Palin vs President Obama


Sarah Palin is unhappy. A new Barack Obama campaign ad quotes her out of context, she says, as part of an effort by “the far Left” to divert everyone from the “real issues” that the president doesn’t want to talk about.

That’s a serious complaint. Quoting opponents out of context is a familiar ploy in politics, but that doesn’t make it any less outrageous. Like when Mitt Romney’s campaign edited a clip of Mr. Obama talking about John McCain to make it sound as if he were talking about himself. That was outrageous.

Let’s start with the ad, which splices together Mrs. Palin’s remarks from her recent interview on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show.

(The video had appeared in a Frontline documentary about Obama and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., that ran in October 2008.)

“It is a tragedy that the media did not do its job in vetting Barack Obama in 2008,” Palin said. “Here, this is belated vetting of Barack Obama, but it must be done. People must be aware of his radical past, his radical associations … He has chosen these people because what went into his thinking through those college years, through years probably before his college years and his profession as a community organizer, what went into his thinking was this philosophy of radicalism, based on the people whom he chose to be around. He has chosen now to help lead this country more of these radicals.”

Mrs. Palin says Mr. Obama has never been “seen in the conventional, traditional way of we who would describe a man of valor.” She accuses the president of embracing a “philosophy of radicalism” and of wanting to bring us back to the “days before the Civil War…when we were in different classes, based on income, based on color of skin.”

Now here’s the full interview.

So, is Mrs. Palin right when she says she was quoted out of context? Technically, yes.

In the ad, it’s not clear that Mrs. Palin questioned Mr. Obama’s “valor” because he failed to reject a campaign contribution from Bill Maher. Mr. Maher used a crude sexual obscenity to describe Mrs. Palin and Mrs. Palin was right to take offense.

And it’s not clear that the “radicalism” comment was part of a discussion about Mr. Obama’s ties to Derrick Bell, the African-American legal scholar who agitated for more diverse law school faculties. Right-wingers have lately been making much of an old film clip showing a young Mr. Obama supporting that effort.

The ad also truncates her civil war comments. Here they are in full (via Breitbart):

He is bringing us back to days, you can hearken back to days before the Civil War, when unfortunately too many Americans mistakenly believed that not all men were created equal. And it was the Civil War that began the codification of the truth that here in America, yes we are equal, and we all have equal opportunities, not based on the color of your skin, you have equal opportunity to work hard and to succeed and to embrace God-given opportunities to develop resources and work extremely hard and as I say, to succeed. Now, it has taken all these years for many Americans to understand the gravity of that mistake that took place before the Civil War and why the Civil War had to really start changing America. What Barack Obama seems to want to do is go back to before those days when we were in different classes based on income, based on color of skin. Why are we allowing our country to move backwards instead of moving forward with that understanding that as our charters of liberty spell out for us, we are all created equally?

So, yes, the ad removes context. It does not, however, actually misrepresent Mrs. Palin’s opinion of the president. In the Fox interview, she did indeed question the president’s valor, invoke his “radical past,” and accuse him of wanting to take the country back to the days before the Civil War. On her Facebook post attacking the ad, she repeats the accusation of radicalism: the “ad opens up the discussion of Barack Obama’s radical past associations and the radical philosophy that shaped his ideas about his promised ‘fundamental transformation’ of our country.”

Mrs. Palin doesn’t specify what she thinks the Obama campaign intended to accomplish by taking her comments out of context. Is her complaint that it appears as if she were launching a racially charged attack against Mr. Obama? Well, she was. What else can you call it when a white right-wing Republican accuses an African-American of trying to return the country to a time when people like him were slaves? This is not racist dog whistling. You don’t need to have canine hearing to pick up that signal.

12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Darklady
    Mar 14, 2012 @ 22:26:37

    Why doesn’t she just say what she means? “When Obama was younger, he spent time with black people… and you just know how they are.”


  2. dragonpuff
    Mar 15, 2012 @ 03:18:49

    Really, Sarah is so desperate and pitiful. (Everyone saw Game Change or knows about it Sarah you can’t change the subject). And even Ann Coulter is calling her a con. . .She won’t attack Ann because Coulter will fillet her.

    I usually don’t read her Facebook posts because I want my brain intact.
    But when I attempted to read it, I started laughing so hard I thought I would wee
    myself. She’d be lucky to be a half wit. I’d say she is certainly a quarter


  3. dragonpuff
    Mar 15, 2012 @ 03:20:18

    Oops, I forgot—–welcome back Syrin!
    I hope that you had fun.


  4. An Alaskan
    Mar 15, 2012 @ 06:24:51

    A quarter wit that governed 20 hours a week, sharing the responsibility with her H.S. graduate husband and rat-catching parents.


  5. martha_davidson (@martha_davidson)
    Mar 15, 2012 @ 08:29:19

    “In the ad, it’s not clear that Mrs. Palin questioned Mr. Obama’s “valor” because he failed to reject a campaign contribution from Bill Maher. Mr. Maher used a crude sexual obscenity to describe Mrs. Palin and Mrs. Palin was right to take offense.”

    FIRST of all …the contribution was to Obama’s SuperPac NOT his campaign. It is ILLEGAL for Obama to give his SuperPac ANY direction, they are not legally supposed to be communicating. IF Obama told his SuperPac to refuse Maher”s $$ he would be BREAKING THE LAW!…..DUH!

    FOX news HAS been saying that Obama “should have refused Maher’s $$ REPEATEDLY as a false defence for Limbaugh.

    Secondly, Maher DID call Palin a c@#t…in his stand up comedy routine, not on his TV show, not on a radio program AND he certainly did not spend 10 programs consistently levelling false attacks against her OR suggesting that she should make video tapes of herself having sex and broadcast them on the internet.

    Remember how “outraged” Palin was over the joke Letterman told about her daughter?

    WHERE is the outrage for Fluke?

    If she was so upset about Bill Maher and David Letterman HOW can she possibly not condem Rush Limbaugh?

    Instead she supports him

    AND btw, and MOST importantly…since the release of the “nothing to see here” emails we know that Palin refereed to Fairbanks Republican Rep. Jay Ramas as Vajayjay……..another word for c@#t….

    The hypocrisy is STUNNING

    Now Palin demands a debate with Obama….

    Palin, as usual, hiding behind her FB page thinks that somehow the entire world is constantly hanging on her every word.

    It is part of her mental instability….., that, and knowing that there never will BE a debate, makes it safe for her to throw that out there.

    Palin is a such a coward.

    Just what would she “debate” about??

    She doesn’t know anything!

    After Game Change has exposed her globally…she can’t fool anyone any more.

    Steve Schmidt: “I think that she helped usher in an hour of know-nothingness, and mainstreamed it in the Republican Party to the detriment of the conservative movement…

    And I think her nomination trivialized American politics, and had a lot of results that I’m not particularly comfortable with.

    And, of course, you know, I had a very personally difficult relationship with her during the campaign.

    But it was a mistake. There’s just no two ways about it.”

    And this from Geoffrey Dunn:

    Game Change serves as Steve Schmidt’s confession.

    The film reveals Palin for what she is:

    intellectually dysfunctional,

    psychologically imbalanced,

    and most importantly, politically polarizing.

    Near the end of the film, Schmidt emotionally apologizes to McCain:

    “I’m so sorry that I suggested her.”

    Just consider that yesterday we saw PM Cameron with POTUS Obama giving speeches, talking to the press and ending the visit with a state dinner.

    Then consider that when prepping for interviews during the 2008 campaign…Palin did not know that there even WAS a Prime Minister or parliament that governs the UK…she thought it was a monarchy and that the QUEEN ruled the land!

    Again…just WHAT would Palin debate with Obama?


  6. consciousatlast
    Mar 15, 2012 @ 14:55:23

    @ Martha Davidson…

    Standing Ovation! Yes, Yes. Yes … and Thank You.

    I would have LOVED to watch a JOURNALIST ask Palin to explain exactly what she meant when she uttered those “before the Civil War” remarks. Then, when SP tries to squirm out of it, the JOURNALIST would insist that SP tell us why Barack Obama would want to go back to a time when he and his family might be enslaved. Furthermore, the JOURNALIST would ask Palin specifically what evidence she could cite to defend her position.

    Ya know Sarah, basic journalism– like you “studied” in “college” in Idaho.


  7. stableperson
    Mar 16, 2012 @ 07:58:05

    Very good analysis. Thanks.


  8. Game of Life (@TheGameOfLife)
    Mar 16, 2012 @ 17:14:17

    Very well said.


  9. theconclusionist
    Mar 16, 2012 @ 21:25:03

    Palin was speaking in plain English. She was pointing out the fact that the class warfare, which our president readily encourages, is reminiscent of the way slaves rightfully vilified slave owners. She is saying that our president wants all Americans to believe they are enslaved by a ruling class of wealthy private citizens.

    Something that was true then, but patently false now.

    Now the government pulls the strings. It holds indomitable sway over our economy and our freedom. All people are subjugated to it. And it is true that there are corporations that hold undue powers, purchased directly from politicians. This is how politics works. This is how democrats and republicans alike maintain power and keep their jobs.

    Sarah Palin is one of the only political figures in the country who is talking about what is actually wrong with our economic and political system. She constantly points out that republicans blame democrats for everything being terrible, and democrats blame the republicans and the wealthy and oil drilling and whatever other topic is trending. And they are both wrong. Palin’s point, over and over again is that the government, both democrats and republicans colluding to maintain power and influence, is what will eventually change America into a socialistic society (really, that change has been happening for a century) that will be easier for some, harder for most, and less free for all.

    Hard working, free thinking people are always a threat to those in power. (would any other sitting president have dared used a private citizen in a political add and gotten away with it?) So the harder it is to fend for ourselves, the more smiling politicians we will all need to take care of us.

    If you are trying to convince yourselves that Sarah Palin is a racist, it is because you are not interested in addressing what she was actually talking about.

    Oh, and since Game Change was such a big hit for you, I suggest reading the book. You’ll really like the book. : )


  10. consciousatlast
    Mar 17, 2012 @ 08:41:20

    Dear Conclusionist-

    You may be able to use five syllable words, but your logic and reasoning is not worth 5 cents.

    Why would any president WANT Americans to believe that they are enslaved by a ruling class of wealthy private citizens??? To maintain power, wouldn’t you think they’d prefer to cover over the true forms of class oppression? You know, the way that Sarah Palin tries to pretend that she’s just a “hockey mom–aw shucks..”

    How do you know that slaves vilified owners? Did you participate in these “vilification sessions?” Well if SP thinks that slaves should have “rightfully” vilified their owners, what is her problem with the president’s actions? What actions, EXACTLY, are “reminiscent” of this said “vilification?” You logic is so twisted, I might use it for a macrame pattern.

    What do you call the actions of Governor Walker who tried to destroy public sector unions in Wisconsin? Is that not class warfare? Remember, SP went there to try to support him – was she not an active agent of oppression?

    Moreover, what is your problem with class warfare? Sarah Palin LOVES warfare.
    She loves polarization, accusation, pointing fingers and putting people in the cross hairs. She loves fighting, revenge and destruction. I doubt that there is a war in the history of this nation that she wouldn’t love. Unfortunately, she is so ignorant of our history, she is unaware of the many past glories that she’d enjoy.

    You have no idea how foolish you sound.


  11. consciousatlast
    Mar 17, 2012 @ 08:53:32

    …and finally, because I cannot ignore the obvious.. Sarah Palin’s husband is part of a corporate prostitution operation. He is a pimp. Sarah Palin wouldn’t know a “man of valor” if she tripped over him while hurling cans across the room.


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