From “Death Panels” to “Don’t Retreat… Reload!”: The rise and fall of Sarah Palin?

Beyond the unsettling image of aging Republican men fantasizing about a ‘romantic hunting trip’ with Sarah Palin, I’ve never understood her appeal. The same right-wingers who claim that Barack Obama doesn’t have the experience to lead often tout Palin as the future of the Republican Party, yet she left the governor’s office before her term was up instead of adding to what little experience she actually has. Then we have her ‘folksy charm’ and her misleading and inaccurate attacks on fictional “death panels” during the health care debates, to name just a few of my issues with her, and now this indefensible, idiotic stance on Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s decision to retire in the aftermath of self-created controversy. Where Palin enjoyed quite a bit of right-wing support after popularizing the term “death panels,” her latest battle cry of “Don’t Retreat… Reload!” may have the exact opposite affect on her political career.

How can anyone — let alone a prominent Republican figure — think that defending Dr. Laura in the wake of her ignorant comments is a good idea? And why is Palin even defending Dr. Laura? The radio host was not fired, she made the decision to step down, so Palin’s bizarre need to make this a Constitutional matter (“watch out Constitutional obstructionists”) is not only unnecessary, but demonstrates how little Palin grasps about what is actually going on. Even if we step into whatever fantasy world that Sarah Palin inhabits and also believe that Dr. Laura was forced off the radio for being a foul, virulent creature — sorry, a Real American — why is Palin using freedom of speech to defend someone who made such a horrid gaffe? If Dr. Laura was fired for attacking “liberal elites” or being overly critical of President Obama, I would understand Palin’s stance. But this isn’t what happened — in fact, it’s not even close.

Dr. Laura’s comments demonstrate how far this country has to go with regards to race relations. In his piece “Passive Aggressive Racism,” digby aptly writes: “It turns out that 200 years of racism in this country didn’t just disappear in one generation after all — it adapted.” While there is room to argue that Dr. Laura may not have displayed, to borrow again from digby’s piece, “overt bigotry,” it’s difficult to mount any worthwhile defense of Dr. Laura’s words or attitude. As a white person, I will never know how it feels to be referred to by demeaning racist monikers or to have them thrown around by someone of another race as carelessly as Dr. Laura did, nor would I ever pretend to. Dr. Laura’s claim that her caller is being “hypersensitive” about such a disgusting word is shocking, to say the least, a sentiment that doesn’t even come close to describing the heart of Dr. Laura’s closing argument: “If you’re that hypersensitive about color and don’t have a sense of humor, don’t marry out of your race.”

Why Palin thinks Dr. Laura should “reload” is beyond me, but it may well be her closing catchphrase. She has already proven to a number of black Republicans that she is “no longer fit to lead,” prompting another to say that Palin “doesn’t speak for us.” While I have no desire to see the bumbling Michael Steele recover some of his wasted political currency in the aftermath of Palin’s tweets, there does need to be a reaction not only from black Republicans, but the entire party.

Unsurprisingly, Al Sharpton has fired back. I may not be the biggest fan of the Reverend, but there is little to argue with in his words: “I think it’s interesting and revealing that at a moment when Dr. Laura Schlessinger has resigned after using the n-word, Sarah Palin would take it upon herself to tell her to ‘reload.’ Reload what? The n-word? Reload talking about blacks only voted for President Obama because he was black? Reload inferences against interracial marriage? What is Palin telling her to reload?”

I’m curious myself, Al. Drop us a line if you ever find out, okay?

3 Responses to “From “Death Panels” to “Don’t Retreat… Reload!”: The rise and fall of Sarah Palin?”
  1. b.crusherman says:

    Is this about Palin or Dr. Laura? Sarah is supporting Dr Laura and does not want her to quit…. ok? It is sad how you on the Left can support racism in your own party, but when comes to anyone a bit to the right your gloves come off. How about Joe…”I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man.” or “You cannot go to a 7-11 or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent…. I’m not joking.” Let’s see who said this….”light-skinned” African-American with “no Negro dialect”? Look, Dr. Laura should not have said what she said. She could have very easily worked around the “n” word and got her point across. Race baiting by the left is an everyday occurence…..Polosi marched the members of the Black Caucas out through the Tea Party protesters trying (unsucessfully) to get a racist response from them. Bill Clinton lauded Harry Byrd (KKK leader in the 40’s) ….. how many times did the Liberial icon use the “n” word? Al Sharpton stirred up enough race hate against Jews (Crown Hights riots) that an innocent Jewish man was murdered in a riot Al helped instigate! Sarah Palin was hardly even known two years ago. Sarah Palin is nothing less than an American success story. That is why Liberials FEAR her. (What ….. a commoner in our midst!?) That is why Liberials constantly attack her. The big question you may want to consider is When will Liberials clean up their own garbage…. because the swamp certainly has not been drained and us common folk see the Lefts Hypocisy.

    • larsgarvey says:

      What Sarah Palin should have done, if all she wanted to do was to support Dr. Laura and encourage her not step down, was to say something along the lines of, “Dr. Laura may not have exercised the greatest judgement recently when talking with an African-American caller, but this one instance shouldn’t besmirch her entire radio career.” If she then went on to, as you have done in your reply, point out that there is some “garbage” to be cleaned up on the Left, fair enough. The problem is that Palin took her stance on the mistake, not on Dr. Laura’s entire career. Palin should know that she has quite a bit of sway with the Right — almost every time she does anything, even supporting a relatively minor politician on her Facebook page, it makes the news. Her presence is felt, her words are read and repeated in newspapers, blogs, and on television, and I have little doubt she is aware of this. It is actually because of her popularity and prominence that I am puzzled by her stance: defending a woman who made, at best, racially insensitive comments by bringing in the Constitution, especially when Palin has to know that these tweets are going to be read by both allies and enemies, and, most likely, make the evening news. Why put yourself in the position, especially when your name is being tossed around as a possible opponent to Obama in 2012?

      There are race issues on the Left, but quite a few of us are just as disgusted by racism on the Left as we by racism on the Right. If I stumble across something a disgusting as Dr. Laura’s comments to her caller, or something as curious as Palin’s support of this person, it will find its way onto this blog, or at least into conversation.

      The reason this post was written was not because of Dr. Laura’s loaded comments, but because of Sarah Palin’s reaction to Dr. Laura’s decision to step down. I am just curious what it is exactly that Palin wants Dr. Laura to “reload,” why Palin believes that this is a Constitutional issue, and, most importantly, why Palin involved herself in the whole mess to begin with. While I may not be the world’s biggest fan of Mrs. Palin, she seemed to know exactly what she was doing — “death panels,” while a completely fictional concept, was a powerful rallying cry from the Right, and she was right there riding that wave. I may find her misleading remarks unpleasant, but that political move was quite smart. Her decision to involve herself to this level in the Dr. Laura debacle is, well, not that smart. She has alienated black Republicans, attached her own name to headlines that should be reserved for Dr. Laura’s language alone, and has quite a few people — myself included — scratching their heads and wondering what Palin thought was going to happen when she decided to involve herself.

  2. b.crusherman says:

    I won’t argue with that…. I think you are right. Wait….ahhh correct.

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