Sarah Palin’s Not Racist, Just Frozen in Time


Fresh from last week’s VP debate, in which she showed passable competence at memorizing cue cards, Sarah Palin spent the weekend blasting Barack Obama with a new round of 1950s insults. She accused him of “palling with terrorists,” disliking America, and generally being a low-down skank. For the 58,000th time, the GOP tried to link Obama to William Ayers, an acquaintance from Obama’s Chicago neighborhood and a member of the Weather Underground during the Vietnam era. She also had this to say about the Democratic nominee’s sense of patriotism: “Our opponent ... is someone who sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect, imperfect enough, that he's palling around with terrorists who would target their own country." To the normally staid Associated Press, her assertions were not only factually suspect, but racially charged. “Though she may have scored a political hit each time,” wrote the AP, “her attack was unsubstantiated and carried a racially tinged subtext that John McCain himself may come to regret. Under the press agency’s logic, Palin’s he’s-not-like-us rhetoric was designed to telegraph a simple message to white voters: “The darkie hangs out with criminals, just like you’d expect.” Okay, so maybe it’s right. This is the same party that smeared one of its own, John McCain, with a whisper campaign that he had a illegitimate child with a women of improper skin pigmentation. But I’m still not buying. After all, stupid people have been trotting out ye old anti-American trope for more than a century. It’s what happens when granule-sized intellects confront large issues. Since the anti-war drive during World War I, followed by the union movement, McCarthyism, Vietnam, the Reagan Era and The Age of Weirdness in which we now reside, people like Palin have been accusing their enemies of anti-American activities. It’s a simpleton’s form of disagreement. Since they can’t fathom someone carrying different views than their own, it must be un-American. Though history always proves them wrong, they keep going back to the same well. What Palin doesn’t know is that voters are no longer buying – especially when the messenger is considered a lightweight. McCain’s people realize Palin knows virtually nothing about the pressing issues of the day, like jobs, health care, financial safety. So they send her out to level 1950s patriot insults. Aside from the sainted mantra of tax cuts, that’s all they have. But it doesn’t come off as racism. That too is a card so easily played. What it does come off as is small people desperately trying to speak when they have nothing to add to the discussion. Democratic strategist Jenny Backus said it best: "The problem is the messenger. If you want to start throwing fire bombs, you don't send out the fluffy bunny to do it. I think people don't take Sarah Palin seriously." And she’s doing her best to keep reminding us why.

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