Giffords Tucson Shooting

Palin's Not Complicit in Loughner Shooting, but She Sure Ain't Presidential, Either.


Former Alaska Gov. and Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin has posted the text and video of her statement regarding the Arizona massacre on her Facebook page.

The smears against Palin started almost immediately after news of the shooting spree by Jared Loughner hit the web, with folks such as Markos Moulitsas of The Daily Kos tweeting, "Mission accomplished, Sarah Palin" in a truly objectionable bid to spin a heinous act to the basest of partisan advantages. From there, the commentary went downhill.

It is strange that we need to keep mentioning that there's zero connection between Palin, her infamous "target" map, and the alleged shooter Loughner. Or that even if there were, it makes no sense to posit a causal connection between banal, ubiquitous political metaphors ("targeting" opponents, "killing" legislation, etc.) and the act of a madman. What is it about the U.S. that we constantly invoke the cliche that hard cases make bad law and then sprint to make policy in the wake of sui generis calamities? It's a bad impulse whose results can be experienced every time we board a plane.

Having said all that, if Sarah Palin is interested in becoming president someday, or even returning for a second season of reality TV, her response to patently stupid and offensive accusations hasn't exactly been Churchillian, either. She pulled her target map, had spokespeople say it didn't have targets on it in the first place, and then released a pretty lame audio clip via Glenn Beck's radio show. Her Facebook reply isn't going to win her any friends among the growing ranks of independents, either:

Our exceptional nation, so vibrant with ideas and the passionate exchange and debate of ideas, is a light to the rest of the world. Congresswoman Giffords and her constituents were exercising their right to exchange ideas that day, to celebrate our Republic's core values and peacefully assemble to petition our government. It's inexcusable and incomprehensible why a single evil man took the lives of peaceful citizens that day…

There are those who claim political rhetoric is to blame for the despicable act of this deranged, apparently apolitical criminal. And they claim political debate has somehow gotten more heated just recently. But when was it less heated? Back in those "calm days" when political figures literally settled their differences with dueling pistols? In an ideal world all discourse would be civil and all disagreements cordial. But our Founding Fathers knew they weren't designing a system for perfect men and women. If men and women were angels, there would be no need for government. Our Founders' genius was to design a system that helped settle the inevitable conflicts caused by our imperfect passions in civil ways. So, we must condemn violence if our Republic is to endure….

We will come out of this stronger and more united in our desire to peacefully engage in the great debates of our time, to respectfully embrace our differences in a positive manner, and to unite in the knowledge that, though our ideas may be different, we must all strive for a better future for our country. May God bless America.

Whole thing here.

Coming days after the event and then shrouded in what literary critic Walter Gibson once identified as the "stuffy," official language of bureaucrats and Fourth of July picnic speakers, it is not only curiously dispassionate but vague and legalistic (filled with barely earned conclusions prefaced with "so," "thus," etc.). It is a tapestry of threadbare cliches ("our Founders' genius," "May God bless America,") in search of a news hook, the type of windy oraration that could be dusted off for any event, from a disaster site to a Kiwanis luncheon. And if the style is what captures the reader's attention, it's because there's no substance on which to feed.

One of the things that excited people about Sarah Palin was her apparent authenticity, her down-to-earthiness, her experience of working, living, dreaming, and achieving far from the conventional centers of power in American society. In a political age characterized by the telegenic intimacy of the 24-hour news channel, Palin seemed perfectly in synch with the sort of unmediated access viewers and voters crave. And only the most insulated chumps in the opinionating business (read: most of them) were put off by her insistence that when she graduated college she got a job, not a passport and a backpack.

But since her bravura entrance onto the national stage, virtually every interaction she has had with her public has been so tightly stage-managed and scripted that her main selling point has been swathed and suffocated in layers and layers of distance from anything approaching a real-time response to the world she lives in. When she resigned her governorship long before her first term was up, she signaled that she wasn't so interested in being an actual legislator. Fair enough, and who can blame her? But she's now getting to the point where she's signaling that she is incapable of giving even her most sympathetic audience what it wants from her. Which means there's one less interesting character on the public stage and her future, even as an entertainer, is dimmer than it once seemed. on 5 Rules for Coping with Tragedy:

NEXT: Reason Writers on TV: Radley Balko Discusses Police Militarization

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. “It is strange that we need to keep mentioning that there’s zero connection between Palin, her infamous “target” map, and the alleged shooter Loughner”
    >pls explain how u know that. perhaps ur jumping to conclusions also.

    1. How do you know unicorns DON’T exist???


      1. because they dont dumas

        1. What does the Count of Monte Cristo have to do with this? Or are you referencing the Three Muskateers?

        2. This troll must be in elementary school.

    2. Re: OhioOrrin,

      “He who asserts must prove.”

      The onus is on the accuser.

      1. my point exactly. nick asserts no connection. i ask how nick knows that. waiting…

        1. The point is YOU are asserting a connection. OM is merely asking you to prove it. (As Nick is asking the MSM to prove it)

          1. The proof’s in the pudding? Or is it the poof’s in the pudding? I keep mixing that up.

        2. HURR.


          HURR DURRRR.

    3. Because his obsession with Giffords went back to before the Map of Doom. Again, only if you believe a right-wing mag like Mother Jones.

  2. Why she scares the living granola out of liberals eludes me.

    1. Same here, I think that lefties need a boogyman (as do righties) and with Bush gone Palin fits the bill.

      1. I believe it is because they see her as someone who was unwilling to abort a Down’s Syndrome fetus like they would, so it makes them feel guilty.

        1. Liberals are the true retarded fetuses.

          So many of them need abortions.

    2. she doesnt. progressives want her to run…& inevitably lose.

      1. I don’t think so. They are scared to death she might win. Oh no, I said scared to death didn’t I.

        1. progressives know palin cant win. so does the gop…

          1. Actually, progressives know nothing of the sort. With Obama leading this country to ruin, the housing market slumping to great depression levels, and $5.00 a gallon gas by 2012, Sarah Palin stands an excellent chance of being the sane alternative to Obama’s psychotic policies. It’s just silly to make election predictions this far out of an election.

            1. Housing market slumping and $5.00 a gallon gas? Seems like we were talking about the same thing in 07-08 no? You can heap a great many things on the plate of a sitting president as they have to govern all people not just those who agree with him, however, let’s not obfuscate the debate with problems we’ve faced since before his election.

  3. What a uselessly mushy pile of nothing that is (Palin’s statement, not the article).

    If I were running her response, I would have

    (1) Kept the 2010 map up.
    (2) Started a 2012 map, with the same graphics. The first target would go over the idiot Republican who proposed new gun control.
    (3) Issued a brief statement that no sane person could possibly believe that I had anything to do with the shootings, and that I have every confidence that the pundits and politicians who imply that I did are sowing the wind, and will, in good time, reap the whirlwind.
    (4) Go on about my day.

    1. 5) Claim that the targets are “surveyor’s symbols” and walk away as everyone laughs.

      1. Well, in fairness, they are. They are “targets” in the sense that they are meant to mark a location. They are definitely not reticles (scope “targets”). Since most left wingers are gaping vagoos who are afraid of guns, I can see why they wouldn’t be able to tell.

        1. I know. The left has difficulties with political metaphors and symbols. Except when they themselves utilize them. Then it’s OK. Because they’re the good guys.

        2. Yeah, just look at a scope. Does it have lines extending beyond the viewpiece (as do the symbols on the map)? No, that’s impossible.

          Crosshairs are lines inside a circle (the circle representing the viewpiece), not extending beyond it.

        3. I think those symbols are also used as registration marks for printing. As a long-time shooter/hunter, I can tell you those are not scope reticles. Here are a few real reticles from Leopold:


    2. (6) Deny being in Jets’ Coash Rex Reed’s foot fetish videos, enjoy media’s frantic search for same.

      1. I have a female orifice fetish. I’m learning to accept it.

        1. Don’t worry, Gobbles. You’ll be able to get the operation one day.

    3. Changed my mind. Not enough mockery. I would amend the 2010 map, and issue a new 2012 map, only instead of crosshairs (or whatever), I would use fluffy bunnies, or maybe kittehs.

      1. LOL. “For the children.”

      2. Guillotines. Unless someone actually decapitates a public official, you can still deny responsibility.

      3. That would be funny.

    4. (2) Started a 2012 map, with the same graphics. The first target would go over the idiot Republican who proposed new gun control.
      (3) Issued a brief statement that no sane person could possibly

      With a note on the map, ‘this bill sponsored by an IRA terrorist fund raiser whose work directly caused the deaths of innocent children and who also should reside in the deepest cell in Guantanamo without a trial to be logically consistent with his own advocacy.’

  4. This is probably no more cliche ridden and banal than what Obama will have to say at the “honoring the victims” ceremony.

    I would think Palin is the preferred choice of Democrats to run against Obama. So why do they keep demonizing her – as her approval rating falls, the GOP will be less inclined to nominate her. Go too overboard, however, and she gains sympathy.

    1. The Democrats aren’t that smart, and neither is the GOP. Both parties’ poobahs could fuck up taking a dump.

      1. And there’s a tragedy of the commons issue. Each commentator knows that feeding on the Palin phenomenon brings her closer to the point of being unuseful for the party’s purposes, but they can benefit in the short term and have no guarantee of long term gain from personal self restraint. Of course, there’s no way to resolve this, as Democrats don’t believe in property rights.

  5. This seems as good a place as any to say thanks, Reason, for providing the only sane and level-headed coverage of the shooting. (no sarcasm)

  6. She should have never responded at all. Even responding gives the rediculous idea traction. She should have allowed someone to ask the question and then said “that is the dumbest thing I have ever heard and unworthy of my time or effort in responding to”. And left it at that. The more you talk to more you give people like the NYT the opportunity to run stories about you responding to the charge allowing them to make the charge seem like a reasonable position.

  7. Palin is a lightning rod for the demented fixation of those from whom politics is more important than truth – a group comprised by many political activists.

  8. Why do we have a pre-set definition of “Presidential” for her to not meet?

    Now, I’m not a fan of Palin, but let’s be real: The mould in which we like our Presidents to be cast hasn’t exactly worked out well for the US over the last 70 years, now has it?

    Rather than insisting that Presidential candidates act the way the bums who have gotten our country into such a dire strait act, maybe we should focus on finding someone who is “not very Presidential”?

    What we’re getting right now isn’t working. Time to change up our approach a bit.

    1. Because anyone worthy of the job would never dream of applying for it?

      1. THAT is one of the problems with the job, isn’t it? It’s kinda like suicide bombers (SORRY to use that as an example) … you have to be crazed to do it … and you’re probably not the big boss behind it, either.

    2. Granted that the bar has been lowered considerably since Madison left office, but is it too much to ask that candidates for the most powerful job on Earth are educated in political philosophy and can answer a simple question in anything other than the stalest of platitudes?

      1. Depends on the platitudes. I can think of a lot of people who are very educated in political philosophy who have no business having the authority of a meter maid in a pay toilet let alone President. The whole “educated in political philosophy” is a bunch of billious horseshit. What we need is someone who has an understanding of the mess we are in and the sense and will to do something about it.

        Fuck the professors and the philosophers. It is those assholes who have gotten us into this mess.

        1. How do you figure that? Our modern Presidents have been 1. an actor 2. a bureaucrat 3. a life-time politician 4. a businessman and 5. an adjunct law professor.

          1. Obviously we need more physicists and engineers!

            1. Um, the last engineer we had was Jimmeh Cartair. How did that work out again?

              As as engineer myself, he made me ashamed of my profession!

          2. I can’t think of many Presidents who have been professors and/or philosophers. There’s Wilson who was a college professor/dean. I guess many of the Founding generation were philosophers and they did a pretty good job.

          3. But most of our problems relate to the programs pushed by FDR and LBJ. Both of those administrations were dominated by “the best and the brightest” and were characterized by utopian idealism.

            The last thing we need is more of that. And that is what rule by those “eduated in political philosophy” is likly to give us.

            1. Dude, that was decades ago. And whatever else they were FDR and LBJ were neither professors or philosophers! In the end they were the boss, not any bureaucrats.

            2. And I don’t think our problems can laid at the feet of FDR and LBJ.

              Our public debt took off not in the 1940s and 1960s but the 1980s.


              1. “Our public debt took off not in the 1940s and 1960s but the 1980s.”
                When we had to start paying for the promises.

              2. A. What sevo said.

                B. Let’s not forget that the already severely weakened gold-standard also ended in 1971, and the Fed has been basically running the presses ever since with seemingly no sense of restraint what-so-ever. Inflation since then also skyrockets… Not surprisingly I think, but that’s just because I tend to view inflation as the tool of the government to attempt to mitigate the damage done by their insane spending binges.


                C. What sevo said.

          4. Wait… We’re considering GW Bush a “businessman”?

            I thought the proper term should have been, “trust fund baby”.

  9. So she’s covering her ass. What’s not presidential about that?

  10. I’m a somewhat conservative independent, not buying much of what the Right or Left have to sell, and I’m wondering how this visibly empty-headed person has been trotted out as presidential material in the first place. When it comes to her qualifications for much of anything, I’d have to quote Gertrude Stein and say, “There is no there there.” Out of 300+ million people, I think we’ve got at least 150 million better choices. It’s a sort of “emporer’s new clothes” scenario … isn’t anyone going to say, “the whole idea of this person a president makes no sense!”

    1. See my reply at 11:47

    2. That’s probably exactly what old man Murkowski was thinking before she kicked his establishment ass out of office.

      1. The electorate is fickle …

  11. “because there’s no substance”

    Sarah Palin in a nutshell.

    1. And Obama has substance? Please.

      1. Can’t they both have little substance?

        1. Neither one appears to.

      2. Didn’t say that Obama had much substance, either, although I think he trumps Palin intellectually, whether I agree with him or not.

        I think Palin is more a product of her handlers and her press than anything else.

        1. Me too. I deeply admire how then-candidate Obama battled back against an uncompromisingly hostile media using only his razor-sharp wit, deep understanding of the issues, and absolutely NO teleprompters.

            1. I’d say so! Nicely done, Jeff.

          1. Winner by a mile.

        2. “Didn’t say that Obama had much substance”

          True, but he was a substance abuser.

        3. My take is that Palin was at her worst when she was submitted to handlers during the 2008 campaign, and is at her best when being her genuine self. A formula that I wish always played out with all politicians.

      3. Taxed Enough Already|1.12.11 @ 11:55AM|#
        And Obama has substance? Please.

        I never said that he did.

  12. John McCain needs to be increasingly vilified for unleashing the Palin beast from its cage in Alaska …

    1. Well, it HAS been a couple of weeks since Welch promoted his book.…..amp;sr=8-1

      1. Must…resist…the urge…to sleep…

        1. Thinking is hard.

    2. I doubt McCain knew her from a bag of donuts. Nor did Donderooo put the Palin bug in his ear. Anyone know which bright-eyed aide suggested Palin to McCain?

  13. It is a tapestry of threadbare cliches

    Why should she be any different than any other beltway power-seeker?

  14. The first target would go over the idiot Republican who proposed new gun control.

    But- TEAMS!

  15. I watched part of her video response, threw up a little in my mouth and had to turn it off.

    1. ….and then you opened another bottle of Thunderbird and managed to guzzle your puking back down……you alcohol level wasn’t high enough!

  16. Our exceptional nation, so vibrant with ideas and the passionate exchange and debate of ideas, is a light to the rest of the world

    is this how normal people start sentences? I mean…even politicians? Its so hamhanded as to sound like parody of itself…

    “Before I say anything relevant to the issues of the day, let me just remind everyone: USA! USA! USA! WE KICK ASS! EVERYONE WANTS TO BE US! WE F’N RULE!! WE LIGHT UP THE WORLD WITH OUR GLOWING SPLENDOR!! Ahem… now on to business….”

  17. I don’t know, it seems like the standard, bland, careful fare that gets folks to high office to me…The thing that’s always struck me with Palin is how she is exactly the opposite of a fire-breathing, iconocalstic maverick. She’s deathly afraid of offending her base and often wants to please everyone (re her answr to Couric “all of them”).

    Having said that she has taken a huge amount of stupid, unfair criticism over the “target” map. Nick comments appropriately above on how stupid that has been.

  18. Sarah should be the new letter girl for Wheel Of Fortune. She could wear slinky gowns and activate the letters by shooting a little target above each one.

    1. What? The demon who previously inhabited Dick Clark has taken residence in Vanna White. She’ll never grow old.

  19. What is it about the U.S. that we constantly invoke the cliche that hard cases make bad law and then sprint to make policy in the wake of sui generis calamities?

    This^. Seriously, WTF *is* it? *This* is a dialog “we” should be having. I mean, of course, after we’re finished with the dialog about race. 8-(

  20. See how the ruling class in this country hates Sarah.

    You know, I don’t want a President who thinks s/he’s some kind of genius. Because then they’ll spend all their time thinking of new federal bureaucracies to set up to control our lives, more taxes to steal our money, more regulations to strangle the economy.

    You don’t have to be Einstein to follow the Constitution as President: execute the laws of the land, cut ribbons, and command the military.

    1. See how the ruling class in this country hates Sarah.

      Yeah, I know. She has all the right enemies. It makes it hard for me to write her off completely.

      Although the turgid pap quoted above doesn’t help.

      1. Seriously. She could almost run on “Vote for Palin: The Left Hates Me So I Must Be Decent”

    2. I think it is incomparably silly to base your support for a politician on who hates them (the enemy of my enemy is my friend).

      Besides, I’m not sure “the ruling class” (whoever that is supposed to be) hates Palin. Most elected officials with an R beside their name would fall over themselves to kiss her ring.

      1. The Rs fought some (most?) of her candidates tooth and nail, MNG. I think its fair to say that the establishment Rs hate her guts just as much as the Ds do. She threatens them both equally.

        And why shouldn’t I cut a little slack to somebody who threatens our craptastic political class?

        1. “The Rs fought some (most?) of her candidates tooth and nail, MNG.”

          Is that true? Miller got the backing of the RNC when he beat Murkowski. Many R governors and Senators and such appeared with Palin to endorse the same person. Many have defended her recently.

          I think she’s nestled in the ruling political class actually.

          1. Its because they believe they have to have her support because they do share much of the same base. Doesn’t mean they aren’t still scared of her.

      2. I think it is incomparably silly to base your support for a politician on who hates them (the enemy of my enemy is my friend).

        Not at all.

        Gridlock is our friend and President Palin would guarantee gridlock.

    3. Sorry, I think you do have to be Einstein … and, more importantly, hire some pretty damn good people as your cabinet and staff.

      1. I think it may take an Einstein to keep all the constituencies who want something from creating all that excess bureaucracy. It takes an Einstein of political, social and speaking skills to do a truly good job of it.

      2. “Understanding physics is child’s play compared to understanding child’s play.”

    4. Sweet! I’m ruling class now!

      You know, I don’t want a President who thinks s/he’s some kind of genius.

      IS the corollary there, you want a president whose so bone fucking stupid that it makes you feel Summa Cum Laude by contrast?

      Is it really that elitist to recognize that she’s an incomptent boob who is unqualified to even be doing daytime television? I don’t see anything noble or salt-of-the earth in admiring inarticulate morons.

      1. George Washington was said to have a first class temperment and a second class mind. He seemed to work out pretty well.

        Or you can look at the archetypical myth of the Good King and his Wise Adviser: Arthur, who’s a good guy, and decently smart, and a leader….and Merlin who’s the unspeakably brilliant adviser but could not be a successful King no matter how hard he tried.

        Its how humanity works, dude.

        Or to give it one last try…the brightest president of the last hundred fifty years…Richard Nixon.

  21. Sarah Palin has poisoned the well of civic discourse and she has the chutzpah to claim blood libel? How about the blood of that nine-year old girl Sarah?

      1. Now, Orrin, do you know what A+ and A+ makes? You do?! You’re smiling? I’m so happy, my little butterfly helper!

        Good job! Good job, Orrin!

  22. As time goes by, and our group of presidential contenders all grew up on the internets, we will find the definition of “presidential” to change in ways you old farts don’t want it to change.

    Things will go from the polished and overly managed politician we’ve seen honed to a craft over the past few decades’ offerings to the more “down to earth” individual whose formative years were spent laying everything about herself bare on her social networking page. Your only hope is somewhere between tweets and profile updates, the person manages to develop a critical mind.

    Just wait, some day the presidential portrait will be an overhead, pouty cellphone pic.

    1. This. It’s become a liability these days to have a lot of government experience and seem overly polished. It’s been that way since Carter I think and likely many times before in our history. Kerry and Dole were crucified, not lauded, for their decades of “service” while “outsiders” like W, Reagan and Obama were seen as refreshing.

      1. Kerry and Dole were crucified more for running bland and inept campaigns than for their experience in Washington. Dole managed to make a commercial for credit cards six months after his loss that contained all the charisma and charm that he abjectly failed to display at any point during his candidacy, though he did manage to dive off the stage in a tragically failed attempt at moshing. Kerry started things off with a bang with his “I’m a huge war hero” tack, which rapidly backfired as fellow veterans ripped his war record to pieces and because he apparently forgot that much of the electorate wasn’t alive or was too young to care when Vietnam was ongoing (it had, after all, been thirty years since the conflict ended) and didn’t feel that his adventures halfway around the world were anything to give a damn about. John McCain, similarly, ran a terrible campaign because he ran away from his record as a moderate and jumped headlong into the arms of the conservative base, reversing himself on so many positions that I stopped counting. Despite running one of the worst campaigns in recent memory, one that failed to gain traction against Obama on any major issue, I don’t recall anyone maintaining that McCain’s experience edge in the senate was a liability. Rather, McCain never figuring out how to wash off the label of “Dubya II” was to blame for his loss, as well as the fact that he just doesn’t have the magnetism in front of a teleprompter that President Obama does.

        1. McCain never had much of a chance, whatever he did. Coming out hard against the bank bailout (instead of working to get it done) probably would have given him the best possible chance – but even if he had, I don’t think it would have been enough.

  23. Palin’s Not Complicit in Loughner Shooting, but She Sure Ain’t Presidential, Either.

    Which makes the attacks that more bizzare. If she’s not a threat, then what’s the point? Is the only explanation a peculiar irrationality possessed by Sarah bashers?

    1. She represents “the other side”. Bashing her, demonizing conservatives, and making the right seem scary is a way of solidifying the left base and brining cohesion to the Democratic Party.

    2. I think we can be more fair to folks than that. The Dems, by their own admission, embarked on a truly ambituous program in the past few years. Those kind of big changes prompted a big outcry by a lot of people, and an angry one. The Dems were taken aback by the anger and many worried about that anger translating into politically motivated violence. When a Dem was shot they supposed this dynamic was in play. The shame is that as they found out there is no connection they are not backing off, but hey, “no crisis should be wasted” or whatever the Rahm quote is is how many opinion makers think…

      1. Re: MNG,

        The Dems were taken aback by the anger and many worried about that anger translating into politically motivated violence.

        What does this have to do with “Palin bashing”?

        Also, I do not buy the theory that some Dems were genuinely concern about right-wing violence, especially when they have more thugs at their command (e.g. SEIU thugs, ACORN thugs, AFL-CIO thugs, even the Nouveau Noir Panthers.)

        1. I do not buy the theory that some Dems were genuinely concern about right-wing violence, especially when they have more thugs at their command

          And Noriega wasn’t afraid of getting assasinated? I’m not saying you’re wrong – just that your logic doesn’t work.

          1. Noriega probably isn’t a good example, but go ahead and replace him with any dictator, ever.

          2. “I’m not saying you’re wrong – just that your logic doesn’t work.”

            You have met OM, right?

      2. When a Dem was shot they supposed pretended this dynamic was in play.

  24. Her Facebook reply isn’t going to win her any friends among the growing ranks of independents, either[…]

    Why? It has none of the usual “Let’s kill us some ayr-abs!” screed one would expect from neo-connish Sarah. It is surprisingly more level-headed than usual.

  25. I agree. It is a very measured statement that a politician would make. If she were what her critics think she is and her supporters hope she is, she would have gone after people over it including Republican establishment dirtbags like Peter King.

  26. I don’t blame Palin for the anger that has become the temper of our times. The people who were egging that anger on have been doing it for some time. Palin’s probably more a symptom than a cause. I don’t think there’s any way you can draw a line between Palin and Loughner’s anger … the anger has become almost pervasive. There are others farther upstream who may deserve more condemnation. While I think there’s a place for anger and passion, I think it still has to be framed with civility and respect for democracy to function well.

    1. Can I plug something? I think it’s something for everyone to think about.

    2. It would be crazy to blame the anger on Palin. In some ways she has fallen victim to that anger rather than birthing it. When she was nominated she was known for working across the aisle in a bi-partisan fashion, her real enemies were the GOP establishment in Alaska not Democrats. She went on the attack against Obama and liberals went on the attack against her and they’ve actually got what they feared…

    3. The real anger is the anger that the Democrats have for their fellow Americans who rejected their big government schemes in no uncertain terms in November.

      1. I think the Democrats express more dissappointment than anger in that regards. To me the problem is this: the Dems admit on the one hand they are enacting big, momentous changes and then act really shocked when people act like they are enacting big, momentous changes. When you do things people don’t like they naturally are angry, when those things are big they get big angry.

      2. u mean the dems big govt isnt the same big govt u want?

        1. I know you’re new here, but for fuck’s sake keep up. Libertarians = small government. Or for some like OM it equals no government at all.

        2. DURR

  27. Nick Gillespie’s facial hair isn’t going to win him any friends among the growing ranks of people with functioning eyeballs, either. Shave it, Nick!

  28. Pabulum: something (as writing or speech) that is insipid, simplistic, or bland.

  29. I think I found MNGs guilty pleasure. He seems to post a lot on Palin posts.

    1. It’s the hot librarian look, I cannot look away.

      1. after 5 kids, its the sloppy hot look.

      2. I’ve worked at public libraries and I REALLY want to say something about that … but won’t. 🙂

  30. So everyone up in arms, aghast that she used the term ‘blood libel’ this morning.

    Now, anyone can correct me if I’m wrong, but my impression was that a ‘blood libel’ simply meant ‘a false accusation of murder’. Even if the original meaning is derived from accusations against Jews 100 years ago.

    Am I totally wrong in thinking that freaking out because she used it in a general sense is stupid ?

    1. I think they’re afraid the “libel” part will stick.

      1. Maybe they’re afraid people will start looking for other ways they bear a resemblance to fascists.

  31. A governor is a legislator?


  32. Also from Palin:

    President Reagan said, “We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.” Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own. They begin and end with the criminals who commit them, not collectively with all the citizens of a state, not with those who listen to talk radio, not with maps of swing districts used by both sides of the aisle, not with law-abiding citizens who respectfully exercise their First Amendment rights at campaign rallies, not with those who proudly voted in the last election.

    Personal responsibility? Individual rights?

    It’s CRAZY talk I tell ya!

  33. Interesting that people picked on her use of “blood libel” and not on her claim that her speech doesnm’t promote violence but her opponents’ (aka blood libel) does. Anyway, your main point is well taken. She could have taken a leadership position here but instead retreated to the bunker.

  34. Mr. Gillespie, did you actually read the entirely of her text? (Not just the portions of a few paragraphs you quoted, which seem to have been selected more or less at random.) Perhaps not “Churchillian” (it’s been a long time since there have been any Churchills among our political class), but certainly more heartfelt and genuine than anything which has ever come out of Barack Obama’s mouth. It was a measured, thoughtful and respectful response to bizarre statements made about her by people who can only be referred to as ignorant (if one is feeling especially charitable) or venial (if one is feeling more truthful).

    I understand that you despise Palin, for whatever reason, but this was as poor a means of displaying your dislike as was her ill-considered remarks about Michelle Obama’s anti-childhood-obesity crusade. You can do better.

  35. I am no big Palin fan, but this more of the endless character assassination of this wonderful American woman, just done softer than the Alinsky JornoList thugs.

  36. Gillespie you moron, Sarah Palin was a GOVERNOR, governors are NOT legislators, you idiot.

    Neither are Mayors.

    You know what they ARE?

    Chief Executives.

    She’s plenty presidential. In fact, we’ll make it official oh, say 12:01 PM, January 20, 2013 when she’s finished taking the Oath of Office.

    You are a frigging joke. Wise up.

  37. Boy they sure fear Palin! Now I know that there are stupid people out there that take these talking points and run with them, and I also know that this nation has a lot of stupid people because it very obvious that we have a very stupid man in the white house. We are now known as the AFFIRMATIVE ACTION NATION!

  38. Anybody out there watching the memorial for the victims. Obama already looks phony!!

  39. She appeared very presidential.

  40. So far nobody has invoked God’s name

  41. Not sure what the expectation of others were for a video speech to her friends on Facebook?

    If the objective was to express her sympathies for the aggrieved and defend herself against the onslaught of false accusations, the video speech was fine.

    If you were looking for Churchill-like aplomb and dynamism, that type of performance is reserved for a live presentation akin to the acceptance speech at the GOP Convention, something Palin has proven quite capable of doing.

    Was a video-delivered performance the right venue? That’s probably the better question. I would argue it is. Given the timing of the delivery (same day as memorial) a subdued presentation is just fine.

  42. Palin not presidential?…This coming from a guy who who thinks he is Richard Boone incarnate from Paladin and always wears black..Grow up Nick and start wearing pastels or something you 47 year old wannabe celebrity. Try writing some cogent commentary instead of worrying about your American Eagle wardrobe noir garanimals…Ponderous man , ponderous.

  43. Let me see . .

    We had Mr. CIA from 89 to his read my lips moment . . .

    We got Billy blow job, who was getting better ratings than the soap operas . . .

    We got George, George of the “uh, where’s the jungle?” . . .

    And Mr. Hope and Change.

    After 4 complete idiots in a row, Palin has a tad of credibility.

  44. But me, I would break a 20 year drought and vote for the Donald, because he can add and subtract, which no present politician in office, save Ron Paul. seems capable of doing.

  45. I think you’re dead wrong Nick. Palin struck exactly the right tone, and said what needed to be said.

  46. Haven’t you heard, after YOU and your fellow idiots elected Barry Obama, qualifications are no longer important for the position.

    Anybody with a letter and wears underwear had more qualifications than the current idiot in the White House, so STHU about not qualified or not presidential. Those no longer apply after the disgrace you fools slobbered over in 2008.

    Sarah released a very astute and level-headed response to the murderous leftist lunatic’s attack in Tucson.

    And the very last thing America needs at the moment is another credentialed “intellectual”, like Barry Obama, who couldn’t get a job at the local Dairy Queen and is as dumb as a box of rocks.

    Just go away and STHU.

  47. Never have I seen Nick Gillespie get such a simple issue so completely wrong.

    Even with their CONTEMPT for Palin and ANYTHING that carries a SCENT of “Conservatism”, ABC referred to her speech today as “Presidential”.

    And THAT is what it was: An Act of Presidential Reason and Understanding.

    Not the Clown-Act that Obama brings.

    Most importantly:…..ood-libel/

    Exclusive: Alan Dershowitz Defends Sarah Palin’s Use of Term ‘Blood Libel’ by Publius

    In an exclusive statement, famed attorney and Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz defended Sarah Palin’s use of the term “blood libel” from multiple detractors. As the Media Matters/MSM/Democrat narrative on the Tucson tragedy unravels, they are getting a lot more desperate in their attacks on Palin. Fortunately, there are still plenty of honest liberals around:

    The term “blood libel” has taken on a broad metaphorical meaning in public discourse. Although its historical origins were in theologically based false accusations against the Jews and the Jewish People,its current usage is far broader. I myself have used it to describe false accusations against the State of Israel by the Goldstone Report. There is nothing improper and certainly nothing anti-Semitic in Sarah Palin using the term to characterize what she reasonably believes are false accusations that her words or images may have caused a mentally disturbed individual to kill and maim. The fact that two of the victims are Jewish is utterly irrelevant to the propriety of using this widely used term.

  48. After this Obama guy how can anyone make the statement that Palin is unqualified?

  49. Yeah, I think the “she’s not Presidential” ship has sailed. If she’s so unqualified, why keep talking about her…even to the extent of turning national tragedies into referendums on her viability as a Presidential candidate?

  50. Yeah, I think the “she’s not Presidential” ship has sailed. If she’s so unqualified, why keep talking about her…even to the extent of turning national tragedies into referendums on her viability as a Presidential candidate?

  51. I love the libertarians. They always occupy the peanut gallery front-row seat, maybe it’s because they’re always the bridesmaids, never the bride. Remind me, who was the last candidate to come out of the Libertarian party ranks? Pray tell, Mr. Gillespie, who is your “presidential” presidential candidate? Sarah Palin responded, and a very good response it was. I’d say you’re just nickpicking, as a good libertarian will often do.

  52. Nick, this was a very presidential address in my view. You’re critiquing it way too hard. Some sites that are skeptical of her actually ran it as a featured article because it was so good.

  53. I’m an California Independent. I’d vote for her. Did you hear that? I’d vote for her! Can you hear me now?

  54. Palin is 10 times more presidential then our current socialist Chicago machine commander in chief will ever be. If she can take him down in 2012 then guess what? She’s presidential and there won’t be a thing the elites in either worthless party establishment will be able to do about it! She’s got my vote if she runs.

  55. Palin is 10 times more presidential then our current socialist Chicago machine commander in chief will ever be. If she can take him down in 2012 then guess what? She’s presidential and there won’t be a thing the elites in either worthless party establishment will be able to do about it! She’s got my vote if she runs.

  56. Distant? Scripted? You wish. She’s more real and natural than any half dozen liberals you can scrape together. And you just can’t stand it. Well, no matter, the rest of us (and that’s a VERY large number) love her and respect her.

  57. Reagan quote, duels, referencing Giffords reading the First Amendment then Democratic fuckbags wanting to trash it a few days later.

    She hit a number of good points.

    Was she really supposed to say “Fuck you Obama, you stupid cunt. I’ll bring a bazooka to your gun fight!”?

    1. Was she really supposed to say “Fuck you Obama, you stupid cunt. I’ll bring a bazooka to your gun fight!”?

      That would not have been presidential, but it would have been extremely entertaining and gratifying.

  58. Hey Nick, while you’re right about the video, it’s EXACTLY the sort of presentation that is EXPECTED of a president. Can you imagine the backdrop of that address being the oval office desk? It doesn’t take a huge leap to do that. Yep, it’s fussily formal, full of cliches, and smoothly delivered. It’s the very stage presence that is expected.

  59. Gillespie, you wouldn’t know presidential if it bit you on the butt. The lady knows what she’s doing. You’d do well to put away the keyboard and listen.

  60. Would you care to define for us what you mean by “presidential,” Mr. Gillespie, sir?

  61. Is Sarah Palin the most powerful politician in America? I’m beginning to think so. She pulls her strings and the mainstream media dances off a cliff, again. It’s funny to watch.

  62. So.. if I approve of her message (and I do) I lack depth? Nice, real nice. I guess I’m just an un-educated hick who appreciates and actually believes in the American Principles Sarah espouses. It’s only “threadbare cliches” if you don’t believe it, which leads me to wonder about you.

  63. Hate to state the obvious, but she was never a legislator, she was the Governor. Second, she resigned because the flood of ethics complaints her opponents were filing were costing Alaska a lot of money and tying her up. Good for her. And, no, I’m not a supporter of hers.

  64. Great post/article, Nick. Just when I think I should renew relations with Reason mag, one of you oh-so-smart Reason-alities dream up a lame-ass thing like this. Then I shake my head and wonder what the eff I was thinking…

    So what exactly is Presidential, Nick? And does one act so when dealing with broad (as in nation-wide) accusations of complicity in, heck, the cause of a mass murder? And how are you an authority on that which she is incapable of giving even her most sympathetic audience? Since don’t seem to be particularly sympathetic, how do you know what they want?

  65. at this stage of the game any debate about political celebrities, of any stripe, is in effect keeping the steerage passengers entertained while first class passengers make to the lifeboats.

  66. There’s something bizarro-world about the Palincentrism that provoked the “Palin did it” response, and that animates Nicky G’s latest column. She’s an interesting specimen of democratic culture, embodying the politically incorrect side of the various dichotomies we’re supposed to care about. What matters to me is that she has no programmatic solutions, and only a 95th percentile ability to think on her feet. She is a ticket to second place for the political party that runs her for national office.

  67. Just goes to show that even Reason columnists ignore the substance and leap into the sideshow. Step back. Reason about what’s going on.

  68. TO: Nick G.
    RE: ‘Not Presidential’?

    Maybe she’s going for the Jack Ryan form of ‘presidential’, as in Tom Clancy’s Executive Orders.

    I, and probably a LOT of other Americas, could live with that.


    [Sometimes you have to get out of the box in order to succeed.]

  69. So, I got to the end of this article and I thought … where’s the beef?

    Your sole reason for declaring that Palin is not “Presidential” is that … well … wait for it … she has been stuffy lately?

    I’m sorry, but what kind of criteria do you use to determine if someone is “Presidential”? That they hold your interest by being, what? Entertaining?

    And in the middle of an incredible series of waves of political assassinations hurled at her by not just the Left but also by the entire block of the MSM and by lots of
    Republican RINOs, she has to be entertaining in order to get your stamp of “Presidential” approval?

    In all honesty sir, I think you’re just a tad full of yourself … as well as full of another unmentionable substance.

  70. “And if the style is what captures the reader’s attention, it’s because there’s no substance on which to feed.”

    WRONG. If you bother to read the Federalist papers you catch all the references. The Heated Rhetoric of free speech is a good thing foreseen by the framers of the constitution. It defuses societal tensions by working the arguments through. When heated rhetoric is suppressed, the convictions behind the heated rhetoric come out in heated ACTIONS, which is always worse than the rhetoric. Democracy is always loud, uncouth, and messy.
    Of course, “Reasonable” people want civilized discourse, but then again, who decides who’s out of line?

  71. TO: All
    RE: What!!!!???!!?

    …constitutes ‘acting presidential’?

    Somehow, the concept strikes me as being something maleable. Soemthing that can be ‘twisted’ or ‘molded’ into whatever the writer believes is ‘appropriate’. And whatever they believe is, I suppose, something they think EVERYONE, including YOU, should believe.

    Personally? I believe whatever works is best. And, in the example provided by Tom Clancy in Executive Orders, I think that would work VERY WELL. Especially considering how Clancy points out how a lot of others?especially those who were antagonistic to US?thought President Jack Ryan was “not presidential”.

    I suppose the same is true with Nick. He doesn’t like Palin. Just like the characters in Executive Orders didn’t like Ryan.


    ….what does that make be think about Nick.

    Three guesses. First two don’t count….


    P.S. And I have to wonder….

    …..has Nick ever been the chief executive of ANYTHING? How about a state? A state with close borders on two foreign powers?

    Did he have a military arm to be the ‘commander-in-chief’ of? One with the ability to knock down incoming ballistic missiles?

    Sarah did…..

  72. P.P.S. Obama? Not until US were stupid enough to elect him….

  73. Yet another loser commentary by Gillispie…

  74. “Acting Presidential”. Like Martin Sheen?, Dana Carvey? Chevy Chase?

    WTF is “Acting Presidential”?

    The statist Stalinist left attacks Palin because they see her as the greatest threat to their designs.

    Who does Nick see as “acting Presidential”? Mr. Gun Ban Romney care? Preacher Hucksterbee?

  75. 1. IMO the presentation was designed to start blending a Presidential aura into Palin’s frontier persona.

    2. “President Obama and I may not agree on everything, but I know he would join me in affirming the health of our democratic process.”

    The President of the United States would join you?

    3. There’s no question that she has a major talent for self-promotion.

    4. I don’t know whether to vilify McCain for unleashing Palin on the country, or to thank him for exposing her before she perfected her shtick.

  76. re: not Churchill.

    Sounds like a challenge to me. Whomever posts the best xtranormal Churchillian response to the KosKids, PaulK and the NYTimes will clearly earn his or her 15 minutes of fame.

    Then again, maybe Ms. P was Churchillian. What would Ms. Thatcher have said? (what did she say after the NRA attacks on No. 10?).

  77. TO: All
    RE: I ‘Blame’….

    ….Nick Gillespie for the mass murder last Saturday. He and that Krugman character.

    May as well. It has as much credibility as anythink else I’ve heard over the last four days, on who’s to blame.


    [The Truth will out…..]

    1. This notion of “Presidential” is somewhat misleading absent both a clear definition and attribution to one or more “Presidential” types. Such attribution must be on an ex ante basis less an ex post actual performance affect one’s judgement.
      For example, Winston Churchill could be pointed to as a leader representative of “Presidential” timber, as it were. In our own country Franklin Roosevelt would also qualify in a radio-limited media. Certainly John Kennedy and Roanld Reagan would be illustrative of “Presidential” timber. Other candidates might be Adalai Stephenson, Douglas MacArthur, Eugene McCarthy and Hubert Humphrey. Perhaps Richard Nixon and Harry Truman might make this list which is not intended to be comprehensive. However, when one considers the other serious Presidential candidates over the years, especially the successful ones, I suspect Sarah Palin in her present form would compare favorably in characterics like presence, delivery, substance and overall gravitas. Indeed, I can’t recall a serious criticism of the “all other” group candidates over the years as lacking “Presidential” timber with the possible exception of Dan Quayle and even that might have been more sniping than serious. And it is this void that prompts me to suspect that the Palin as non-Presidential, is a superficial charge.

  78. “sure ain’t Presidential”

    I wasn’t aware Mrs. Palin had launced her 2012 campaign.

    Reminds of the Dem talking point, during the 2008 campaign, of comparing the qualifications of their Presidential candidate to hers.

  79. Nick … You wrote, “When she resigned her governorship long before her first term was up, she signaled that she wasn’t so interested in being an actual legislator.” She WASN’T interested in being a legislator, which is why she ran for the EXECUTIVE office of governor. Three branches, remember? Otherwise, good piece…

  80. I can’t resist this comment – the one thing we did learn from this past weekend and for which we have full proof evidence. Given the right circumstances, Sarah Palin will cause Paul Krugman and Markos Moulitsas to prematurely ejaculate – rhetorically speaking that is….

  81. I may be just a stupid Aussie but why are so many people so rabid about Sarah Palin.To a casual observer it appears to be fear driven.No one else in your political system seems to generate so much passion.Please explain.

    1. RLS,
      Palin is on the wrong side of a lot of Classist divisions. And most of the People on the right side are…frequently incompetent.

      So, imagine you have power and fame, but you realize you’re useless. Along comes somone who can expose you as the fraud you are…and you…
      A. Embrace her?
      B. Judge her fairly?
      C. Attack like a madwoman on meth?

      Oversimplified, but thats a lot of what’s going on.

      1. I guess that’s one man’s opinion. Someone else might believe Palin feeds on the resentments of the blue collar class. You know, the “maybe I didn’t go to some fancy college but I’m still just as good as you” crowd.

        Think Richard Nixon, resentment and grievance.

    2. Sure Richard, happy to help.

      Anyone one who states that Americans do not need the political class to realize their dreams or ambitions AND manages to create a following will always draw the ire of the political class.

      Government is a jobs program for elitists. Advocating smaller government threatens the span of their control but advocating common sense threatens their livlihood. Simply, Sarah threatens their customer base.

      They are in the violent throes of death and its a pleasure to behold.

  82. You’ve even pissed off the mighty Instapundit, Gillespie. That’s where she got the blood libel line you know.

    Why, I’d say this article is a blood libel.

  83. Yeah, and Nick Gillespie isn’t qualified to tell other people who is qualified to be president either.

  84. The last 50+ years have demonstrated accurately the value of “presidential” presidents. No more of them, please.

  85. Hmmmmm….AOL headline today notes how many lawmakers failed to impress on their knowledge of the Constitution.

    To those of us who cherish the Constitution and its protections, perhaps we need a few more speeches at the Kiwanis Club.

    I have a feeling the last three generations of public school graduates would “flunk” as well. Perhaps many of you smarties may stand above us all, embarrassed by the platitudes of freedom, but I’m appreciate of citizen politicians who are not ashamed to restate the basics as if they are a given. To many of our would-be rulers, they no longer are.

    As far as I’m concerned, I owe Sarah Palin a great big fucking debt of gratitude.

  86. @Ricardo: “If you bother to read the Federalist papers you catch all the references.”

    What? Gillespie read the Federalist Papers? And make some pretty obvious connections?

    I don’t think so. Mr Gillespie is way too busy demanding that everyone around him quit the “stuffy stuff” and entertain him.

    Isn’t that right, Mr Gillespie?

    Or do you want to take this opportunity to confess that you actually have read The Federalist Papers?

    tick. tock.

  87. @Ricardo: “If you bother to read the Federalist papers you catch all the references.”

    What? Gillespie read the Federalist Papers? And make some pretty obvious connections?

    I don’t think so. Mr Gillespie is way too busy demanding that everyone around him quit the “stuffy stuff” and entertain him.

    Isn’t that right, Mr Gillespie?

    Or do you want to take this opportunity to confess that you actually have read The Federalist Papers?

    tick. tock.

  88. “When she resigned her governorship long before her first term was up, she signaled that she wasn’t so interested in being an actual legislator.”

    Sorry, Nick, that’s just a d@mned lie, she resigned as governor because the stupid laws of Alaska that allow nutcase political opponents to disrupt state government with frivolous lawsuits that wouldn’t be allowed almost anywhere else. But this isn’t about the truth, is it, Nick?

  89. banal, ubiquitous political

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.