“I feel so bad for his children,” she said. “It must be quite embarrassing for them….You know, it’s an irresponsible and, really, a pretty disgusting thing that he did, pretty much denying that he had a child for ten years.”
She added, “That’s how I look at it. It speaks to his character. It’s sad.”
I was surprised because a person who for example is reported to have had a sexual extramarital affair with Brad Hanson in the early 1990’s, whose son Track has a biological father who officially was his Godfather and who had no hesitation to fake a pregnancy should refrain from commenting disparagingly about other people’s private scandals. That is, of course unless you are someone who has virtually no connection to reality whatsoever. That someone is Sarah Palin, the person who now seems to have in theory a very good chance to win the Republican nomination for President.
It is apparent from this interview that Sarah Palin is very afraid of further revelations about her private life, and she mentions explicitly several times that the media should stick to the political record of the candidates – instead of focusing on more private revelations. Well, I have great doubts whether her wish will be granted, and her above comment about Arnold Schwarzenegger proves that she herself has no hesitation to comment about other people’s private scandals herself. Equal rights for everyone has never been Sarah Palin’s strength.
This Trust was created by a team of expert lawyers from around the country. It was thoroughly vetted for compliance with federal and state law and trust law. So far Mr. Daniel is the only lawyer in the country who has questioned a legal defense fund despite the fact that his firm has set up legal defense funds for other office holders. Because his initial review was unprecedented and contained factual errors it was my understanding that Gov. Palin’s legal team, including Mr. Van Flein, were in on-going discussions with Mr. Daniel. The matter was not final.
I want to be clear on a point that has been misrepresented: The Governor is not and was not involved with the Trust. The Governor has never worked on or with the Trust. The Governor has not even accepted or requested one penny from the Trust or quite frankly anything of me. And I have never expected anything from her. Really it’s quite the contrary; as I, and many other caring folks across the country have only sought to help with this legal burden.
The first and only time I have spoken with the Governor about the Trust was yesterday to alert her that I was responding to this violation of the law and leak of preliminary and confidential materials from the complainant.
There is a loophole in Alaska law. Alaskans can file frivolous complaints against the Governor – violate the law and alert the media they are doing so, all the complaints can be dismissed and yet the Governor has to personally pay for representation. Legislators covered themselves with a law that warrants automatic dismissal of a complaint if it is leaked to the public.
It has been quite obvious to me, and to other every day citizens like me, that over the last several months that something needed to be done to help the Palins with the overwhelming crush of frivolous ethics complaints.
In their own humble way, the Palins never asked for help. The Governor never even asked anyone to contribute to this legal expense fund. This trust, and the thousands and thousands of dollars raised, were the results of hard working Americans and their outpouring of support. It is disgraceful that anyone would assume that the thousands of people who sent in $5, $10 or $50 intended to “influence” the governor’s official actions in Alaska! And this in a state where a half dozen legislators have been convicted of corruption as well as the previous governor’s chief of staff. Not one ethics complaint was filed against these individuals who were convicted, but this governor is harassed for having her picture taken with a fish, wearing a jacket, answering press questions and giving a speech.
A few select people have abused our ethics act. The public release of a preliminary document in violation of state law follows that pattern. The people of this state are losing hope that the ethics act has any real purpose anymore and that’s incredibly sad as ethics are so important. Mr. Daniel’s preliminary assessment, unprecedented in history and harshly criticized by legal scholars, does nothing to restore credibility to this process.
22. There is no question that the advice of counsel was sought and that no less than three law firms were consulted. The consultations began before either the Trust donor solicitations began and attorneys were consulted both to draft the trust document and the accompanying website which made representations about the Trust. The law firms consulted credibly represented that they were experienced and competent in the area. The first three elements of the defense are clearly met.
23. The idea for creating a defense fund trust came initially from Governor Palin’s advisors. Most to nearly all of the meetings with counsel were conducted by Ms . Stapleton on Governor Palin’s behalf and with Governor Palin’s authority. Governor Palin was not active in the discussions with the retained attorneys for the Trust as to the complex issues that had to be confronted to comply with the various laws that governed the Trust, including the Ethics Act . The Ethics Act provides that it is the individual responsibility of every public official or employee to comply with the Ethics Act and it is one of the most important functions of a public official. A S 39.52.010(a)(7). The Ethics Act provides that the public official may seek advance guidance for any endeavor that may implicate the Ethics Act and each public official is assigned an ethics officer to advise them. In the case of a governor, the person assigned under the Ethics Act is the Attorney General. A S 39.52.960(8)(c). While, the degree of delegation to Ms . Stapleton in this instance was troubling, the facts and circumstances surrounding the legal problem presented were fairly and competently presented by Ms . Stapleton on Governor Palin’s behalf, and the attorneys involved were fairly apprised of the facts supporting the legal problem they were to address. The advice and the result would not likely have been different had the Governor been more fully involved.
Therefore it turned out that Kristan Cole’s claim that
turned out to be a bold-face lie, as it was established through the Petumenos-report that
The defining moment for me came shortly after Palin and her family stepped down from the stage to uproarious applause, looking happy enough to throw a whole library full of books into the sewer. In the crush to exit the stadium, a middle-aged woman wearing a cowboy hat, a red-white-and-blue shirt and an obvious eye job gushed to a male colleague – They were both wearing badges identifying them as members of the Colorado delegation – At the Xcel gates.
“She totally reminds me of my cousin!” the delegate screeched. “She’s a real woman! The real thing!”
I stared at her open-mouthed. In that moment, the rank cynicism of the whole sorry deal was laid bare. Here’s the thing about Americans. You can send their kids off by the thousands to get their balls blown off in foreign lands for no reason at all, saddle them with billions in debt year after congressional year while they spend their winters cheerfully watching game shows and football, pull the rug out from under their mortgages, and leave them living off their credit cards and their Wal-Mart salaries while you move their jobs to China and Bangalore.
And none of it matters, so long as you remember a few months before Election Day to offer them a two-bit caricature culled from some cutting-room-floor episode of Roseanne as part of your presidential ticket. And if she’s good enough likeness of a loudmouthed Middle American archetype, as Sarah Palin is, John Q. Public will drop his giant sized bag of Doritos in gratitude, wipe the sizzlin’ picante dust from his lips and rush to the booth to vote for her. Not because it makes sense, or because it has a chance of improving his life or anyone else’s, but simply because it appeals to the low-humming narcissism that substitutes for his personality, because that image on TV reminds him of the mean brainless slob he sees in the mirror every morning.
Sarah Palin is a symbol of everything that is wrong with the modern United States. As a representative of our political system, she’s a new low in reptilian villainy, the ultimate cynical masterwork of puppeteers like Karl Rove. But more than that, she is a horrifying symbol of how little we ask for in return for the total surrender of our political power. Not only is Sarah Palin a fraud, she’s the tawdriest, most half-assed fraud imaginable, 20 floors below the lowest common denominator, a character too dumb even for daytime TV – And this country is going to eat her up, cheering every step of the way. All because most Americans no longer have the energy to do anything but lie back and allow ourselves to be jacked off by the calculating thieves who run this grasping consumer paradise we call a nation.
But watching Palin’s speech I had no doubt that I was witnessing a historic, iconic performance. The candidate sauntered to the lectern with the assurance of a sleepwalker – And immediately launched into a symphony of snorting and sneering remarks, taking time out in between the superior invective to present herself as just a humble gal with a beefcake husband and a brood of healthy, combat-ready spawn who just happened to be innocent targets of a communist and probably also homosexual media conspiracy. She appeared to be completely without shame and utterly full of shit, awing a room full of hardened reporters with her sickly sweet line about the high-school-flame-turned-hubby who “Five children later” is “Still my guy.” It was like watching Gidget address the Reichstag.
Within minutes, Palin had given TV audiences a character infinitely recognizable to virtually every American; the small-town girl with just enough looks and a defiantly incurious mind who thinks the PTA minutes are Holy Writ, and to whom injustice means the woman next door owning a slightly nicer set or drapes or flatware. Or the governorship, as it were.
Right-wingers of the Bush-Rove ilk have had a tough time finding a human face to put on their failed, inhuman, mean-as-hell policies. But it was hard not to recognize the genius of wedding that faltering brand of institutionalized greed to the image of the suburban American supermom. It’s the perfect cover, for there is almost nothing in the world meaner than this species of provincial tyrant.
The great insight of the Palin VP choice is that huge chunks of American voters no longer even demand that their candidates actually have policy positions; they simply consume them as media entertainment, rooting for or against them according to the reflective prejudices of their demographic, as they would for a reality-show contestants or sitcom characters. Hicks root for hicks, moms for moms, born-agains for born-agains. Sure, there was politics in the Palin speech but it was all either silly lies or merely incidental fluffery buttressing the theatrical performance. A classic example of what was at work here came when Palin proudly introduced her Down-Syndrome baby, Trig, then stared into the camera and somberly promised parents of special-needs kids that they would “Have a friend and advocate in the White House.” This was about a half-hour before she raised her hands in triumph with McCain, a man who voted against increasing funding for special-needs education.
Palin’s charge that “government is too big” and that Obama “Wants to grow it” was similarly preposterous. Not only did her party just preside over the largest government expansion since LBJ, but Palin herself has been a typical bush-era republican, borrowing and spending beyond her means. Her great legacy as mayor of Wasilla was the construction of a $15 million hockey arena in a city with an annual budget of $20 million; Palin OK’d a bond issue for the project before the land had been secured, leading to a protracted legal mess that ultimately forced taxpayers to pay more than six times the original market price for property the city ended up having to seize from a private citizen using eminent domain. Better yet, Palin ended up paying for the fucking thing with a 25 percent increase in the city sales tax. But in her speech, of course, Palin presented herself as the enemy of tax increases, righteously bemoaning that “Taxes are too high” and Obama “Wants to raise them.”
Palin hasn’t been too worried about federal taxes as governor of a state that ranks number one in the nation in federal spending per resident ($13,950), even as it sits just 18th in federal taxes paid per resident ($5,434). That means all us taxpaying non-Alaskans spend $8,500 a year on each and every resident of Palin’s paradise of rugged self-sufficiency. Not that this sworn enemy of taxes doesn’t collect from her own; Alaska currently collects the most taxes per resident of any state in the nation. The rest of Palin’s speech was the same dog-whistle crap Republicans have been railing about for decades. Palin’s crack about a mayor being “like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities” testified to the Republican’s apparent belief that they can win elections till the end of time running against the Sixties. (They’re probably right.) The incessant pausing about the media was likewise par for the course, red meat for those tens of millions of patriotic flag-waving Americans whose first instinct when things get rough is to whine like bitches and blame other people – Reporters, the French, those ungrateful blacks soaking up tax money eating big prison meals, whomever – For their failures.
Then there’s the God stuff: Palin belongs to a church whose pastor, Ed Kalnins, believes that all criticisms of George Bush “Come from Hell” and wondered aloud if people who voted for John Kerry could be saved. Kalnins, looming as the answer to Obama’s Jeremiah Wright, claims that Alaska is going to be a “refuge state” for Christians in the last days, last days which he sometimes speaks of in the present tense. Palin herself has been captured on video mouthing the inevitable born again idiocies, such as the idea that a recent oil-pipeline deal was “God’s Will.” She also described the Iraq War as a “task that is from God” and part of a heavenly “Plan.” She supports teaching creationism and “Abstinence only” in public schools, opposes abortion even for victims of rape, has denied the science behind global warming and attends a church that seeks to convert Jews and cure homosexuals.
All of which tells you about what you’d expect from a raise-the-base choice like Palin: She’s a puffed-up dimwit with primitive religious beliefs who had to be educated as to the fact that the constitution did not exactly envision government executives firing librarians. Judging from the importance progressive critics seem to attach to these revelations, you’d think that these were actually negatives in modern American politics. But Americans like politicians who hate books and see the face of Jesus in every tree stump. They like them stupid and mean and ignorant of the rules. Which is why Palin has only seemed to grow in popularity as more and more of these revelations have come out.
The same goes for the most damning aspect of her biography, her total lack of big-game experience. As governor of Alaska, Palin presides over a state whose entire population is barely the size of Memphis. This kind of thing might matter in a country that actually worried about whether its leader was prepared for his job – But not in America. In America, it takes about 2 weeks in the limelight for the whole country to think you’ve been around for years. To a certain extent, this is why Obama is getting a pass on the same issue. He’s been on TV every day for two years and according to the standards of our instant-ramen culture, that’s a lifetime of hands-on experience.
It is worth noting that the same criticisms of Palin also hold true for two other candidates in this race, John McCain and Barack Obama. As politicians, both men are more narrative than substance, with McCain rising to prominence on the back of his bio as a suffering war hero and Obama mostly playing the part of long-lost, future-embracing liberal dreamboat not seen on the national stage since Bobby Kennedy died. If your stomach turns to read how Palin’s Kawasaki 704 glasses are flying off the shelves in Middle America, you have to accept that Middle America probably feels the same way when it hears Donatella Versace dedicated her collection to Obama during Milan Fashion Week. Or sees the throwing-panties-onstage-“I love you, Obama!” ritual at the Democratic nominee’s town-hall appearances.
So, sure, Barack Obama might be every bit as much as a slick piece of imageering as Sarah Palin. The difference is in what the image represents. The Obama image represents tolerance, intelligence, education, patience with the notion of compromise and negotiation, and a willingness to stare ugly facts right in the face, all qualities we’re actually going to need in government if we’re going to get out of this huge mess we’re in.
Here’s what Sarah Palin represents: being a fat fucking pig who pins “Country First” buttons on his man titties and chants “U-S-A! U-S-A!” at the top of his lungs while his kids live off credit cards and Saudis buy up all the mortgages in Kansas
The truly disgusting thing about Sarah Palin isn’t that she’s totally unqualified, or a religious zealot, or married to a secessionist, or unable to educate her own daughter about sex, or a fake conservative who raised taxes and porked up earmark millions every chance she got. No, the most disgusting thing about her is what she says about us: That you can ram us in the ass for eight solid years, and we’ll not only thank you for your trouble, we’ll sign you up for eight more years, if only you promise to stroke us in the right spot for few hours around election time.
Democracy doesn’t require a whole lot of work of its citizens, but it requires some: It requires taking a good look outside once in awhile, and considering the bad news and what it might mean, and making the occasional tough choice, and soberly taking stock of what your real interests are.
This is a very different thing from shopping, which involves passively letting sitcoms melt your brain all day long and then jumping straight into the TV screen to buy a southern Style Chicken Sandwich because the slob singing “I’m Lovin’ It!” during the commercial break looks just like you. The joy of being a consumer is that it doesn’t require thought, responsibility, self-awareness or shame: All you have to do is obey the first urge that gurgles up from your stomach. And then obey the next. And the next. And the next.
And when it comes time to vote all you have to do is put your Country First – Just like that lady on TV who reminds you of your cousin. U-S-A, Baby. U-S-A! U-S-A!