Palin lacks faith in democracy and quits when going gets tough…

Sarah Palin claims she is quitting her governorship of Alaska in part because she wants to effect change by working outside of government. I’m not exactly sure what that is supposed to mean. In this nation public policy is supposed to be made by the democratically (small d) elected government.

There is such a thing as lobbying – private interests who work to influence government. So maybe that is what she means.

Apparently she would rather help pressure government to do things from the outside, hoping to avoid public scrutiny – raise money, work behind the scenes, whip up the base with demogoguery by spouting off narrow-minded hot button issues that appeal more to emotion than rational public policy or accuse anyone who does not agree with her message of lacking patriotism. She could drum up money with her fanatical appeal to further her policy aims — whatever they might be — or to buy fancy clothes for herself and her family as she did with Republican Party funds when she ran with John McCain. Last I heard SarahPac or whatever it is called was still accepting donations.

Maybe she just means she is going to work on behalf of other candidates, but those candidates would be working directly in government.

And maybe she thinks there ought to be some power out there beyond government because she does not agree with the majority of voters at this time.

She claims to have been mistreated by the press. Well join the ranks of all those in public life. That is the ugly price that is paid for freedom of speech. We can’t just arrest people who may say things we don’t like, such as might be done in Iran. And it is true that freedom of the press, guaranteed in the First (the very first mind you) Amendment to the Constitution carries with it the annoying aspect of sometimes protecting those who distort the truth or tell outright lies (including Sarah Palin). Unfortunately, it’s the only way to guarantee an actual free press (and press these days means all types of public dissemination of thoughts and information – there are fewer and fewer newspapers).

Palin through a lawyer has reportedly threatened a blogger with a lawsuit over defamation of character. I think even Palin is aware of the First Amendment but thinks anything unfavorable to her is not covered.

Thanks to a Supreme Court decision called New York Times vs. Sullivan (1964), public figures have a higher standard to meet when trying to prove defamation and libel. It could be done if it is shown a person acted with reckless disregard for the truth and actual malice. But in the blogger’s case, as I understand it, it involved repeating a rumor or rumors that have been circulating about Palin for years, something about awarding construction contracts and personally benefitting when she was Mayor of Wasilla, Alaska. True? Have no idea. Rumors can be a troubling thing and are often unfair. But if in public life rumors were illegal we’d never find out anything and real corruption would never be investigated. Word from rumors is often how investigations get started and/or how those in power are forced to look into things.

What Palin must be trying to do is intimidate opponents or anyone who might hold her up to public scrutiny. As evidenced by her VP campaign, her mode is to be able to say a lot of things but be questioned very little (and no wonder, have you ever heard her respond to questions?).

Palin also made a weird comment about quitting the governorship (half way through her term) because she did not want to waste the taxpayers’ money by being a lame duck. If she ran again, she would not be a lame duck. And does she mean that anyone who is voted into office should simply quit at the point he or she may not get his or her way? And does she not have an obligation to those who voted for her? I’m not understanding all of this.

(Add 1: An Anchorage Daily News editorial lauded Palin’s accomplishments as governor but said her explanation about not wanting to be a lame duck was “more lame than duck”.)

And I personally detest the political strategy that allows candidates (or potential candidates) to make a lot of noise, make accusations, distort the truth, but then allows them to hide from questions under the guise that questioners are only trying to discredit them – that is sometimes true, but what other way is there? Have FOX news lob leading softball questions to you? Or for that matter have CNN ask leading softball questions? No if you run for political office you should be able to stand up to penetrating questions from all and let the public at large judge. The public is smarter than you think Sarah. Is that what you are afraid of?

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