Public Comment

Sarah Palin is Merely a Distraction

By John Koenigshofer
Thursday September 11, 2008 - 09:52:00 AM

Becky O’Malley’s editorial “Sarah Palin Fails Her Most Important Job” is unfortunate and misguided. 

O’Malley suggests “If the Palins … really want to support these pregnant children, they would put their own professional ambitions on hold…” Criticism of Palin’s family life and the number of children she has is at best a distraction—at worst, the grounds the GOP needs to claim sexism and double standards to generate sympathy for her. 

The fact that O’Malley wrote her article shows Palin is succeeding at her “most important (political) job,” deflecting media and the public from the substantive issues at hand. 

The important thing to know (and repeat) about Palin is this, while she espouses small government she is the Governor of a state that receives more federal aid, grants and funds per capita than any other in the union. While she claims to be a “reformer” and parades her rejection of “the bridge to nowhere” she accepts the funds in question adding them to Alaska’s federally bloated treasury. 

For every $1 an Alaskan pays in federal taxes the feds send back a $1.84. Quite a deal. Alaska is a welfare state! 

In the same way the left wasted words making fun of George Bush they now spin their wheels around Palin. But she and McCain are profoundly vulnerable when it comes to substance and their rhetoric is transparent on second inspection. 

Rather than taking the bait the left should take a deep breath, then hit Palin and McCain’s with their own words. Though their speeches are well-crafted (and Palin’s well-delivered) they are riddled with lies and self-contradictions. 

The Republicans are promoting two big themes, “Security” (including “victory” in Iraq) and “fighting Big Government.” The Democrats must claim these themes as their own. 

In her acceptance speech Palin establishes several false choices. In one case between security and due process remarking “Al Qaeda terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America ...(while Obama) worries that someone won’t read them their rights?”  

The left must call this anti-American, an affront to the constitution and an insult to the soldiers who gave their lives defending our freedoms. Translate Palin’s mockery of due process into McCain and Palin’s support for Big Government stepping on personal rights. Then suggest, “Next they will want you to give up your guns!” 

Obama believes in the constitution and keeping the government in check. He believes each person must be protected from the powers of big government. This should be the Democrat’s litany. 

The McCain-Palin campaign claims we are near “victory” in Iraq. Staying on message they whip up nationalistic fervor. The left must interrupt the cheers and chants by asking: What victory? What did we gain? What did 4000 Americans die for? What did we get for our 900 billion dollar investment? 

The GOP works hard to distract America from the context of the Iraq war. The public must be reminded, “Republican lies took us to war in Iraq and away from the war on terror.” 

Likewise the McCain campaign tells his compelling P.O.W. story in a void. Again, the public must be reminded that nothing was gained in Vietnam. There was no “victory” only the senseless deaths of 55,000 Americans and millions of Vietnamese. 

The Republican Party is the party of reckless and pointless wars and wasteful spending. They are the party that advocates Big Government and the destruction of personal rights. 

We cannot allow Palin’s simplistic and incendiary rhetoric, or headline-grabbing family distract us. Working class, Middle America must understand it is in their interest to elect Obama. Reminders of the so-called elite picking on families just like theirs will only alienate them and advance the McCain-Palin agenda. 


John Koenigshofer is a Berkeley resident.