The sheer volume of this list is both ridiculous and telling. Discrediting your political opponent is a time-honored tradition. Sarah Palin when selected was known only to conservative political junkies that had been throwing her name around for months. It was expected and natural for the Obama campaign to look for weaknesses in her as a candidate and to try to exploit them.
That is where the expected and the actual took two very different paths. Typically you'd pick one or two--maybe three--angles of attack and explore them. Between Obama's official comments, media investigations, and internet buzz the attacks didn't stop at three, they didn't stop at thirty. The approach quickly slid from reasonable to atrocious.
It also gives the public impression of being totally immature. It smacks of desperation. "She has no experience!" Oh wait, she does. "Her daughter carried her own sister to term!" Oh wait, she didn't. "She was a horribly corrupt Governor!" Oh wait, she wasn't. "She banned books as a librarian!" Oh wait, she didn't. And on and on and on. Then on and on and on and on again. The one-hundredth accusation you hurl makes it obvious to most that you have an agenda. At times, it makes you appear a raving lunatic.
Martin's article drills this point home with the embarrassing length of the list. I was tempted to quote it all here, but frankly it is too long for that.
- Yes, she is governor of Alaska. No, she’s not the lieutenant governor. No, she’s not currently mayor of Wasilla. Yes, she was mayor of Wasilla, some years ago.
- Yes, as governor of Alaska, she’s the commander in chief of the Alaska National Guard. And yes, her professional military subordinate is quite impressed with her in that role.
- And yes, the New York Times says the job of governor of Alaska is one of the harder, and more powerful, jobs in state government.
- No, the Downs baby (Trig) isn’t Bristol’s kid, and no, the kid wasn’t born with Downs because (a) Palin flew on an airplane (b) went home to have the baby after an amniotic leak (c) because he was the result of incest between Todd Palin and Bristol.
- No, Track (the kid who is leaving for Iraq) didn’t join the NG because he was a drug addict. He may have joined the NG because he was tired of people saying his Mom was getting him into the good hockey leagues. (Yes, that one was original reporting. I’ve got sources in Wasilla.)
- No, Willow and Piper aren’t named for witches on TV. Among other things, Willow was born before Buffy came on TV, and Piper was born before Charmed.
- No she wasn’t a member of the (wild-eyed libertarian) Alaska Independence Party, although her husband once was.
- No, neither the (Canadian) National Post, nor Marc Armbinder at the Atlantic have troubled themselves to issue a correction. Yes, the New York Times did finally correct their story of September 1 — on September 5. And on page 14. This was after Elizabeth Bumiller was quoted by Howard Kurtz as saying she was “completely confident about the story.” Yes, that was after the New York Times’s source retracted the story. Yes, this should embarrass the Times, Bumiller, and Howard Kurtz. No, there have been no signs of embarrassment.
- No, the list of books she wanted to ban that’s being passed around isn’t real; among other things, it includes a number of books published after her time in office there.
- No, that hasn’t actually deterred people from claiming it really is true even if the list isn’t correct. For example: “This list might not in fact reflect the books Sarah Palin wanted banned. As more than one person in Comments has pointed out, some of them were not published when Palin was in office. It is my hope that the mainstream media will not let this story drop and that at some point an actual list will surface. The very thought of having someone who once advocated book-banning possibly occupying one of the highest offices of our land fills me with profound dread. It should fill you with dread too.”
Think carefully about that line of reasoning. Someone creates a fake document with the intention of discrediting someone else. The document is proven to be an obvious fake. Yet, somehow, we are suppose to believe the document is "fake but accurate" and not drop the story. If there is real evidence that supports your point, bring it forward. If you have no evidence, then there is no story. I'm sorry but that is the way the world works. Actually, check that, I'm not sorry. If any idea that pops into anyone's head is taken as truth just because the original thinker knows it has to be true the world would drown in chaos.
The second comment of Martin that deserves specific attention:
So this is the complete list of Palin rumors, at least as it stands about midnight Mountain Time on September 7, 2008. (The link will take you back to the complete and current list on my blog Explorations.) I make a point of the time because the list has been growing by around seven rumors a day; there’s at least one in my queue that I haven’t been able to completely track down yet.Seven rumors a day. We have gone so far past the line of credibility that it is laughable. I'm shocked to see the vitriol continue with such fervor even in the face of strong evidence that the backlash is a major boon to the target of the attacks. If Sarah Palin becomes the next Vice President of the United States she has in great part the unhinged response of her opponents to thank.