then persisted with for several more pages. I can’t say exactly how many pages because I’d lost interest by then.

  • Ruvy

    I received this as an e-mail
    A DC ‘travel agent’ offers some examples of ‘WHY’ the USA is in trouble!

    1. I had a New Hampshire Congresswoman (Carol Shea-Porter) ask for an aisle seat so that her hair wouldn’t get messed up by being near the window. (On an airplane!)

    2. I got a call from a Kansas Congressman’s (Moore) staffer (Howard Bauleke), who wanted to go to Cape Town. I started to explain the length of the flight and the passport information and then he interrupted me with, ”I’m not trying to make you look stupid, but Cape Town is in Massachusetts..”

    Without trying to make him look stupid, I calmly explained, ”Cape Cod is in Massachusetts, Cape Town is in South Africa ..”

    His response — click.

    3. A senior Vermont Congressman (Bernie Sanders) called, furious about a Florida package we did. I asked what was wrong with the vacation in Orlando. He said he was expecting an ocean-view room. I tried to explain that’s not possible, since Orlando is in the middle of the state.

    He replied, ‘Don’t lie to me!, I looked on the map, and Florida is a very THIN state!!” (OMG)

    4. I got a call from a lawmaker’s wife (Landra Reid) who asked, ”Is it possible to see England from Canada ?” I said, ”No.” She said, ”But they look so close on the map” (OMG, again!)

    5. An aide for a cabinet member (Janet Napolitano) once called and asked if he could rent a car in Dallas. I pulled up the reservation and noticed he had only a 1-hour layover in Dallas …. When I asked him why he wanted to rent a car, he said, ”I heard Dallas was a big airport, and we will need a car to drive between gates to save time.” (Aghhhh)

    6. An Illinois Congresswoman (Jan Schakowsky) called last week. She needed to know how it was possible that her flight from Detroit left at 8:30 a.m., and got to Chicago at 8:33 a.m. I explained that Michigan was an hour ahead of Illinois , but she couldn’t understand the concept of time zones. Finally, I told her the plane went fast, and she bought that.

    7. A New York lawmaker, (Jerrold Nadler) called and asked, ”Do airlines put your physical description on your bag so they know whose luggage belongs to whom?” I said, ‘No, why do you ask?’ He replied, ”Well, when I checked in with the airline, they put a tag on my luggage that said (FAT), and I’m overweight. I think that’s very rude!” After putting him on hold for a minute, while I looked into it. (I was dying laughing). I came back and explained the city code for Fresno, CA is (FAT – Fresno Air Terminal), and the airline was just putting a destination tag on his luggage..

    8. A Senator John Kerry aide (Lindsay Ross) called to inquire about a trip package to Hawaii … After going over all the cost info, she asked, ”Would it be cheaper to fly to California and then take the train to Hawaii?”

    9. I just got off the phone with a freshman Congressman, Bobby Bright from Alabama who asked, ”How do I know which plane to get on?” I asked him what exactly he meant, to which he replied, ”I was told my flight number is 823, but none of these planes have numbers on them.”

    10 Senator Dianne Feinstein called and said, ”I need to fly to Pepsi-Cola, Florida. Do I have to get on one of those little computer planes?” I asked if she meant fly to Pensacola , FL on a commuter plane. She said, ”Yeah, whatever, smarty!”

    11 Mary Landrieu, Louisiana Senator, called and had a question about the documents she needed in order to fly to China. After a lengthy discussion about passports, I reminded her that she needed a visa. “Oh, no I don’t. I’ve been to China many times and never had to have one of those.”

    I double checked and sure enough, her stay required a visa. When I told her this she said, ”Look, I’ve been to China four times and every time they have accepted my American Express!”

    12 A New Jersey Congressman (John Adler) called to make reservations, ”I want to go from Chicago to Rhino, New York.”

    I was at a loss for words. Finally, I said, ”Are you sure that’s the name of the town?” ‘Yes, what flights do you have?” replied the man. After some searching, I came back with, ”I’m sorry, sir, I’ve looked up every airport code in the country and can’t find a rhino anywhere.” ”The man retorted, ”Oh, don’t be silly! Everyone knows where it is. Check your map!”

    So I scoured a map of the state of New York and finally offered, ”You don’t mean Buffalo, do you?” The reply? ”Whatever! I knew it was a big animal.”

    Now you know why the Government is in the shape it’s in!

    You can “Snopes” this all you want. Any site owned by George Soros is suspect.

    And now you can tell me all about Sarah Palin. You betcha!

  • El Bicho

    Just curious, does Dan ever link BC articles at PM?

  • Ruvy

    What BC articles are worth linking to? Inquiring minds want to know.

  • Re #5 — Yes I do, when relevant to the topic and otherwise worthwhile. Gosh Darn! I hope you don’t mind too much*.


    *If so, please let me know so I can try to do it more often.

  • Well, I guess even Hanson is blinded by his prejudices, Dreadful. My judgment was made only on the basis of a number of his pieces on ancient Greece.

  • PJ needn’t stoop so low so as to link to the lowly BC. It’s an authority unto itself. For that, we have Ruvy’s esteemed assurance.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Ruvy –

    You know what’s wrong with that e-mail and why it’s VERY unlikely that it’s true? Congresspersons have staff to call and make reservations. They look at a staff member and tell them, “Book me a reservation to [pick a destination]”.

    That’s why that e-mail is almost certainly false, a red herring…and you bought into it.

    Here’s a recommendation, Ruvy – when you see an article that says this or that person in government is Really Stupid, try being more cynical of the article. Palin herself is certainly not stupid…but she IS ignorant, and willfully so, more’s the pity. Please consider the difference between the two.

  • Dan

    Dan (Miller), excellent link in #1.

    ” “Blood libel” long ago became a generic charge far more than a specific one reflecting its anti-Semitic roots.”

    Clearly progressives aren’t really this ignorant. It’s just that they can’t find anything of substance to attack Palin for. I guess they’re just counting on the crazed zealotry of their co-ideologues in media to ram this phony scandal through to their non-critical thinking masses.

    I’m liking Palin more and more.

  • Ruvy carefully poisons the well, which rather reinforces what we already knew about a lot of his arguments and source material.

    He may be pulling our legs, but bearing in mind some of the things Ruvy takes seriously I can’t safely make that conclusion.

    Ignoring that little bit of nonsense, and without checking anything whatsoever, I can confidently state that the provenance of Ruvy’s e-mail is about as genuine as an original sack of Boston Tea Party tea with a barcode on it.

    Every single one of the politicians mentioned is a Democrat (with the exception of Bernie Sanders, but he caucuses with the Dems). This tells me that the e-mail originated as a joke.

    Investigating further, I discovered this version in which the bumbling lawmakers are not identified by name, and this one in which the travellers aren’t even politicians.

    Someone obviously picked this up and then added the names of left-wing politicians to make it a joke at liberals’ expense.

  • Dan,

    I’ve been hearing that ‘blood libel’ counterargument a lot, and the thing that doesn’t seem to be coming across is in what situations it’s actually been used as a generic charge.

    And anyway, why ‘blood libel’ rather than simply ‘libel’? Even without the Jewish context, it was a ham-fisted bit of rhetoric on Palin’s part, what with all those shot and murdered folks.

  • A word to the wise: never drink from Ruvy’s well or you’ll find yourself infected with luminous poison. (DOD film noire classic with Edmund O’Brien)

  • Only the fools, Dan, think that sister Sarah is a worthy attack target.

  • Re Comment #11. Thanks, Dan. I’m coming to appreciate her more and more as well. However, there is no way she could possibly be elected to any post higher than moose control officer in some remote corner of Alaska.

    Sarah Palin is a very attractive female from some foreign hick place way up north and she hunts cuddly wild animals. She even has children by and goes fishing with her red-neck husband. She is feminine but clearly no proper feminist. These blemishes are deservedly fatal.

    Not only that, but as VDH points out she didn’t attend the correct schools or join the right clubs. Obviously, therefore, she lacks the gravitas required of a great statesman such as our humble but so very wise, empathetic and obviously highly intelligent president. Those of us who would like to see her elected are just dumb pawns in her arrogant quest for undeserved power and glory which she (unlike President Obama) wouldn’t even know how to use if she got them. We must hang our heads in shame, become civilized and vote for President Obama in 2012. Otherwise, we won’t all receive free health care and instead will perish due to such man-made disasters as global warming. Gosh Darn, it already getting hot.


  • Hardly an amusing satire, DM, worthy of a prominent contributor to Pajama Media. Is jumping from a fire to a hot-burning skillet the best you can envisage for us?

  • I find it difficult to have any sympathy for Sarah Palin at all. She is a bully and an egoist who, when she thinks at all, believes the world is all about her. Leadership is not a word that can be associated with her. She is famous for being famous and she is proving to be predictable.

    Palin could use some better writers to load her lips. I can still hear the words of a battle hardened NCO who said to me, “LT, when you shoot yourself in the foot, make sure it’s not in your mouth.”

  • Baronius

    Why not “blood libel”? Palin was accused of instigating the shedding of blood, right? Or am I missing something in context?

  • Clavos

    @ Ruvy #4:

    I spent thirty years in the airline business, beginning in 1971, and that list was already an old tale amongst airlines people even back then.

    Plus, it’s just plain fiction — nobody’s that stupid, not even Swedes.

  • Ruvy

    I don’t mind posting a little joke (I’ll take a professional in the business’ like Clavos’ word for this over all the noisemakers at BC). The point is not that I admire Palin so much. I’m wary of her. But I sure as hell respect her a lot more than the male bimbo in the White House – or the bimbos in his cabinet and czar-zoo.

    The constant attempts to disparage Palin are boring, terribly so. Even if they are effective to a degree, they ignore the fact that she does have a well-spring of popularity with the folks the liberal (and conservative) élites sneer at. The élites will not make up the majority of voters in 2012, assuming there is an election. The well of common folk from which Sarah Palin springs DOES and if anyone will elect her, they will.

    I’ll repeat that for the slow kids in the class The well of common folk from which Sarah Palin springs DOES and if anyone will elect her, they will. I didn’t say she would be elected. I simply identified her base.

    Anybody with a bunch of cash can hire speech writers and handlers, and Palin probably has a good speech-writer or two on staff, ALONG with a handler. But those handlers know where her base is, and she will not stray far from that base – they are where the votes come from – not the snobby liberal and conservative élites in America (who stink up this comment thread as well).

    As for her comments on blood libel – she is on the money. She has been smeared with blood libel. End of sentence.

  • Baronius

    Hanson is hit-and-miss. When he knows a subject, he knows it thoroughly. When he doesn’t, he falls back on talking points. This article was one of his talky-pointies.

  • Dan

    Dr. Dreadful, a group called “Jewish Americans for Sarah Palin” issued a statement where they rounded up a few contemporary instances of the term:

    “Beyond the Jewish community, the term “blood libel” is periodically used by political partisans of all stripes. During the 2000 Florida vote recount, for example, Congressman Peter Deutsch said that some Republican accusations against Democratic nominee Al Gore were “almost a blood libel.”* Newsday editor Les Payne said in 2008 that criticism of African-American journalists’ coverage of the Obama candidacy were a “blood libel.”** Former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Jed Babbin said that John Kerry’s 1971 testimony about alleged war crimes committed by U.S. soldiers in Vietnam was “a blood libel.”*** Alex Beam of the Boston Globe said that anonymous Globe staffers who accused former colleagues of privately making racial slurs were “making charges that amounted to ‘blood libel.’”****

    “Blood libel” does not refer exclusively to accusations against Jews. It does not refer only to medieval episodes that resulted in pogroms. It is a term that has been, and continues to be, legitimately used in contemporary American political discourse by all sides. Governor Palin’s use of the term is accurate, reasonable, and squarely within the bounds of accepted political discourse. It is her opponents’ attempts to falsely connect her to the Tucson massacre which is inaccurate, and unreasonable, and beyond the pale of civilized discourse.”

    Dan (Miller), It seems like a lot of the smearing of Palin is designed to poison her viability as a potential Presidential candidate among the disinterested casual voters.

    That’s fine. There is a certain amount of manipulative herding that the old media is able to get away with in every election. Especially Presidential elections.

    So far, Sarah has defied conventional wisdom on what course for maximum impact she should take. No one thought resigning her governorship was a good idea. Yet, here she is, arguably the titular head of the largest grassroots political revolt in contemporary US history; swinging more legislative seats than any time in the last seventy years.

    She is arguably redefining, and innovating politics in a creative way that no man, let alone any woman has ever thought of.

    Let the old media continue to cry wolf at every turn. I don’t care if she runs for President. I just want to see what she does next.

  • zingzing

    sarah palin, snookie, what’s the difference?

  • Dan

    zingzing, that comparison of sarah and snookie, I’ve already heard that one.

    It’s interesting how influenced you lefties are to chatter petty, insulting “toss offs” in unison.

    In truthfulness, I might consider her only ordinary if it weren’t for the obsessive compulsive attacks from every strata of intellect on the left.

    Paul Krugman soiled his nest again.

    That is why I am content just to watch this weirdness unfold. I kind of think making her President might restrict and hinder her quite obvious political talent for causing cognitive unravel in her opponents.

    It smells of potential historic relevance.

  • zingzing

    funny. i’d never heard the comparison before. so it must be bloody obvious, eh? doesn’t take any “influence,” just some observation.

    she’s a television personality, dan. so’s the other one. they’re both looked upon with unworthy contempt by some and unreasonable adulation by others (although it’s perhaps the level of irony in that adulation that separates them… also, snookie seems to be in on the joke).

    “I kind of think making her President might restrict and hinder her quite obvious political talent for causing cognitive unravel in her opponents.”

    doesn’t seem she’s quite got that figured out. or maybe her iowa feelers are part of her fiendish plot, eh? you know, the whole acting like a moron just to get the left’s dander up plot.

    but the left would love to see her in an election, and you know it. that said, she does perform a valuable service right where she is. in the kingdom of the blind, etc, etc. and she does provide many moments of invaluable comedy.

  • Dan

    “funny. i’d never heard the comparison before.”—zz

    A google search of “snooki palin comparison” gets 1,270,000 hits. The most recent manifestation of this “hive” effect on January 18 by Donny Deutsch on some MSNBC show few people actually watch.

    The justification for the comparison among the herded progressives seems to be as you suggest. They’re both on TV.

    If the left truly would love to see her in the election, then they could cross over and vote for her in the early primaries. The same way the right got stuck with John McCain.