Sunday, October 12, 2008

Palin: The McCain Campaign Takes the High Road (And Other Tall Tales)

I have to admit that reading anything Sarah Palin says these days requires patience. One has to sort out the linguistic idioms, the invariable subject tangents, and only then can one begin to tease the the rare answer from the chaotic explanation.

Somewhere in the folksy whimsy that is Palin lies a calculated liar who weaves stories and connections together to make mittens from lawn chairs. Consider the answer below in response to this question from a reporter as part of a five and a half minute telephone interview with some Alaska reporters:

Governor, so good to hear from you. Do you approve of the way that your campaign has handled themselves here in Alaska? We’ve had a lot of people voice concerns about what they call attacks of good people in our state while you are away.

A: Well I haven’t heard of any attacks on good people in Alaska from our campaign. If you have specifics there, maybe I could answer specifically. But no, in John McCain’s mission here, in taking the high road, as you’re going to see too with a lot of unfair shots he has taken in this campaign with some of his opponents’ supporters, McCain and I taking the high road, being positive. I wouldn’t support nor would I condone taking shots at any good Alaskans. --Alaska Politics, 10/11/2008

This exemplifies well the problem with the entire telephone interview, and there is just so much wrong with this one quote, as with all the others.

For starters, the first two sentences and the last are related. The middle section is not only a bald faced lie, it is completely out of context--almost Rovian in it's rather sinister convolution especially given the last week of attacks by Palin which has driven her supporters to the edge of lucidity, with some tumbling--even sprinting--over.

Almost more astounding is the followup question and answer:

Q: Walt Monegan was called “rogue.” How do you feel about that?

A: Rogue isn’t a negative term when you consider that in a cabinet you need a team effort going forward with a governor’s agenda. And our agenda has been to find efficiencies in every department and make sure that we are serving the people of Alaska to the best of our ability given the resources that we have. And remember I fought very hard to increase funding for state troopers so that we could fill positions there and goals not being met that included not being able to recruit and retain all the state troopers that I wanted to best serve Alaska. That could be characterized I think as a cabinet member who – it’s not a negative term I think -- being rogue in terms of not meeting those goals.

First, the definition of rogue:
1 : vagrant , tramp
2 : a dishonest or worthless person : scoundrel
: a mischievous person : scamp
: a horse inclined to shirk or misbehave
5 : an individual exhibiting a chance and usually inferior biological variation [my emphasis]

Clearly, Palin doesn't know what the word means, let alone can she apply any of these in context with the strange middle statement.

Note the same pattern as in the first question: Address the question in the first sentence. Stick something off topic in the middle, muddle it up in Palinesque gibberish, then answer the question with a lie at the end. This is also a Rovian pattern: Up is down, black is white, and war is peace.

Palin calls the "troopergate" investigation "tasergate", something truly Rovian. Palin goes on to say that the report clears her of wrongdoing. Clearly, that is not what the report says, then Palin deflects the subject away from herself to the assertion that Trooper Wooten tasered a child. The investigation wasn't about Wooten tasering anyone. It was about whether Palin abused her power as governor in firing Monahan, Wooten's boss, and whether the governor committed acts in violation of her oath of office.

Semanticist Sam Hyakowa must be speechless, wherever he is.