Palin, The Republicans and the Truth

Sarah Palin is known as the Barracuda for the way she’s played politics since her days of Mayor of Wasilla.  So her rhetoric against Obama was no surprise, and no stretch for her, even if it was written  by McCain’s people, as rumored.

What about the truth, though?  As Robert Parry noted in the Consortium News (reprinted in Truthout):

In speech after speech, Republicans didn’t so much as tell the Big Lie as they deployed Wholesale Lies.

The Associated Press, which mostly had been recycling the Republican spin about the supposedly “maverick” ticket of John McCain and Sarah Palin, was so struck by the litany of distortions that the AP produced a special fact-checking article describing how Republicans had “stretched the truth.”

For instance, Palin said about Obama, “it’s easy to forget that this is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or reform – not even in the state senate.” 

However, as the AP noted, Obama “worked with Republicans to pass legislation that expanded efforts to intercept illegal shipments of weapons of mass destruction and to help destroy conventional weapons stockpiles. The legislation became law last year.”

Plus, the AP reported, “In Illinois, he was the leader on two big, contentious measures in Illinois: studying racial profiling by police and requiring recordings of interrogations in potential death penalty cases. He also successfully co-sponsored major ethics reform legislation.”


As for the “Bridge to Nowhere” Palin says she opposed?

As the AP noted. Palin, as  mayor of the tiny town of Wasilla, hired a lobbyist and made annual treks to Washington seeking earmarked spending that totaled $27 million, and then as Alaska’s governor for less than two years, she sought nearly $750 million in special federal spending, “by far the largest per-capita request in the nation.”

And as for that $398 million bridge from Ketchikan to an island with 50 residents, the truth is that Palin enthusiastically supported the project before she reluctantly opposed it, rejecting the “Bridge to Nowhere” only after it had become politically indefensible.


Not only that:

The Los Angeles Times discovered that Sen. McCain had specifically cited several of Palin’s earmarks on his annual list of wasteful pork-barrel spending.

In 2001, for instance, McCain’s list included a $500,000 earmark for a public transportation project in Wasilla, and in 2002, he criticized $1 million targeted for an emergency communications center that Palin sought but local law enforcement said was redundant and a source of confusion.


Meanwhile, Pataki, Giuliani and Palin all mocked Obama’s work as a community organizer at the Republican Convention, admitting they were clueless as to what a community organizer does.  While this has brought a lot of (justifiable) wrath from people who do the hard work of community organizing, personally, I think it’s a good thing that Republicans are clueless.  It is, in fact, by the grassroots techniques of community organizing (on a nationwide level) that Barack won the Democratic nomination, in spite of the fact in the beginning most of the party insiders were for Hillary. 


That Republicans are clueless about the connection between “community” and “organizing” is a good thing.  Shhh!  Let them thing $5000 a plate dinners with the country club set are the way to go. . .


Meanwhile, Sarah Palin’s choice by McCain is being touted as a Feminist turn by the Republican party (there’s something I never thought I’d see in my life; admittedly this is a breakthrough of the right-wingers glass ceiling), and anyone who questions that is just sexist.  What do longer standing Feminists think? 


Gloria Steinem sums up the cynicism of the Republican’s choice and it’s alleged appeal to Hillary’s supporters in the LA Times:

Selecting Sarah Palin, who was touted all summer by Rush Limbaugh, is no way to attract most women, including die-hard Clinton supporters. Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Clinton. Her down-home, divisive and deceptive speech did nothing to cosmeticize a Republican convention that has more than twice as many male delegates as female, a presidential candidate who is owned and operated by the right wing and a platform that opposes pretty much everything Clinton’s candidacy stood for — and that Barack Obama’s still does. To vote in protest for McCain/Palin would be like saying, “Somebody stole my shoes, so I’ll amputate my legs.”


I disagree that anything was stolen.  Obama won by organizing community support around the country from people like me.  Still, no matter what they want to believe about that, do they really want McCain and Palin in the White House instead of Barack? Hoping everything they believe in won’t be totally ruined by the end of four more years and then Hillary will be able to win and turn it all around (and remember, Supreme Court appointments are for life)?


As Steinem points out, Sarah doesn’t have much knowledge of world affairs, while she does support all the most extreme conservative positions.

So let’s be clear: The culprit is John McCain. He may have chosen Palin out of change-envy, or a belief that women can’t tell the difference between form and content, but the main motive was to please right-wing ideologues; the same ones who nixed anyone who is now or ever has been a supporter of reproductive freedom. If that were not the case, McCain could have chosen a woman who knows what a vice president does and who has thought about Iraq; someone like Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison or Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine. McCain could have taken a baby step away from right-wing patriarchs who determine his actions, right down to opposing the Violence Against Women Act.

Palin’s value to those patriarchs is clear: She opposes just about every issue that women support by a majority or plurality. She believes that creationism should be taught in public schools but disbelieves global warming; she opposes gun control but supports government control of women’s wombs; she opposes stem cell research but approves “abstinence-only” programs, which increase unwanted births, sexually transmitted diseases and abortions; she tried to use taxpayers’ millions for a state program to shoot wolves from the air but didn’t spend enough money to fix a state school system with the lowest high-school graduation rate in the nation; she runs with a candidate who opposes the Fair Pay Act but supports $500 million in subsidies for a natural gas pipeline across Alaska; she supports drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, though even McCain has opted for the lesser evil of offshore drilling. She is Phyllis Schlafly, only younger.


OK, but what do Republican women think of McCain’s choice? Check out the New York Times blog and the YouTube clip below to hear what Peggy Noonan of the Reagan administration and other Republican pundits are saying off air (or so they think) in an accidental live mic discussion on MSNBC.

Peggy Noonan, speechwriter for Ronald Reagan and columnist, interjects: “It’s over.”
Asked whether Ms. Palin is really the most qualified woman Mr. McCain could have picked, Ms. Noonan responds rather incredulously, “The most qualified? No. I think they went for the — excuse me — political (expletive) about narratives. … Every time the Republicans do that, because that’s not where they live and that’s not what they’re good at, they blow it.”


Even Republican women would prefer a woman with some real experience and world knowledge on the ticket.  How dumb do McCain and his cronies think women are?





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