I may catch some flak for this, but I’m prepared.
While I very much like Sarah Palin, and what she represents, I do believe she made a serious error when answering a question concerning the issue of Barack Obama’s birth certificate.
Rusty Humphries: Would you make the birth certificate an issue if you ran?
Sarah Palin: I think the public, rightfully, is still making it an issue. I don’t have a problem with that. I don’t know if I would have to bother to make it an issue ’cause I think there are enough members of the electorate who still want answers.
Rusty Humphries: Do you think it’s a fair question to be looking at?
Sarah Palin: I think it’s a fair question, just like I think past associations and past voting record — all of that is fair game. You know, I’ve got to tell you, too: I think our campaign, the McCain/Palin campaign didn’t do a good enough job in that area. We didn’t call out Obama and some of his associates on their records and what their beliefs were and perhaps what their future plans were. And I don’t think that that was fair to voters to not have done our jobs as candidates and as a campaign to bring to light a lot of the things that now we’re seeing made manifest in the administration.
Rusty Humphries: I mean, truly, if your past is fair game and your kids are fair game, certainly Obama’s past should be. I mean, we want to treat men and women equally, right?
Sarah Palin: Hey, you know, that’s a great point, in that weird conspiracy-theory freaky thing that people talk about that Trig isn’t my real son. And a lot of people say, “Well you need to produce his birth certificate! You need to prove that he’s your kid!” Which we have done. But yeah, so maybe we could reverse that and use the same [unintelligible]-type thinking on them.
I believe Sarah Palin made a serious mistake by excusing the paranoid conspiracy mindset that dominates the fringes of both parties. Truthers, birthers and baby trig conspiracy believers (see the deranged scum sucking troll Andrew Sullivan) deserve nothing but disdain and marginalization from serious individuals. Individuals who buy into these conspiracy theories should never be legitimized in my opinion. They are no different than ufologists and bigfoot chasers. Such ridiculous individuals should not be described as legitimate by a serious potential leader.
Sarah had options when it came to responding to such a question. She could have said that engaging in such reckless speculation, which is devoid of relevance and substance, should not be entertained when this country faces such serious challenges. She easily could have pivoted and discussed the bias in the mainstream media that was eager to entertain conspiracy theories regarding her, but hesitant to publicize those involving Barack Obama. By saying that “I think the public, rightfully, is still making [Barack Obama’s Birth Certificate] an issue,” Sarah Palin said that the public is also right to make the birth of her son an issue. I’m sorry, but I disagree. The paranoid twits who made the birth of her son an issue are insane and should be ashamed of themselves for perpetuating such clearly spurious allegations.
I’m not naive as to the nature of politics and I don’t expect Sarah Palin to be either. Opposition research and mudslinging are a part of major campaigns, but most candidates know to treat it as an unfortunate reality rather than embrace and legitimize it. I like that Sarah Palin speaks her mind and I agree with her in regards to investigating Obama’s past associations and radical views, but birth certificates and amniotic fluid cross the line of what should be considered off limits.
Some will say Barack Obama’s birth is a legitimate question, but they, like Sarah Palin, should know that, even if the birth certificate issue was legitimate, getting him removed from office for that reason would make him a victim in the eyes of many. It would be portrayed as undoing the election based on a technicality. There would be rioting in the streets and likely calls for a constitutional convention. The way to beat Barack Obama is at the ballot box and Palin should know that. By not dismissing the birth certificate issue as a non-issue and a mistake, she has made a major error. Obama’s past associations are one thing, but you can’t make him the bad guy because of something his parents did. You’d have to prove that Obama wasn’t born here and knew that while running for office, in order for him to even begin to look like the bad guy.
I like Sarah Palin. I’ve defended her when she has been wrongfully attacked, but I believe she made a serious mistake in this instance. I hope I’m wrong and this does not come back to haunt her, but I fear it will. I’ve criticized others for taking pleasure in attacking Palin, but there are times when we must soberly criticize our own. Newt Gingrich was wrong to back Dede Scozzafava over Doug Hoffman and Sarah Palin was wrong to excuse those who deal in destructive conspiracy theories. Acknowledging that they were wrong does not mean I won’t support them, but it does mean that I hope they learn from the experience. I fear that if we, the people, never correct those who would lead us, we run the risk of raising up politicians that are ill prepared to do so.
Cross-Posted at Feed Your ADHD