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Sarah versus Rahm

February 4, 2010

Palin can claim to be outraged and in some ways she is right, but I can not help but wonder why she chooses NOW to highlight something that happened SIX months ago?

Now let me make this very clear from the outset as I know that there will some who will try to twist this – Rahm Emmanuel’s use of the word “retard” was uncalled for – it’s playground name calling and therefore childish.

That being said….

On Monday Palin “posted” a Facebook “blog” about her thoughts on comments Rahm Emanuel, President Obama’s Chief of Staff.

“The Obama Administration’s Chief of Staff scolded participants, calling them, “F—ing retarded,” according to several participants, as reported in the Wall Street Journal.”

Referring to a weekly strategy session, the comment came as some collegues, and according to the Wall Street Journal, were “planning to air ads attacking conservative Democrats who were balking at Mr. Obama’s health-care overhaul.”

It should be noted that this happened in August 2009. Now I for one can not stand by and condone Rahm’s choice of words. As I stated at the beginning of this blog, they were childish remarks to make and not befitting of anyone, however as I have just stated this happened in August 2009 and yet only now Palin is addressing this.

Lets look closer at her blog.

Citing a “patriot in North Andover, Massachusetts”, Palin immediatley absolves herself as the one calling this up and instead attributes her recent blog to furthering this information given to her by the aforementioned but unnamed patriot:

I join this gentleman, who is the father of a beautiful child born with Down Syndrome, in asking why the Special Olympics, National Down Syndrome Society and other groups condemning Rahm’s degrading scolding have been completely ignored by the White House. No comment from his boss, the president?

Her next point is to immediately absolve Rahm of the comment by laying the blame squarely at the feet of President Obama. Now don’t get me wrong, Obama has a responsibility to make sure that the staff under him do nothing that is detrimental to the office nor to piss off the people, but to me this is politicizing – by all means, even 6 months later, ask Rahm to apologize, but by bringing in Obama, this takes things a step further, and by mentioning that the “patriot” is also a special needs parent, personalizes, and shows that Sarah empathizes as only she can.

Now don’t get me wrong, as much as I may cynical about this unnamed patriot, and as much as I may question her bringing her children into politics, but damned anyone that calls her on it (I’m damned darnnit!), this is just window addressing. The point is six months after the event Sarah suddenly pulls this old story into the frame and for what reasons?

Well lets take a look at the first part of her facebook post:

The newly-released mind-boggling, record-smashing $3,400,000,000,000 federal budget invites plenty of opportunity to debate the merits of incurring more and more debt that will drown the next generation of Americans. Never has it been possible to spend your way out of debt. So… let the debate begin.

Included in the debate process will be opportunities for our president to deliberate internally the wisdom of this debt explosion, along with other economic, military and social issues facing our country. Our president will discuss these important issues with Democrat leaders and those within his inner circle. I would ask the president to show decency in this process by eliminating one member of that inner circle, Mr. Rahm Emanuel, and not allow Rahm’s continued indecent tactics to cloud efforts. Yes, Rahm is known for his caustic, crude references about those with whom he disagrees, but his recent tirade against participants in a strategy session was such a strong slap in many American faces that our president is doing himself a disservice by seeming to condone Rahm’s recent sick and offensive tactic.

Excuse me if I stutter. Palin goes from speaking about the deficit whilst neglecting to mention how and why the deficit started to using this as an opportunity to demand that the President “eliminate” Rahm Emanuel.

Opportunistic? I would think so. Why now? Pure politics? Possibly! Her facebook post which points out her false (imo) outrage, is very clear for anyone to see. By personalizing the comments as if they were a direct attack upon her son Trig, whom has Down’s Syndrome, she is able to make people believe that she has been affected personally and so she is right to step into the debate.

At the same time whilst exhibiting outrage Palin, as often happens when the Right attacks, fails to look at the fact that there are those on her side of the fence that are not at all innocent, yet Palin has been quiet about them. Further evidence that this is purely a political stunt, helped by the Wall Street Journal – conveniently owned by her new puppet masters News International.

Take for example my personal favorite, the right wing controversial talk radio attack dog Rush Limbaugh.

“So now there’s going to be a meeting. There’s going to be a retard summit at the White House, much like the beer summit between Obama and Gates and that cop in Cambridge.”

Now sure, one could say that Rush was merely using the word in the context he feels Emanuel used it. But he went on to say the word FOUR TIMES. And lets not forget Palin in her Facebook post admonished anyone who uses the word saying “Just as we’d be appalled if any public figure of Rahm’s stature ever used the “N-word” or other such inappropriate language, Rahm’s slur on all God’s children with cognitive and developmental disabilities – and the people who love them – is unacceptable, and it’s heartbreaking.”

I guess that does not apply to Rush though. The USNews had an interesting take on this also. Looking at Rush’s rant in full, where he stated “Our political correct society is acting like some giant insult’s taken place by calling a bunch of people who are retards, retards”. USNews asks:

So will Palin now turn on Limbaugh? He implicitly took a shot at her–the hubbub doesn’t stem from “our political correct society,” but from one high profile former Alaska governor. Of course various GOPers from Michael Steele on down have criticized Limbaugh only to have to walk back their comments and pay homage before the golden microphone. But if anyone has the standing to take on Rush it’s the Sarahcuda. Maybe the sporadic feminist can also have words with the radio announcer regarding his comment that he loves “the women’s movement–especially when walking behind it.”

Rightly USNews points out the hypocrisy of Palin’s comments, and calls her out to see if her outrage is genuine or as I have pointed out, being used as a politicized rhetoric to score points against opponents.

It should be noted that the WSJ article was written on January 26th to little fanfare – maybe this is why Palin was brought in. Her Facebook posts have become such intrigue that they are widely reported on as if they were news pieces themselves. Nothing noted before and then when Palin comes along, media explosion.

Now understand why I say this is being politicized?!

The LATimes have also wadded in asking if this is really a “slur”. In an op-ed posted in the 3rd Feb, the LAT rightly admonish Rahm for his “schoolyard taunt”, and are correct to point out that Emanuel should apologize (which he has) but they ask:

Politically speaking, Emanuel should have done so, even if he wasn’t referring to retarded people, let alone retarded children, and even though he was spouting off in a closed-door meeting. But is “retarded” a hateful word? “Retard,” yes, whether that schoolyard taunt is inflicted on a literally retarded child or a child with normal intelligence. But “retarded,” which began life as a polite euphemism for “slow-witted” or “feebleminded,” isn’t usually thought of as a hateful epithet.

And I agree. The word is not right but as the LAT’s states “society determines what words mean, and whether they are insulting” and Palin has not only decided the word is offensive to her and her “patriot” friend but one that needs to be politicized ending with the “eliminating” him from the President’s “inner circle”.

Emanuel is no saint that is the truth, and has been seen embattled in his position as Chief of Staff, but since the recent Mass. election, Republicans have become emboldened in demands. Their right wing media outlets, such as Fox and WSJ, have stepped up their attacks, seeing victory from their own part played in Scott Brown’s win. it must have hurt when the media, or “Libural Media” as is oft accused, initially ignored the WSJ’s article. But no one ignores Palin right?

Palin is helped by a certain amount of intrigue and curiosity, but lets not forget that Palin is a quitter, a former Governor who now uses Facebook and her newly appointed role as analyst on Fox to wade into the political debate.

And Palin herself has experienced a certain amount of flack for her continued support of the first National Tea Party Convention to which she is being paid a reported $100,000 even though many factions of the so called “grassroots” movement have registered their disgust at the greed.

My point being, Palin can claim to be outraged and although in some ways that may be true, I can not help but see this as point scoring and so view this as cynically as I can. Rightly Rahm Emanuel has apologized and better be damn sure to watch how he conducts himself in future, but lets not forget, despite the hand wringing from the right, they are no saint’s themselves. Michael Steele, John McCain, Rush Limbaugh, and many others have dropped their own faux pas lately and yet for some reason, it’s okay if they do.

For instance when Harry Reid was called up on his use of the word “negro” no one from the right saw the context, but only the word because they saw the word as ammunition. Reid was wrong to use the word but the context it was used in is far from what it was made into by the self righteous right wing.

Can the same be said when Michael Steele used the word “injun” or when Limbaugh said “Have you ever noticed how all composite pictures of wanted criminals resemble Jesse Jackson?”

Where is Palin, the quitting Governor, now private citizen, in her outrage? Oh right, they are on her side, it doesn’t count to score points against them!

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