Saturday, June 11, 2011
Over the past three years, I've heard a whole lot of outright nonsense about Governor Palin. I've heard quite a bit of creative spin as well, but nothing quite as creative as what I discovered today.
Haters are a bit confused at what they've found while dissecting Governor Palin's emails. Or are they confused at what they haven't found? So happy were they at the thought of finally being able to see the emails she sent while functioning in her official duty as governor of Alaska. So sure were they that they finally had what was needed to remove her once and for all from public discourse. But now how disappointed are they that what they've read only serves to prove that she was, in fact, the hardworking, skilled governor her supporters knew her to be all along, which I had already highlighted in my exclusive interview with former Palin staffer, Tara Jollie, a few weeks ago.
So what now? Well, honorable, ethical, truth-loving people would acknowledge the error of their ways, repent, and find another hobby, since the commitment to destroying Governor Palin isn't turning out to be a profitable one. Instead, some have opted to introduce a new kind of spin.
Take Molly Ball at Politico, for example. Since the emails she's read aren't yielding anything incriminating about the Governor, since they are, instead, actually proving that she was focused, substantive, and even thoughtful, Molly has decided to move in a different direction. Now she's running with the idea that Governor Palin was a wonderful public servant back in the day, you know, during the time of these emails, but now she's something different altogether. Okay, now I'm really confused. I thought the emails were supposed to prove that she was unethical, incompetent--or both--at the time she wrote them, substantiating their claims that she is still those horrible things today. But now they're supposed to prove that she's changed into something completely different? The wheels on the bus go round and round, yet even they don't spin as much as this new narrative.
Once, there was a different Sarah Palin.
She was hands-on and averse to partisan politics. She championed openness in government and had normal relations with the media. She was a little starstruck by her interactions with national politicians but unafraid to do battle with the chief executives of the world’s largest oil companies.
The emails from her governorship, released Friday, brought back the memory of a long-lost Palin: the popular, charismatic, competent woman of the people.
This was the vice presidential candidate John McCain’s team thought they were getting, before her darker tendencies — defensiveness, thin skin, grudge-keeping — hardened into tics. Together with the newly released, pro-Palin documentary “The Undefeated,” which focuses on her rise to the spotlight, the emails are reminders of a sympathetic figure who was not yet the brittle, divisive caricature Palin has become.
If Molly Ball, along with her anti-Palin colleagues, were so wrong in their judgment of the person Governor Palin was prior to being tapped in 2008, why would anyone put any stock in what she has to say now? Prior to the release of the emails yesterday, she would have told us that they would reveal an evil ultra-partisan Palin, the person the media have made her out to be. Since she can no longer deny that that person didn't exist then, she has resorted to trying to make us believe that she is that evil person now. Molly hasn't considered something, though. We are even less inclined to have faith in her gift of discernment today than we were yesterday before the witch hunt began.
If critics were hoping to see Palin revealed as a hypocrite, they’re out of luck. Her private statements are in line with her public ones when it comes to issues like Troopergate, the ethics scandal in which she was accused of abusing her authority to punish her sister’s ex-husband. Her emails on the matter fulminate against what she insists are false accusations, maintaining the same consistent defense — that Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan was fired for performance, not personal, reasons.
Palin comes across as neither an airhead nor a prima donna. She is warm and supportive with her staff, who are loyal to her in turn. She frequently misspells in haste or phonetically (“nonsensicle” for “nonsensical”), but her writing is fluent and grammatical.
Nor is she a figurehead. She is active in guiding policy, a self-assured politician who knows where she stands. When she feels she’s been left out of the loop on responding to a disaster, she’s adamant — “someone from Homeland Security/Emergency Management needs to call me and inform me on things like this … I insist on being informed during any situation where the public would feel any person could be in danger.”
So Governor Palin was forthright, involved, and loyal, but occasionally misspelled a word in an email. If that's a crime, lock us all up now. I appreciate Ms. Ball's willingness to point out that the candid emails give us a good picture of what an amazing governor Palin was, but I'm disappointed that she couldn't go farther than that in her admission. I'm disappointed that she found it necessary to spin her findings into saying that those were just the good old days. I'm disappointed, yes, but I'm certainly not surprised. After the media's mischaracterization of the former governor, Ball now wants us to believe the media's current assessment of her. Now she wants us to believe that the Palin in the emails is not the Palin of today. If that were true, then why did they look at the emails in the first place? Wasn't their expectation that they would dig up dirt that would give us a look into who she really is?
The article approaches its close with this:
But the email archive, which ends in September 2008, shows Palin before she became so polarizing. It reflects a period before she gave up governing to become a freelance sharp-tongued partisan, before she accused her critics of “blood libel.”
The Palin in the emails is the grass-roots pol whose home-state approval rating was in the high 80s, whose email filled with emotional tributes from the parents of children with Down syndrome, who was glad to provide a reference for a staffer’s apartment lease.
Perhaps what Molly Ball hasn't considered--or is choosing to ignore in favor of her new spin--is that the emails don't show someone who "gave up governing" because the true partisan piranhas hadn't yet conspired to bankrupt her state and her family and tie up her staff with frivolous ethics complaints. Perhaps she hasn't considered that the emails don't show a person who has "accused her critics of 'blood libel'" because the media and company hadn't yet launched their all-out campaign to destroy her, despicably delighting in what they saw as an opportunity to accuse her of murder, then expected her to say nothing. Perhaps she hasn't considered that the person who wrote those emails has not stopped showing support for parents of children with Down syndrome, but continues to be a voice for those with special needs. As for being polarizing, I've dealt with this so many times that all I'll say to that is this: "polarizing" is the word people use when they want someone to sit down and shut up, which is simply not going to happen. Governor Palin is galvanizing, yes. Deal with it.
Molly Ball has an obligation to report truth. She's halfway there, acknowledging that Governor Palin was what her record depicts: hardworking, intelligent, and deeply engaged in her job as governor of Alaska. However, the Politico writer could go all the way by laying aside the silly little spin that the author of the emails is a long-lost person who no longer exists. We see the handwriting on the wall, and so does Molly. I'd love to see her make this right. Just maybe her colleagues would follow suit. The ball is definitely in her court.