Monday, September 05, 2011


"He ought to be crying on Jerry Springer, not smirking in the whiteheouse."

Its become a popular "trope" for right leaning blogs to use leftist mockery of Sarah Palin to highlight media hypocrisy and inconsistency in popular culture. For example, Right Wing News had this bit recently about the hillbilly Palin family:
First off, look at the people Palin grew up around. Her father was a polygamist who abandoned the family when she was still a baby. Palin was then abandoned by her mother who left her in the United States to go overseas. Then there were her grandparents. Palin’s grandfather was a pot smoking Communist with a FBI file while she’s admitted that her grandmother muttered “racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.
Look at her half-brother George. The man was living on a dollar a month — in a hut. Yet, with all the money that Sarah Palin has made, has she done anything to help him? Nothing. So much for her “Christian compassion.” Of course, it could be worse. Palin’s other half-brother Samson (What is it with the weird names in that family?) has been accused of trying to sexually assault a 13 year old. Then there’s Palin’s parasitic aunt who’s in the country illegally and living on the dole. Apparently, that sort of behavior runs in the Palin clan because her drunk driving uncle is here illegally, too.
Naturally, none of that is actually true about the Palin family. Its all about President Obama's family. Palin's family seems incredibly tame compared to this daytime talk show fodder.

Consider if this was President Obama's background; When he was young, Barack Obama was in bodybuilding contests and was a cheerleader. He possibly conceived his oldest son before marriage, then eloped with the mother and married her. His oldest daughter had a child out of wedlock and got engaged to an attention-seeking dork, then went on TV shows trying to make a career and... well that's about it, really.

That's really all there is to the Palin background. As much as is made of their allegedly crazy life, its not all that odd or spectacular, particularly when compared to the president's childhood. Even complaints about Sarah Palin's pastor pale in comparison to what the president's pastor was like.

And the thing is, this doesn't prove President Obama to be a mess or somehow stained by his childhood, or that Sarah Palin is a wonderful person. The way we judge people is by their character and actions, not their past, particularly when they were young. I can forget Sarah Palin's pageant days and possibly conceiving Trig when she was unmarried, just like I can forget President Obama admitting to taking coke and pot when he was younger.

The significance of all this is perception and treatment by culture and media. People act like the Palin family is a batch of hillbillies and inbred hicks: look at how crazy they are! But when president Obama's significantly more wild, bizarre, and trailer trash background is revealed, its shrugged at. All in the past; doesn't matter; means nothing.

See, if Sarah Palin had this kind of crazy background, you can be absolutely sure that the left, comedians, the legacy media, democrats in office, and every mindless twit at the water cooler would be repeating all that and laughing at what a bunch of white trash the Palins are.

And that's just odd to me and many on the right. That's why we will usually use Palin as a contrast with Obama. Its not that we necessarily love and want Sarah Palin in the white house (I don't). Its that the way she's treated is inconsistent to the point of deliberate hypocrisy and hateful indifference to the truth.


Huck said...

C_T - You overlook the obvious here. In Obama's situation, he has absolutely no direct influence or authority in how either his parents behaved or how his distant siblings behaved. In Palin's case, the line of influence and authority goes directly to the woman. No one is holding Palin accountable for the behavior of her parents, or distant cousins, or half-siblings he hardly knew. When you look at the behavior of people for whom one might attribute to Obama direct influence and responsibility, the man's family life is impeccable. The same can't be said for Sarah Palin. And the other thing about Palin is that her behaviors (and those of her children) fly squarely in the face of their proclaimed morality. I didn't even know that Palin might have conceived her first-born out of wedlock until reading your blog entry; but to learn this isn't surprising when we see that her eldest children have apparently done exactly the same. The apple falls not far from the tree.

You can try to smear Obama's ethical and moral reputation with the behavior of his parents or distant relatives, but we all know the score. That which Obama has control or influence over is impeccable and admirable. With regard to his own behavior, he's been an exemplary role model as a son, father, and husband.

Christopher R Taylor said...

See, I tried to go out of my way to make the point that I didn't think the background of either one made a significant difference to their ability to govern. I guess it wasn't clear, so I'll say it again here in response.

I should note, though, that you're willing to impugn Sarah Palin for her background ("the apple doesn't fall far from the tree") yet defend Obama, which brings me back to the point of this bit by Hawkins.

The point is the inconsistency of reaction and coverage of Palin vs Obama.

Huck said...

No, the point is that Palin makes such things as character and family integrity and morality central to her claims to authority and legitimacy, while failing to live up to those very claims.

And I thought such things as personal integrity, character, and morality did matter to conservatives in how they assess their leadership.

I am defending Obama because the evidence of his behavior when it comes to parental and spousal responsibility is impeccable. The comparison that Hawkins is trying to make just doesn't hold because the supposed failures of Obama with regard to his familial obligations and responsibilities are really not his failures at all, but that of his parents or his distant siblings. No one is criticizing Palin for the failures of her parents, siblings, or distant relatives.

That's not to say that Palin doesn't have admirable qualities, too. I'm only saying two things here: (1) the comparison being used here between Palin and Obama isn't a valid one; (2) the character of individuals over behavior that they control and exercise responsibility for does matter in terms of our assessment of leadership.

Christopher R Taylor said...

Huck I don't know how to make this any more clear. THIS IS NOT ABOUT COMPARING THE PRESIDENT TO SARAH PALIN. Do I need to repeat that ten times? How can I make that point more plainly to you? How on earth are you missing that?

The comparison is only offered as a demonstration of how the coverage and reaction to Sarah Palin is inconsistent with that to President Obama.

If the background President Obama has had applied to President Obame you know exactly how you and the rest of the left would react. And that's all this is about: why and how you guys treat Sarah Palin vs how you treat President Obama.

And an honest, thoughtful person would look at that and think about it.

Huck said...

If this is not about comparing the President to Sarah Palin, then you shouldn't be doing it. Still, all I have to go by is what you actually say in your posting. You write:

"Palin's family seems incredibly tame compared to this daytime talk show fodder."

"As much as is made of their allegedly crazy life, its not all that odd or spectacular, particularly when compared to the president's childhood."

"Even complaints about Sarah Palin's pastor pale in comparison to what the president's pastor was like."

The ENTIRE POINT of your posting is predicated on a comparison of Obama and Palin.

Sheesh. Even in your above comment, where you write in bold caps that THIS IS NOT ABOUT COMPARING THE PRESIDENT TO SARAH PALIN, you go on in the very next sentence of that posting to say exactly the opposite. You even admit to a comparison and explain why you are doing it. To wit: "The comparison is only offered as a demonstration of how the coverage and reaction to Sarah Palin is inconsistent with that to President Obama." Doesn't matter why you are comparing the two, the fact remains that you are intentionally doing so.

And, in fact, I would say that the comparison is offered precisely to try to show how much worse Obama actually is up next to Palin, SUCH THAT if the coverage and reaction to Obama were REALLY "honest," we'd see how much of a careless, callous, arrogant, insensitive, gangster thug Obama really is.