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Posted at 1:36 PM ET, 01/12/2011

Vintage Palin

By Jennifer Rubin

Sarah Palin is, in one sense, lucky to have the critics she does. They accuse her of bizarre things (e.g. faking a pregnancy). And they try to blame her for things over which she is not remotely responsible (i.e. the Arizona shooting). She then plays Joan of Arc, the noble and wronged conservative. She runs around berating the "lamestream media." In the process, her actual and serious flaws don't get properly examined.

The latest episode is her claim that critics are engaged in "blood libel" by tying her to the shooting. One supposes she means that she is accused of having blood on her hands (or instigating one who has blood on his hands). Maybe she is just mindlessly parroting talk show and conservative lingo. The term has a specific historic context, as does the term "holocaust," and unless you are Glenn Beck (whom she increasingly resembles), you should steer clear of indiscriminate use of the term.

But once again, the left misses the boat. Many liberals are twittering that this was an intentionally inflammatory remark. For once, I'm with Rep. James Clyburn (D.-S.C.), who, albeit harshly, said this of the video: "She is an attractive person, she is articulate, but I think intellectually she seems not to understand what is going on here."

It is, after all, inconsistent for the left to simultaneously argue she's so devious as to intentionally conjure up images of pogroms and to say she's an intellectual dope, a know-nothing.

It has been reported that that she is exceedingly insulated from experienced voices by a mini-staff in Alaska and her husband. ("Among the D.C. consultants, however, only [Tim] Crawford interacts with Palin on a regular basis.") A case in point is:

Rebecca Mansour who especially personifies the amorphous yet fervid network of Palin World. Mansour said . . . "I majored in English and history and minored in philosophy, but I've never been a Beltway person, so that does confuse people."

And this person is "Palin's primary speechwriter, researcher, online communications coordinator and all-purpose adviser." The sort of person to Google through conservative commentary, flag a catchy phrase, and put out a video that has been widely panned. An experienced Republican operative, not aligned with any campaign says simply, "The video was awful."

Many of her gaffes, I would argue, would be preventable if she and her husband didn't essentially run the entire operation:

Her wariness extends even to her top lieutenants, who have thus far been excluded from her 2012 considerations. Instead, she relies on Todd -- "the one person she trusts," according to Rick Halford, a longtime friend and a former Alaska state senator. "Todd is somebody that I think really grew and took on the job of being her support system, way beyond his education and where he came from."

So you have episodes like the release of the video today that simply reinforce the impression that she is undisciplined, rash and unserious. But most of all, her excessive reliance on her own and her husband's political antennae are proving to be her undoing. Well, you ask, doesn't that mean she lacks the judgment to be president? That's precisely what many conservatives are pondering these days, when they don't get distracted by the chaos she creates in her wake.

One final note, I was critical of the ADL in one regard today. However, it has put out a properly restrained statement from its director on the Palin rhetoric:

It is unfortunate that the tragedy in Tucson continues to stimulate a political blame game. Rather than step back and reflect on the lessons to be learned from this tragedy, both parties have reverted to political partisanship and finger-pointing at a time when the American people are looking for leadership, not more vitriol. In response to this tragedy we need to rise above partisanship, incivility, heated rhetoric, and the business-as-usual approaches that are corroding our political system and tainting the atmosphere in Washington and across the country.

It was inappropriate at the outset to blame Sarah Palin and others for causing this tragedy or for being an accessory to murder. Palin has every right to defend herself against these kinds of attacks, and we agree with her that the best tradition in America is one of finding common ground despite our differences.

Still, we wish that Palin had not invoked the phrase "blood-libel" in reference to the actions of journalists and pundits in placing blame for the shooting in Tucson on others. While the term "blood-libel" has become part of the English parlance to refer to someone being falsely accused, we wish that Palin had used another phrase, instead of one so fraught with pain in Jewish history.

Well said, Mr. Foxman.

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 12, 2011; 1:36 PM ET
 
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Comments

You pose the rhetorical question:

"So you have episodes like the release of the video today that simply reinforce the impression that she is undisciplined, rash and unserious. But most of all, her excessive reliance on her own and her husband's political antennae are proving to be her undoing. Well, you ask, doesn't that mean she lacks the judgment to be president? That's precisely what many conservatives are pondering these days, when they don't get distracted by the chaos she creates in her wake."

If you are asking for an answer: yes.

The good news for the GOP is that Palin's implosion will open the field for other more serious candidates. She is increasingly more likely to play the role of king-maker, rather than candidate. Which bodes well for someone like Newt. Hard to see her taking the stage hand-in-hand to endorse Romney or Daniels. Pawlenty, Huckabee, maybe.

Posted by: BillB10 | January 12, 2011 1:56 PM | Report abuse

The sad thing, in the right wing media's rush to defend Sarah Palin, is this:

No reasonable person assumes that Ms. Palin has any direct responsibility for the events in Tuscon.

However, the climate that she and others have created (see, Beck,Glenn and Limbaugh, Rush) is such, that people firmly believe that those don't agree with conservative viewpoints are somehow un-American.

Since being handed a megaphone by John McCain, Ms. Palin has consistently implied that Democrats, and those who hold positions that are opposed to what she thinks are simply wrong, and in fact, are somehow the cause of all problems in this country.

It's not the words that she and others use, but the fact that she, and Glenn Beck, among others, continue to imply that those that disagree with them have no valid positions and are somehow anti-American.

Stupid ideas are just stupid, until someone is granted credibility by, what Ms. Palin, interstingly enough, calls the "lamestream media"

Posted by: JohnDinHouston | January 12, 2011 2:00 PM | Report abuse

The Left may have missed the boat but they aren't voting for her anyway. Neither are many on the right. And if she keeps her mouth on the go, no one will want the spectacle of having her as a sponsor.

Posted by: sassafrasnewport | January 12, 2011 2:00 PM | Report abuse

The sooner Palin goes away the better for us all. We are witnessing that process.

Posted by: danw1 | January 12, 2011 2:02 PM | Report abuse

As someone who is Jewish I disagree with your idea that people should use the term blood libel rises in as sensitive a manner as holocaust. I do understand your point about this term being used to attack Jews and other minorities. Does this mean this term should never be used in any instance? I think you are overreaching by asking for this.

Posted by: philrat | January 12, 2011 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Posted this yesterday, but it probably goes best here.

What you are seeing in Palin's case is a chickens come home to roost thing.

NO, of course she had no involvement in the shootings in any way. I'm talking more about her political ambitions.

In the last two years we have seen that there is almost nothing she won't comment on and no one she won't tweet about, even the First Lady on nutrition. She has made herself a lightning rod at all levels for every controversy, injecting her opinions where there was no reason to go.

She even endorsed the incredibly inept Christine O'Donnell in a state she may never have even visited, in a race there was no chance of winning.

While all this has been good for Palin Inc., it also points out why her career in politics is completely finished. There's a smart political axiom that says "never make an enemy by accident" and Palin has done so by the millions.

Republican leadership knows this and are trying to make sure she's not in the race in 2012. They don't believe she coud get the nomination of course, but they believe she could damage the eventual candidate by making them move too far to the right in primaries.

She knows she can't possibly win too, but the temptation to enter in order to remain nationally relevant for a longer period of time is strong.

We will see which of these colliding trends prevails by year's end

Posted by: 54465446 | January 12, 2011 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Palin and Beck and the rest don't get it. Whether it is of the vast left wing conspiracy or the media, they just love being the victim, and that is the height of hypocrisy. The hard truth is this: Palin has decided that as part of her political persona, she is going to use extreme, aggressive, in your face, and threatening language and imagery to dehumanize and marginalize her opponents. Fine, that’s her right. But now, when people respond in kind because of a senseless and tragic event that more or less mirrors the imagery and language she uses, she is the victim? Please. She is incapable of bearing responsibility or showing humility. Had she said, "In light of what happened in Tucson we regret our use of unfortunate images and language in the election, and never intended for it to be construed as wanting to cause harm to anyone. We are shocked that this sick individual did this and will work to do whatever it takes to make sure these sorts of tragedies never occur again" she would probably deflect much of this. But no, Sarah nor the right can never admit to being wrong, or mistaken, or in error, not when there is an opportunity to cast themselves as the victim. If you need to be reminded just how dangerous and extreme the noise from the right and Palin's beloved Tea Party has been, take a look here - http://wp.me/pNmlT-AK

Posted by: Dh1953 | January 12, 2011 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Agreeing with the ADL? and James Clyburn? wow, I can't believe this is Jennifer Rubin posting from Contentions posting this tripe. It has to be an imposter. Who are you and what have you done with Jennifer Rubin from Contentions and PJ Media?

Posted by: stevendufresne | January 12, 2011 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Jen,

While I can certainly understand your preference that the terms "halocaust" and "blood libel" not be tossed about indiscriminately, the English language seems to march along in its inevitably tireless manner.

Jim Geraghty has an informative post on how many writers, on the right and left, have used the term "blood libel." It appears that Palin's use of the phrase, despite all the current fuss, is not without quite recent precedent.

http://www.nationalreview.com/campaign-spot/256955/term-blood-libel-more-common-you-might-think

Posted by: marybel9999 | January 12, 2011 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Give me a break. Everyone knows what Sarah Palin means when she uses the phrase "blood libel." It means that she is falsely accused of causing a madman to commit murder, and the blood is on her hands. This is precisely what the liberal politicians and the main stream media are doing!

I'm not a fan of Palin, but on the other hand, this is the sort of tactic that the left will use against other conservatives if we let them get away with it today. By the way, Alan Dershowitz disagrees with you, the ADL, and Clyburn on blood libel.

Posted by: rsbsail1 | January 12, 2011 2:17 PM | Report abuse

I agree with you, philrat, though I am not Jewish.

I think, what has to be factored in here is that Palin disassociates herself from the Beltway sophisticates. She is not as unsophisticated as her detractors like to make her out to be; but simply by her not embracing the Beltway ethos sufficiently she impels the Beltway sophisticate to hold Palin suspect. At least that is how I have come to understand the incandescent distaste which the Professional Right has for Palin.

Posted by: nvjma | January 12, 2011 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Jennifer, I've been reading you for many years, and have admired your writings, from Pajamas media & Contentions.

This time your are simply wrong.

Two points:

(1) Its a clear case of blood libel. And I say this as someone who is Jewish & understands the historical roots of the term.

(2) You agreeing with James Clyburn with his underhanded insult ??!

Usually Jennifer you understand politics better than almost anyone; however, in this rare case, Sarah Palin understands what is going on better than you do.

Posted by: amitgreen | January 12, 2011 2:22 PM | Report abuse

This is what linguists call "semantic bleaching": over time, words and phrases lose their literal meaning, as they are used in more and more tangentially related ways.

"Blood libel" now means "an outrageously unfounded accusation."

In addition to the recent examples cited above by Mary Be, in the last few days Glenn Reynolds, Mark Levin, and John Haywood have used the term.

Jennifer and Clyburn are not persuasive on this one.

Posted by: Inagua1 | January 12, 2011 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Palin is a joke. The more she talks, the stupider she looks.

Posted by: thomasmc1957 | January 12, 2011 2:34 PM | Report abuse

One thing I used to hate about the G. W. Bush presidency is how the left would lob one libelous, hypocritical grenade after another at him and he would essentially ignore them. Bill Clinton knew better - his staff would have a rebuttal ready before the accuser's ink was dry or mouth was shut. You can criticize Palin all you want, but she didn't ask for the charges to fly, she just responded to them. If that equates her to Joan of Arc in your mind, so be it. And incidentally, the more of the so-called "mainstream" media I listen to or watch, the more appropriate is Palin's "lamestream" descriptor.

Posted by: coffeetime | January 12, 2011 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Many people like Palin because she is unsophisticated (according to the Beltway elite, who are oh so intelligent and have graduated from those Ivy League schools unlike U of Idaho), she's blunt and you know exactly what she means. Rather her than someone like Obama and his speech writers who say one thing but mean another.

Ms. Rubin, you are my favorite writer and your blog is the first one I read everyday but on the subject of Palin, you can't seem to be objective. I love ya anyway.

Posted by: cajunkate | January 12, 2011 2:39 PM | Report abuse

I agree that the use of the term here is slightly hyperbolic but by no means so outrageous as some are suggesting. Its not inappropriate to comment on and to criticize its use but your overreacting.

The notion that Palin has not been consistently and blames for the shooting is absurd. I was at the Gym on Monday (trying to maintain some sanity by watching the BCSCG preview) but was looking at two rows comprising 10 televisions. 8 of them had the network news CNN, MSNBC and some channels I cannot identify and and all 8 within 15 minute (at most some within a five minute) time frame ran stories about the shooting followed by stories featuring images of Palin - at least 3 showed the Map).

I haven't heard her video and am reluctant to defend all or most of it but we can safely presume that it was much more fact based, restrained in tone and logical than the vast majority of the reporting much less the commentary emanating from the media. THIS SHOULD NOT BE READ AS A COMPLEMENT TO PALIN.

In general, in respect of use of martial imagery, incendiary tone and anything that might, however remotely or fancifully be viewed as encouragement to violence Palin is certainly much less culpable than POTUS, A VERY LOW STANDARD TO BE SURE.

P. S. If Palin wants to terminally vitiate any credibility she has as a small government, foreign policy realist conservative and/or a minimally intelligent person cognizant of what that means she will endorse Huckabee.

Posted by: cavalier4 | January 12, 2011 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Inagua1 at 2:28,

Thanks for your informative comment about 'semantic bleaching.'

I have always found the twists and turns of how language develops fascinating, and am happy to have a term for it.

Learn something new every day!

Posted by: marybel9999 | January 12, 2011 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Jennifer and commenters,
Thoughts on the below?

http://biggovernment.com/publius/2011/01/12/exclusive-alan-dershowitz-defends-sarah-palins-use-of-term-blood-libel/

Posted by: bzod9999 | January 12, 2011 2:44 PM | Report abuse

The term "blood libel" has been used many times on the Left and the Right in recent times (see the Jim Geraghty page referenced in an earlier comment).

But if Sarah Palin uses the term (to describe comments implying she's culpable in mass murder), that's beyond the pale?

Then I look forward to your future posts denouncing EVERYONE who has used that term in a non-Rubin-approved manner. That includes Alan Dershowitz, of course.

And I'm not certain you score any points by quoting Mr. "reading the Constitution causes violence" Clyburn as a judge of intellectual understanding.

Posted by: caldodge | January 12, 2011 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Palin is not Presidential material for lots of reasons not the least of which is a total inability to inspire, unite, and lead.

Posted by: impressed1 | January 12, 2011 3:01 PM | Report abuse

I dunno, Jen. When even Alan Dershowitz is defending Palin's use of "blood libel", you might want to take a second think at this one.

Posted by: CharlieinColorado | January 12, 2011 3:02 PM | Report abuse

According to Encyclopedia Britannica Blood Libel is Blood Accusation which is certainly the case here.

The lefts pathetic attempt to spin it further just shows how depraved and vindictive the left really is.

Keep digging that hole deeper libs

Posted by: Straightline | January 12, 2011 3:04 PM | Report abuse

impressed1: Palin is not Presidential material for lots of reasons not the least of which is a total inability to inspire, unite, and lead.

Unlike Obama, for instance?

Posted by: rsbsail1 | January 12, 2011 3:06 PM | Report abuse

PALIN FOR PRESIDENT OF URANUS!!!!

Posted by: jlwadd123 | January 12, 2011 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Really? Stupid, blamed, uninformed, isolated? The condescencion from your reflections to the inanity of Krugman's, puts Palin in a corner..."Damn if she does, damned if she doesn't". She's so ignorant, by the way, she has controlled the dialogue; media and republican presidential wannabees, since 2008. 98% of Americans are not ivy-leagued, NYTimes subscribers, aware of K Street, or follow the sheep of the "Beltway" We live in fly-over country,where conservative ideas, degrees from state Universities, and 80% of the voting public understand, hear and listen to what Mrs. Palin said and feel there was no offense meant.But,the media, continue to nit-pick-, stroke the egos of the pundit and political world, whom help thrust a truly unprepared, isolated, special-interest controlled President into office whose leadership is questionable and ideas of governance have led to the rise of Mrs.Palin in the political arena. And this current stream of blame, started by a deranged mentally ill individual's act of violence continues to weaken us all. The media should be decrying the inaction of officials warned of the assailant's mental rage,"waiting for him to do something" instead of treating his mental-illness. That is the true shame, here, and that a person who was immediately, unfairly, inaccurately; jumped upon as a merchant of hate (that's the party-line if you disagree with a political side)and, now; she trys to set the record straight and speak up for herself...and gets demeaned for it? Our American freedoms are for all it's citizenry(who have not forfeited such) not just for organizations who feel offended, a point of view we disagree with, a personal choice...really: editors, writers, pundits--let us mourn the lost, pray for the suffering and work together to have mental-illness treated properly, and stop judging others we disdain...

Posted by: glwaggon | January 12, 2011 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Another take in support, from C4P, via memeorandum:

http://conservatives4palin.com/2011/01/partners-in-blood.html

Posted by: bzod9999 | January 12, 2011 3:20 PM | Report abuse

"It is, after all, inconsistent for the left to simultaneously argue she's so devious as to intentionally conjure up images of pogroms and to say she's an intellectual dope, a know-nothing."

I kind of agree with this. I was appalled by it, but I didn't think she was being anti-Semitic. My issue is with someone so ignorant being anywhere close to running for the highest office in the land.

Posted by: Gutavo | January 12, 2011 3:24 PM | Report abuse

If you bother to have followed Jen's ruminations through the years, you would realize she is a consistent and persistent critic of Sarah Palin.

While unwilling to disclose to her readers her fundamental dislike for Palin, she simply goes off and disses her in, of course, a unilateral manner. Folks, that is called being a coward. Hiding behind bias friendly quotes from like minded people, she never shares an opposing side more friendly to the Palin position.

I get it, "blood libel" has significance in Jewish history. But is the phrase copyrighted by anyone? No. And since when does a single phrase become a sole surrogate for the tragedy inflicted on the Jewish people? No, this phrase is being used as a bludgeon intended to inflict more pain on the falsely accused.

And let's not leave out the interesting equivocation used by Jen and Mr. Foxman. So, let me see if I understand this correctly, Sarah Palin has been accused of no less than helping an insane killer pull the trigger and it's a pox on both their houses?

This is pitiful, Jen, even by your standards.

Posted by: Captain_Universe | January 12, 2011 3:27 PM | Report abuse

"It is, after all, inconsistent for the left to simultaneously argue she's so devious as to intentionally conjure up images of pogroms and to say she's an intellectual dope, a know-nothing."

She isn't devious - she reads what scrolls up on the teleprompter in front of her, all of which is written by others. They are being devious.
She is an ignorant know-nothing dope. She doesn't understand the context of what she is saying. All she knows is that she is now in comfortable, familiar territory - she's being criticized and is a victim, and her critics are all evil, bad people who among other things do the evil, bad thing of criticizing her. And she is going to lash out at them.

In a sense, the President is lucky to have the contrasts he has. While Palin jumps in to the middle of the partisan food fight, he will coolly hover above it, being the nations minister, while Palin pulls hair, throws muck, and generally makes an unfortunate specter of herself.

Posted by: jiji1 | January 12, 2011 3:30 PM | Report abuse

@jiji1,
Do you see any irony in describing Palin as an "ignorant know-nothing dope" who "reads what scrolls up on the teleprompter"?

Posted by: bzod9999 | January 12, 2011 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Your sentiments in this column are spot on.

Posted by: andrewm7 | January 12, 2011 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Well, if we learned anything from you today, Ms. Rubin, it is that Mrs. Palin is not executive material. If, as you report, she can't delegate authority, imagine what kind of chief executive she'd make in the White House. Oy vey.

~ Halli Casser-Jayne

Posted by: PolitiHAL | January 12, 2011 3:41 PM | Report abuse

bzod, As disappointed as I am with the President and as wrong as he is on so many things, I have little doubt that he is exercising editorial control over what is on his teleprompters, primarily by good instincts and managerial and hiring decisions. He gets in trouble when he wanders off script.

Who does Sarah have manning the intellectual tiller? A srhill, angry, isolated and vicious undeveloped post-adolescent who seems to think national politics is a high school catfight for supremacy of the cheerleading squad.

The president by contrast, ain't no hollaback girl.

Posted by: jiji1 | January 12, 2011 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Another casuality of the Politically Correct culturein this country: Only certain venerated ethnic groups are the sole or highest arbiters of some hot-button words and actions.

To wit, the concept that blacks are best to determine what constitutes racial bigotry. If a non-black is accused of racism, his only recourse is to find another black person who doesn't think he is racist in order to be exonerated.

In this case, it seems as though only Jews are authorized to use or approve the use of terms liks "holocaust" and now "blood libel." Jews like Jennifer Rubin and Abe Foxman of the ADL feel Palin's use of the phrase "blood libel" is inappropriate, so non-Jews who disagree feel they have to find a Jew with a different opinion (Dershowitz) in order to substantiate their opinion.

To play this game is to give into the liberal strategy of class and ethnic warfare and must be resisted. It is also at the heart of this whole story line, pushed by the mainstream media, the sole arbiter of what is news and truth, that says it's right wing hate speech that caused this past weekend's tragedy.

Posted by: braunt | January 12, 2011 3:45 PM | Report abuse

I am generally a big fan of yours. I must consider today's column an exception. IMO it's the worst thing you've ever written. I thought today's Palin release was warranted, well written and presented at just the right moment.

I found Foxman's thinly veiled suggestion of impropriety of a piece with his regular shilling for the Democrat party. "Blood libel" is a perfectly appropriate phrase here. Not only does Alan Dershowitz confirm this, but so do Prof Jacobson of Cornell law School and James Taranto WSJ.

What do these three have in common? Like me, they are Jews. We know that the term is appropriate for blaming a person or a people for a crime they played no part in. Like me two of these three are not Democrat shills and we believe the outrageous media assertions against the tea party and Palin are BLOOD LIBEL.

Posted by: clarice2 | January 12, 2011 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Alan Dershowitz defends Palin:

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.

Posted by: Captain_Universe | January 12, 2011 3:46 PM | Report abuse

I am generally a big fan of yours. I must consider today's column an exception. IMO it's the worst thing you've ever written. I thought today's Palin release was warranted, well written and presented at just the right moment.

I found Foxman's thinly veiled suggestion of impropriety of a piece with his regular shilling for the Democrat party. "Blood libel" is a perfectly appropriate phrase here. Not only does Alan Dershowitz confirm this, but so do Prof Jacobson of Cornell law School and James Taranto WSJ.

What do these three have in common? Like me, they are Jews. We know that the term is appropriate for blaming a person or a people for a crime they played no part in. Like me two of these three are not Democrat shills and we believe the outrageous media assertions against the tea party and Palin are BLOOD LIBEL.

Posted by: clarice2 | January 12, 2011 3:47 PM | Report abuse

We are all witnessing the implosion of Sarah Palin.

By playing the part of the victim she is showing us how out of touch
and spineless she is.
By using the term "blood libel" without knowing it's true meaning
she is showing us how utterly uninformed and ignorant she is.

Sarah Palin's offensive violent rhetoric is what ultimately did her in,
and not a moment to soon.

Posted by: ethereal_reality | January 12, 2011 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Agree w/Clarice2. Here is more support for what she stated.

@YID With LID: What's Wrong With Sarah Palin Using the Term Blood Libel? http://t.co/NCvUEFr

Posted by: cajunkate | January 12, 2011 3:51 PM | Report abuse

jiji,
Thank you for your reply. if you believe that Obama has displayed "good instincts and managerial and hiring decisions" then I think it likely we will never bridge the gap between our feelings towards Obama and Palin. Perhaps Obama's speech tonight will result in me eating a heaping dose of crow, an outcome I'd actually welcome on the heels of the last 4 days.

Posted by: bzod9999 | January 12, 2011 3:55 PM | Report abuse

this lady from Alaska is getting stranger and stranger every day. this video is just bizarre. her reaction is bizarre. the map she made is bizarre. the defense/description of the map was even more bizarre. for someone who makes fun of the media, she sure does love it

Posted by: rmk1122 | January 12, 2011 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Rubin may be a right wing shill (which I believe she is). But she is also, in this column, a candid and honest assessor of Palin's weaknesses.

Posted by: Observer001 | January 12, 2011 4:04 PM | Report abuse

bzod, by "good" instincts, I mean effective political ones - I disagree with much, possibly most, of the presidents goals.

As the author wrote, people are right now looking for less vitriol, not more. Palin just identified herself with more - perfect instincts for a talk show host seeking to build an audience, terrible for a national politician trying to strike a noble pose after a moment of tragedy.

Perhaps she has always been and will always be the former, and signing books in Iowa is and always was a feign.

Posted by: jiji1 | January 12, 2011 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin has once again demonstrated that she has no class. I don't doubt that she, like many of us (including the Tennessee law professor who editorialized in the Wall Street Journal???) was ignorant of the connotations of "blood libel",although even without its historical roots the term would be inflammatory. It's true that the claims about the "climate of hate" influencing people are overblown, but it's also true that there is a climate of hate. She's done more than her part to contribute to it.

My hope is that this horrid video, shown on a national day of mourning, will make some people rethink their adulation of her.

Posted by: Liesl13 | January 12, 2011 4:07 PM | Report abuse

I don't happen to think Mr. Foxman is right. It was not right to put crosshairs on the maps of the districts. It does have 'consequences' - if nothing else causing distress once one of the people thus targeted was shot. And when everyone in the crowd is hoisting guns and shouting about "tyranny" there may be a nut in the crowd who doesn't see the winks. There have been two documented killing or attempted killing sprees against liberals where the perpetrators said they were motivated by Glenn Beck or Bernie Goldberg. So this isn't out of the realm of conjecture.

The only thing that seems to grind Mr. Foxman's gears is Jewish-related phrase.

Both sides are not at fault here. One side is. Show me the guy on the way to shoot up someplace who claimed to be motivated by Rachel Maddow.

I'm not for vitriol or food fights, but to claim equivalence here is false, and deserves to be called false.

Posted by: jiji1 | January 12, 2011 4:13 PM | Report abuse

The video has now been pulled from her Facebook page. I suppose she finally figured out what blood libel meant and she has to find another phrase to make it look like she is a victim and Gabrielle Gifford was wrong in thinking that Palin put her in the crosshairs of a gun because that was really a surveyors mark. Why Palin was surveying her district hasn't been explained yet. No matter what happens everyone should remember that Sarah is always right and everyone else is always wrong.

Posted by: rj2008 | January 12, 2011 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Every time Sarah Palin opens her mouth, she digs a deeper hole for herself. Drill Baby Drill!

Seriously, does anyone think she's relevant anymore?

If she's going to quote Reagan regarding personal responsibility, then she should have no problem about a Mosque near Ground Zero -- after all, *those* muslims didn't attack the WTC, just 19 nuts jobs did. Everyone else is innocent, because that's what she's trying to do as well.

Sarah needs to understand that she better be able to take it as well as she dishes it out. This is the lady that coined the phrase "Death Panels" to describe health-care reform. Maybe if we'd *had* health care reform, this shooter's mental illness could have been diagnosed. Instead, what we've got is a country where people bring AR-15's to town hall meetings. How this guy was able to buy a gun needs to be investigated.

Hey, how's that tax-cut for the rich helping you?

Posted by: techrat | January 12, 2011 4:24 PM | Report abuse

"It is nconsistent for the left to simultaneously argue she's so devious as to intentionally conjure up images of pogroms and to say she's an intellectual dope, a know-nothing."

First, there is not a single unitary left - different people have different opinions.

Second, intelligence is not unitary, either. It is quite possible to have the "queen bee" sense of how to manipulate emotions and perceptions as a means of swaying groups, and lack the ability to comprehend complex problems in other domains.

Third, one doesn't have to intend to conjur images of pogroms to know that "blood libel" is an inflamatory charge.

Finally, I've read nothing arguing the Palin's rhetoric was the sole cause of the assassination attempt or that accused her of wanting this. The charge is that heated rhetoric can create an inflamed atmosphere that increases the likelihood of such attacks. Palin said the very same thing herself in attacking her critics.

At least we agree that she shows herself incapable of constructive leadership.

Posted by: j3hess | January 12, 2011 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Unless other Republican candidates condemn Dems on this issue quickly in equally dramatic ways, Governor Palin will win millions of votes in GOP primaries by default for standing up for principles.

Governor Palin has opened the door. Will the boys follow? Or, will the boys wait to see how it plays out in public opinion and then throw in weak "me too's" when the hard lifting is over?

People will vote for someone who stands up for what he or she believes when the going is tough. If you want to be President, sometimes you have to pick a direction and go for it instead of standing on the sidelines.

Right now, that's Governor Palin and she has the field to herself. Shame on the boys who intend to later try to claim the mantle of leader.

Posted by: jfv123 | January 12, 2011 4:29 PM | Report abuse

I voted for Obama and would not have considered voting for McCain/Palin. Given the liberal fascination with Ms. Palin manifested by their continual covering of her, she might just be a viable candidate I would now vote for. Any other person would have wilted under the glare.

Posted by: jjlj | January 12, 2011 4:30 PM | Report abuse

"However, the climate that she and others have created ... is such, that people firmly believe that those [who] don't agree with conservative viewpoints are somehow un-American."
____________________________

You're certainly within your rights to suggest (even without being able to demonstrate it) that "[Palin] and others have created" a "climate" of the sort you describe. But let's not simply suppress the actual history of this entire discussion. This "climate" that you simply take for granted and then invoke is supposed to have influenced Jared Loughner to commit his appalling act. And whatever else you want to say, it's already clear that Loughner was not one of your supposed group of "people [who] firmly believe that those [who] don't agree with conservative viewpoints are somehow un-American." He has no such belief at all, even if the Krugmans of the world instantly insisted -- purely as a wishful fantasy born of mindless hatred for their political adversaries -- that he does. To all appearances, in fact, Loughner is so deranged that it's positively unbelievable that any actual current whatever out there in the real world would or could interface in some logical and predictable way with whatever it is that goes on in that head of his.

Posted by: Jeroboam | January 12, 2011 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Unless other Republican candidates condemn Dems on this issue quickly in equally dramatic ways, Governor Palin will win millions of votes in GOP primaries by default for standing up for principles.

Governor Palin has opened the door. Will the boys follow? Or, will the boys wait to see how it plays out in public opinion and then throw in weak "me too's" when the hard lifting is over?

People will vote for someone who stands up for what he or she believes when the going is tough. If you want to be President, sometimes you have to pick a direction and go for it instead of standing on the sidelines.

Right now, that's Governor Palin and she has the field to herself. Shame on the boys who intend to later try to claim the mantle of leader.

Posted by: jfv123 | January 12, 2011 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin is an unreconstructed American, someone whose instinct is to poke a stick in the eye of the pompous, the self-defined elite, the self-righteous liberal bourgeois. For that she has been monstrously libelled all sorts of ways. If a black personality had been so treated, the Justice Dept would have been called in.

Final insult. No one would wish to diminish the horror of the Jewish holocaust but for Jews to appropriate language as only applicable to their history gets right up my nose.Language is something we all share and are free to use as we will. This is known as freedom of speech.

Posted by: ginamallet | January 12, 2011 4:49 PM | Report abuse

My gosh, liberals are sick and miserable people.

2012 cannot come soon enough.

Posted by: DCer1 | January 12, 2011 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Yesterday, pundit show after show on MSNBC were crying out for Palin to speak up. Now that she has, liberals whine that she is making it about her. She never made this about her, liberals did. For her to come out and defend herself is perfectly justified. Would anyone dare to criticize an African American politician to defend him or herself from an unfounded racist attack? The left suffers from blind rage and bigotry with respect to Palin and others on the right and this whole episode makes that crystal clear. And, by the way, this is coming from someone who would not vote for her as President (me).

Posted by: RightOne | January 12, 2011 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like Sarah was the only victim of note from Saturday.

Posted by: shhhhh | January 12, 2011 4:58 PM | Report abuse

This is a supportable commentary with which I agree and the ADL statement is right-on. Palin, as has been clear for sometime, is not the brightest bulb on the tree and has no chance of being elected President. Her negatives are too high, as they should be and as evidened by the loss of her Senate candidate in her home state of Alaska. But she is not the embodiment of evil, and I suspect she will remain a useful tool for some on the left to try to scare voters into sticking with the Democrats.

Posted by: longbow1 | January 12, 2011 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Are you *smarties* ever going to learn the difference between "your" and "you're" ?! Your showing you're ignorabilityancy --thee they refudiates thus!

And they all got run over by a truck. :)

Posted by: aardunza | January 12, 2011 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Palin suffers from the thing most Republicans suffer from: they can NEVER admit that they were wrong--about anything.

Posted by: bb211 | January 12, 2011 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Still, we wish that Palin had not invoked the phrase "blood-libel" in reference to the actions of journalists and pundits in placing blame for the shooting in Tucson on others.

~~~
But, she did.


Liberals have not missed the boat on this one either, as some are insinuating.

Are we supposed to "excuse" another one of Palin's many "glitches", and especially with this one, comparing her self to some kind of Jewish Martyr, as if though she is the victim in this tragedy.

Somewhere the line has to be drawn, and Palin is either not mature or responsible enough to do either, or she and her handler's have some very serious leadership issues.

Posted by: lcarter0311 | January 12, 2011 5:15 PM | Report abuse

The media and governing elites’ scathing contempt for Sarah Palin is a reflection of their contempt for the “little people” that relate to her (me among them): She (and we “little people”) talk funny; live in the sticks; don’t have the proper education; don’t regurgitate the approved pieties; and (gasp) don’t believe our intellectual and moral betters in the media and government have all the answers. The depth and extent of this contempt has become glaringly apparent since Ms. Palin’s appearance on the national scene. It is a non-trivial factor in the growth of the Tea Party movement.

Posted by: Skeptic20 | January 12, 2011 5:22 PM | Report abuse

I think the press are getting a little self-defensive because Palin could easily sue the Washington Post, New York Times, MSNBC, et al. for libel and win quite easily.

All these outlets have published suggestions that Palin was responsible for the murders in Tucson without any proof whatsoever. Making those type of charges is the very definition of libel.

Palin fired a warning shot and the press didn't get it.

Journalists in general have abandoned the standards of their profession in this case. I think it's worth a reminder that the press is the only constitutionally-protected entity that does not have a series of checks and balances. As readers of the Washington Post, we need to provide that check by cancelling our subscriptions, writing letters to the editor (which will never be published) and supporting media outlets that are interested in reporting the truth (not necessarily Fox News).

Posted by: diehardlib | January 12, 2011 5:27 PM | Report abuse

WOW! The PDS raging here is quite something.

And the Liberals – projecting as usual – rant about a climate of hate.

Posted by: nvjma | January 12, 2011 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Sorry Jennifer but the Term BLOOD LIBEL was perfect for use in this situation where Palin has been smeared with baseless attacks. Jews do not own the English Language.

Posted by: dencal26 | January 12, 2011 5:30 PM | Report abuse

I have admired Rubin's commentary and agreed with her conservative point of view since meeting her at "Commentary and Contentions," particularly concerning Israel; however, I feel she has slithered into a PDS swamp when it comes to Sarah Palin. It has been quite clear for some time that she has a particular animus toward Palin and today's commentary amply demonstrates that sad fact.

"she plays Joan of Arc, the noble and wronged conservative"
"she "runs around berating the lamestream media"
"mindlessly parroting talk show and conservative lingo"
"intellectually she seems not understand what is going here"
"Many of her gaffes"
"video today that simply reinforce the impression that she is undisciplined, rash and unserious."

As some have posted here, this is quite pathetic. Indeed, if I did not know better, I would question whether Rubin even looked at Palin's video. Regrettably, she probably did, her filter of disdain and dislike in full operation mode.

But saner reactions may prevail such as this one from Alan Dershowitz:

"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."

I really see no difference between Rubin's attack (yet again and increasingly venomous)) on Palin and the comments of Krugman, Olbermann, Mathews, KOS, The New York Times, et. al., directed at FOX, conservatives and talk radio. Dr. Krauthamer concludes his brilliant commentary in today's Washington Post with, "The origins of Loughner's delusions are clear: mental illness. What are the origins of Krugman's?" One might well ask, what is the origin of Rubin's bizarre attitude toward Palin? It seems to go beyond mere political difference to something much deeper and personal.
Sad!

Posted by: DocC1 | January 12, 2011 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: rj2008 | January 12, 2011 4:14 PM

“The video has now been pulled from her Facebook page. {Followed by typical Liberal condescending sneering.}

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The video has not been pulled from her Facebook page. This cheap trick is simultaneously old and juvenile. It is such a nuisance dealing with Liberals.

Posted by: nvjma | January 12, 2011 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Oh, we understand all right. Simply put, we're sick and tired of liberals: liberal arrogance, liberal bias, liberal stupidity. You can add anything else you want here. We're sick and tired of liberals thinking they own this country and that we have to follow their lead. It's not going to happen!

Posted by: georges2 | January 12, 2011 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Jen,

Just two days ago you linked to and quoted approvingly Glenn Reynolds' piece in the Wall Street Journal not just including "blood libel" in the text but in the actual title.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/right-turn/2011/01/morning_bits_33.html

How come Reynolds gets your kudos but Palin gets your blame?

Posted by: TD01 | January 12, 2011 5:43 PM | Report abuse

All these outlets have published suggestions that Palin was responsible for the murders in Tucson without any proof whatsoever. Making those type of charges is the very definition of libel.

=====

hmnf. I wonder what they'd call calling somebody a "kenyan anticolonialist" or perhaps challenging their citizenship or calling them a socialist? I wonder if that's all libel too? Oh wait. That's different.

Posted by: mikem1 | January 12, 2011 5:45 PM | Report abuse

And this from Rubin's pal, Jonathan Tobin, at her former blog site:
RE: Palin and the Blood Libel
JONATHAN S. TOBIN - 01.12.2011 - 5:29 PM
As Sarah Palin has just learned, keeping up with the rules about using phrases that are associated with Jewish history is not as simple as it used to be. I was under the impression that the list of phrases that were considered off limits for general consumption was confined more or less to those associated with the Holocaust. Meaning, for instance, that the use of the word “holocaust” should be confined to discussion of events surrounding the genocide of Jews in Europe between 1933 and 1945. But even that stricture has been hard to enforce. Indeed, when an episode of the TV show The X-Files once referred to the mysterious death of amphibians in a lake as a “frog holocaust,” you knew that the word had become more of a metaphor than a specific historical term.

But when it comes to some people, the rules are apparently even more stringent than any of us might have thought. Thus, today Sarah Palin is being widely condemned for using the term “blood libel” when referencing the slanderous suggestions that she is in some way connected to the tragedy in Arizona. According to those who claim that Palin has somehow caused pain to the Jewish people, it is wrong to use that phrase to describe anything other than the false accusation that Jews kidnap and murder Christian children and use their blood to help bake matzoh for Passover. This canard was popularized during the Middle Ages by European Christians and has been revived in recent decades in the Arab world as Jew-hatred has become an unfortunate staple of contemporary Islamic culture.

But the idea that this term cannot be used to describe anything else is something new. Granted, most of the uses of this phrase that come quickly to mind have had Jewish associations. For example, the accusation that right-wing Zionists were behind the murder of Haim Arlosoroff, a Labor Zionist official who was killed on a Tel Aviv beach in 1933, has always been called a “blood libel” by those who believed the failed effort to pin the killing on Labor’s Jewish opposition was a political plot to discredit them. In just the past couple of years, the term “blood libel” has been applied by writers here at COMMENTARY to describe the false charges put forward by Human Rights Watch and the UN Goldstone Commission against Israeli forces fighting Hamas terrorists in Gaza, as well as to the malicious falsehoods published by a Swedish newspaper that claimed Israel was murdering Palestinians and then harvesting their organs for medical use.

So the claim that Palin has crossed some bright line in the sand and “stolen” a phrase that has always and should always be used to describe only one thing is absurd. Like so much else that has been heard from the left in the wake of the shootings in Arizona, this further charge against Sarah Palin is groundless. The fact is, those who are trying to link her

Posted by: DocC1 | January 12, 2011 5:48 PM | Report abuse

So let me ask you this. Let's say (God forbid) a shooting of a Democratic politician does happen by somebody who is worried about liberals taking away their guns/health care/freedoms, etc, etc. Is it because of the overheated rhetoric or just because it's a deranged person?

Now let's say a muslim shoots up an RNC meeting. Is it because he's a Muslim or because he's a deranged person?

Posted by: mikem1 | January 12, 2011 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Palin wins again simply by engaging and exposing the frauds in the 'elite'. I never thought Ms. Rubin had the elitist disease before this post however. I suspect it's reversible at this early stage. I sure hope so...


Posted by: metanis | January 12, 2011 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Sarah's hateful words had consequences:

"Sarah Palin blamed by the US Secret Service over death threats against Barack Obama"

The Telegraph
By Tim Shipman in Washington 2:01PM GMT 08 Nov 2008

"The Republican vice presidential candidate attracted criticism for accusing Mr Obama of "palling around with terrorists", citing his association with the sixties radical William Ayers.

The attacks provoked a near lynch mob atmosphere at her rallies, with supporters yelling "terrorist" and "kill him" until the McCain campaign ordered her to tone down the rhetoric.

But it has now emerged that her demagogic tone may have unintentionally encouraged white supremacists to go even further.

The Secret Service warned the Obama family in mid October that they had seen a dramatic increase in the number of threats against the Democratic candidate, coinciding with Mrs Palin's attacks.

Michelle Obama, the future First Lady, was so upset that she turned to her friend and campaign adviser Valerie Jarrett and said: "Why would they try to make people hate us?"


The revelations, contained in a Newsweek history of the campaign, are likely to further damage Mrs Palin's credentials as a future presidential candidate. She is already a frontrunner, with Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, to take on Mr Obama in four years time.

Details of the spike in threats to Mr Obama come as a report last week by security and intelligence analysts Stratfor, warned that he is a high risk target for racist gunmen. It concluded: "Two plots to assassinate Obama were broken up during the campaign season, and several more remain under investigation. We would expect federal authorities to uncover many more plots to attack the president that have been hatched by white supremacist ideologues."

Irate John McCain aides, who blame Mrs Palin for losing the election, claim Mrs Palin took it upon herself to question Mr Obama's patriotism, before the line of attack had been cleared by Mr McCain.

That claim is part of a campaign of targeted leaks designed to torpedo her ambitions, with claims that she did not know that Africawas a continent rather than a country.

The advisers have branded her a "diva" and a "whack job" and claimed that she did not know which other countries are in the North American Free Trade Area, (Canada and Mexico). They say she spent more than $150,000 on designer clothes, including $40,000 on her husband Todd and that she refused to prepare for the disastrous series of interviews with CBS's Katie Couric.

In a bid to salvage her reputation Mrs Palin came out firing in an interview with CNN, dismissing the anonymous leakers in unpresidential language as "jerks" who had taken "questions or comments I made in debate prep out of context."

She said: "I consider it cowardly. It's not true. That's cruel, it's mean-spirited, it's immature, it's unprofessional and those guys are jerks if they came away taking things out of context and then tried to spread something on national news.."

Posted by: BobSanderson | January 12, 2011 6:12 PM | Report abuse

This is worth reposting...

Palin and Beck and the rest don't get it. Whether it is of the vast left wing conspiracy or the media, they just love being the victim, and that is the height of hypocrisy. The hard truth is this: Palin has decided that as part of her political persona, she is going to use extreme, aggressive, in your face, and threatening language and imagery to dehumanize and marginalize her opponents. Fine, that’s her right. But now, when people respond in kind because of a senseless and tragic event that more or less mirrors the imagery and language she uses, she is the victim? Please. She is incapable of bearing responsibility or showing humility. Had she said, "In light of what happened in Tucson we regret our use of unfortunate images and language in the election, and never intended for it to be construed as wanting to cause harm to anyone. We are shocked that this sick individual did this and will work to do whatever it takes to make sure these sorts of tragedies never occur again" she would probably deflect much of this. But no, Sarah nor the right can never admit to being wrong, or mistaken, or in error, not when there is an opportunity to cast themselves as the victim. If you need to be reminded just how dangerous and extreme the noise from the right and Palin's beloved Tea Party has been, take a look here - http://wp.me/pNmlT-AK

Posted by: va2009 | January 12, 2011 6:21 PM | Report abuse

I read Mr. Foxman's statement and I thought it was excellent. Alan Dershowitz also made a supportive statement regarding Ms. Palin's correct usage of the term.

http://biggovernment.com/publius/2011/01/12/exclusive-alan-dershowitz-defends-sarah-palins-use-of-term-blood-libel/

Posted by: ZZim | January 12, 2011 6:32 PM | Report abuse

We're not just talking about the left-wing anymore. We're talking about major components of the Old Media.
I shudder to think back over the last forty years and contemplate how many other events in American history have been so throughly distorted and exploited as this, NOT by political hacks, but by "professional" journalists, commentators and reporters.
In less than 24 hours, the American Media Machine began manufacturing "their" suspect: white; conservative; bitter; crazy, etc., etc., etc. I wonder when we'll see "their" version of the victim?
Gee, I wonder what happens when the real facts get in the way of their fantasies?
I advise EVERY American to throughly challenge EVERY bit of information that oozes from the sewers of America's schlerotic/neurotic/psychotic Old Media, especially when that incident intersects with their political theories.
Do not go gentle into that foul "progressive" night, America!

Posted by: BigSea | January 12, 2011 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Big Sea,

It was exacty like this when JFK was shot. Cronkite, Severaid, Hugh Downs, Douglas Edwards, etc. all bemoaned the climate of hate in Dallas, and they were furiously looking for the John Bircher responsible. When the shooter turned out to be a Soviet visitor who belonged to a Fair Play for Cuba Comittee, the shooting was no longer political. Oswald was a disturbed loner.

Posted by: Inagua1 | January 12, 2011 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Leave it to Palin to never waste an opportunity to paint herself as the biggest victim. The really sad thing is she believes it.

Posted by: david48 | January 12, 2011 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Sarah's in trouble. Her new career as a reality TV star collapsed within hours of the murders in Arizona. America won't support Grizzly Mamas who literally target the political opposition. Now, she's coming back into the Republican fold. Peddle fear and hatred. Distort, distract and divide. Incite political violence and then accuse anyone who objects of using the incident to take away 1st and 2nd amendment rights.

She has been brought to heel and will serve her corporate masters well. The New American Fascist Party has its Queen back.

Posted by: thebobbob | January 12, 2011 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Would anyone have been surprised if it was a right-winger responding to Palin et. al.'s calls to "defend our freedoms" and "second amendment solutions" and "watering the tree of liberty with the blood of tyrants"?

Really?

Methinks the lady (and the conservative establishment) doth protest too much.

Posted by: mikem1 | January 12, 2011 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Now imagine if Barack Obama had issued a statement where he denounced his critics and the media of engaging in "blood libel" against him- do you think Rubin would be defending him like she is Palin? Of course not. She'd be denouncing him loud and clear and probably calling him an anti-Semite. But because she is more in line ideologically with Palin, it's all pretty much ok.

The total hypocrisy of the right is just jaw-dropping.

I can't help but wonder if Abe Foxman's statement would have been so restrained if Palin didn't hold all the "right" views on Israel. He has a tendency to give people a pass so long as they pass his pro-Israel litmus test.

Just wondering.

Posted by: Stacyx | January 12, 2011 7:01 PM | Report abuse

"The media and governing elites’ scathing contempt for Sarah Palin is a reflection of their contempt for the “little people” that relate to her (me among them): She (and we “little people”) talk funny; live in the sticks; don’t have the proper education; don’t regurgitate the approved pieties; and (gasp) don’t believe our intellectual and moral betters in the media and government have all the answers."

I relate to you because I always was and will be one of the little people who detest elites and the media.

But Sarah Palin isn't your champion. She is the agent and employee of those very elites, and what they pay her millions for is to convince people like you that voting Republican will benefit you when the exact opposite is the truth. Why do you think they plucked her out of there and gave her book deals and jets and millions of dollars, to fight for little people like yourself?

Now back to your regularly scheduled my-Jewish-language-authority-is-more-authoritative-than-yours dueling expert witnesses.

Posted by: getjiggly2 | January 12, 2011 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Everyone should be surprised that the term "blood libel" was read by Palin off a telemprompter and not off one of her hands. Or off a cheat sheet. Or off the kid sitting next to her. Or the book she left open on the floor. Or off her cell phone. Or off an e-mail on her computer.

Posted by: fishman2 | January 12, 2011 8:13 PM | Report abuse

I voted for Ms Palin simply because I believe that at this point in time a vote for any republican over any democrat is best for the country. I would have preferred a more experienced candidate. Since then I have not paid much attention to her activities until they attracted so much critical attention from the usual members of the media and late night talk show hosts. I decided to pay some attention and decide for myself why she seems to excite so much strong opinions from both sides of the political spectrum. At first I felt her TV shows on Alaska risk allowing people too much information about her daily life but after watching several of her TV specials she is coming across as a real person, not made up from some publicist’s story board. She seems to be a totally normal person who has simply been handed some non-typical opportunities and she is running with them. A "more normal" opportunity for a politician would probably be a staff job to another politician. It is easy to see how she appeals to so many of the middle America folks whose lives are not dotted with private schools, privileged families, more money than needed, and even debutant activities. She is actively involved with the family businesses and understands the importance of the hard work and discipline needed to survive let alone progress. She is the product of a more normal background than say Hillary Clinton. Hillary went to the best and most expensive private schools. Sarah is the product of public schools and little known colleges. She actually gets her hands dirty with the blood and guts of animals we use for food. I can not imagine Nancy Pelosi doing any of these things. She actually seems to respect and love her husband, a man of Eskimo and European parentage that probably would not be the choice of very many Washington political families. She features her husband doing “his thing”. Most other women in high profile positions seem to keep their husbands in the background. (Perhaps because of fear of the family history or publicity seeking spouses? Pelosi and Ferraro, Clinton. As a PS I am second generation Italian-American so I harbor no prejudices against Pelosi and Ferraro.) She actually seems to know what she is doing in normal family situations – cooking, child discipline, family chores. She does not back down from or attempt to hide the problems of a family – a Downs Syndrome child and a teen aged daughter pregnancy are what we know. When attacked she takes the “punches” and “keeps on keeping on”. For some reason she draws these attacks like a lightening rod. I suspect that these attacks are the result of the elite liberal left needing to destroy someone like Sarah Palin else their “story” would be deemed too shallow.

Posted by: fcrucian | January 12, 2011 8:55 PM | Report abuse

The typical leftie poster does not represent the majority in America. Polls show the majority, even as high as 69% reject the notion that rhetoric is to blame. The typical leftie poster, if Palin's name is mentioned, they go beserk and start slamming her for everything that she does.
This phonomena occured with Bush. It was called Bush Deranged Syndrome. Now the same is happening to Palin, sort of a transferance of mental illness. I am sure pyschiatrists could have a field day perusing the typical article and comments that invokes Palin's name. There is seriously something wrong with these people, in their brains. Americans admire Palin...voted second most admired in America again this year.
All this hate on Palin is driving the silent majority away from the Democrats. In 2010, major wins were made by Republicans, despite all the hate on Palin. Palin was a big get out the vote engine, and people, lots of people like her.
She certianly can't run for President, the lunatic fringe in the Dem party, the PDS sufferers are already making unprecedented death threats towards her. I really think the media won't be happy till Palin is murdered . The media gives a forum for the insane rantings of liberal lunatics. Check out the postings on any comment board here where Palin's name is mentioned. It will make a normal person sick.
For the media to allow the comments that include death threats ... is truely reprehensible. Where is the shame WP?
Unfortunately you liberals didn't learn in the elections in 2010, people are sick of the liberals... and the Dem party is viewed by the majority of people as the party of Demons and insane people.
The Dems better get their lunatic PDS sufferers in check, or 2012 will look like a stampede to the REpub side.
If anything happens to Palin or her family, the condemnation towards the Dems will destroy your party for decades.. Palin will be a martyr.
Conservatives in this country will rise up and vote the liberal lunatics out for a long long time. The Dem party is looking moe and more like it is filled marxist, commie, and BDS and PDS lunatics. Isn't there any rational Dems left in your party?

Posted by: rickshawjim | January 12, 2011 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Rubin, for being more "country" than "politics".

We need more of this at this time.

Posted by: binkynh | January 12, 2011 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin has shown that she does not have an original bone in her hill billy body nor an original thought. She just followed two uneducated bullies. Beck and that pill popping drug dealing Limbaugh.

Posted by: diahhna | January 12, 2011 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Well, some really cogent conservative comments, among them:
rsbsail1 | January 12, 2011 2:17 PM
cajunkate | January 12, 2011 2:39 PM
clarice2 | January 12, 2011 3:47 PM
DocC1 | January 12, 2011 5:32 PM

with whom I agree on some or all points. And, of course, the idiotic take of the leftists who buy this rag.

Seriously, Jennifer, you're about to become Kathleen Parker II in your take on Sarah Palin. Now, I don't see Sarah as presidential material (nor do I think, does she). Still, she came to us as a fresh face from far-off Alaska, highly regarded as governor of her state, having done some things we conservatives saw as good. And immediately ran into a buzz-saw of people, mostly idiot leftists but unfortunately including some who claimed (claims now highly suspect or debunked) to be conservatives. This buzz-saw of opinion damned her for just about everything in her entire life and experience. Here lately, she's blamed by some of the sicker leftists of being the proximate cause of a madman's actions in Arizona.

Well, Sarah deserves little or none of the foregoing iniquity that's been heaped on her. I applaud her spunkiness in fighting back against these witless villains. It's sort of like throwing stones at a hornet's nest.

I'm going to stop reading any article by you (I have generally enjoyed and mainly agreed for a long time with what you post) when I see the words "Sarah Palin" mentioned. I read absolutely nothing written by Kathleen Parker these days, and many other conservatives apparently also ignore her. You seem to be putting yourself on the same trajectory. We'll figure out what to do with Sarah without reference to your constant disparagement of the woman.

Posted by: jafco | January 12, 2011 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Not interested. Sorry for Palin: Sarah Crosshairs. She has no place in our country's political dialogue.

Posted by: dudh | January 12, 2011 9:43 PM | Report abuse

The typical leftie poster does not represent the majority in America. Polls show the majority, even as high as 69% reject the notion that rhetoric is to blame. The typical leftie poster, if Palin's name is mentioned, they go beserk and start slamming her for everything that she does.
This phonomena occured with Bush. It was called Bush Deranged Syndrome. Now the same is happening to Palin, sort of a transferance of mental illness. I am sure pyschiatrists could have a field day perusing the typical article and comments that invokes Palin's name. There is seriously something wrong with these people, in their brains. Americans admire Palin...voted second most admired in America again this year.
All this hate on Palin is driving the silent majority away from the Democrats. In 2010, major wins were made by Republicans, despite all the hate on Palin. Palin was a big get out the vote engine, and people, lots of people like her.
She certianly can't run for President, the lunatic fringe in the Dem party, the PDS sufferers are already making unprecedented death threats towards her. I really think the media won't be happy till Palin is murdered . The media gives a forum for the insane rantings of liberal lunatics. Check out the postings on any comment board here where Palin's name is mentioned. It will make a normal person sick.
For the media to allow the comments that include death threats ... is truely reprehensible. Where is the shame WP?
Unfortunately you liberals didn't learn in the elections in 2010, people are sick of the liberals... and the Dem party is viewed by the majority of people as the party of Demons and insane people.
The Dems better get their lunatic PDS sufferers in check, or 2012 will look like a stampede to the REpub side.
If anything happens to Palin or her family, the condemnation towards the Dems will destroy your party for decades.. Palin will be a martyr.
Conservatives in this country will rise up and vote the liberal lunatics out for a long long time. The Dem party is looking moe and more like it is filled marxist, commie, and BDS and PDS lunatics. Isn't there any rational Dems left in your party?

Posted by: rickshawjim | January 12, 2011 9:22 PM | Report abuse
...................

rickswahjim: Either you have a drinking problem, or you really need to think about your attitude, or both.

You sound like some self-absorbed, drunk someone who's stumbling down some hotel hallway at 2:00 AM in some irrational and embarrassing rage against the Jamaican maid who only left you one mint instead of the promised two mints.

In other words, you sound like an as*h*le.

Posted by: binkynh | January 12, 2011 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Palin and Beck and the rest don't get it. Whether it is of the vast left wing conspiracy or the media, they just love being the victim, and that is the height of hypocrisy. The hard truth is this: Palin has decided that as part of her political persona, she is going to use extreme, aggressive, in your face, and threatening language and imagery to dehumanize and marginalize her opponents.
==============
You are a typical PDS sufferer. Palin has done none of the above. You are hearing voices in your delusional head! And for the record, Palin and Beck do not play the victum. Really its true.
Excuse me, what exactly has she said that is anymore inflamitory than the likes of
Ex-Rep. Paul Kanjorski, D-Pa., who pens an op-ed in the New York Times to be civil.
Words from Kanju back in Oct 201o, "That Scott down there that’s running for governor of Florida,” Mr. Kanjorski said. “Instead of running for governor of Florida, they ought to have him and shoot him. Put him against the wall and shoot him. He stole billions of dollars from the United States government and he’s running for governor of Florida. He’s a millionaire and a billionaire. He’s no hero. He’s a damn crook. It’s just we don’t prosecute big crooks.”

Is that the proper speech coming from a Dem?
Palin's article had nothing, NOTHING divisive in it. It was well written, humble and in no way inciting violence.

The use of cross hairs, militant imagery has been used by the Dems and Repubs in campaigns forever! I have read Palin's writings, nothing in there that is inflamitory or calling for anarchy. Her views reflect mine and I too want a government that is NOT over bloated, over taxing and spending, debt ridden to the point it is broke, over regulating, and oppressive. Most people in polls agree with me. Most people also do not like the direction this country is going either... as high as 70%. Palin uses words that motivates people to get out and vote... it isn't divisive unless you think only the Dem way is the right way. It is encouraging to us that don't like the Dem agenda. Is that divisive?
Anyway, I have had enough of the liberals. If there is any rational Dems left out there let me know. Scewering Palin because she speaks for me.. is not divisive .it encourages me to vote the Dems out.
Which we will ... will the last Dem sitting please flush the toilet and put the lid down .

Posted by: rickshawjim | January 12, 2011 9:50 PM | Report abuse

This is a blood libel against her. If you understand English, she is being libeled as an accessory to or instigator of murder, and therefore supposedly has blood on her hands.

The Jews do not have copyright on the phrase "blood libel." Yes, it can refer to a specific accusation/reason for violence against Jews in Europe in the Middle Ages (and, occasionally, is used today by Muslim extremists against Jews). But in the English language it can have other definitions.

In the same way, the term "holocaust" does not only and forever apply strictly to what happened to the Jews in Nazi Germany. Both of these terms/phrases can be applied to other situations which fit the standard definition of the terms in English.

This column is beneath you, Ms. Rubin.

Posted by: TheRoadGoesEverOn | January 12, 2011 9:57 PM | Report abuse

All these outlets have published suggestions that Palin was responsible for the murders in Tucson without any proof whatsoever. Making those type of charges is the very definition of libel.

=====

hmnf. I wonder what they'd call calling somebody a "kenyan anticolonialist" or perhaps challenging their citizenship or calling them a socialist? I wonder if that's all libel too? Oh wait. That's different.

Posted by: mikem1
====================
mikem1... which news outlets have posted the above about Obama?
Some little blog on the internet?
What we are talking about here, is MSM outlets accussing Palin of inciting murder. With no proof. The MSM would be a lot easier to sue for libel than some little blog on the internet.

Posted by: rickshawjim | January 12, 2011 10:22 PM | Report abuse

I just got here, and this is fascinating stuff. First of all, the "blood libel" complaint is just as ridiculous as the "cross hairs" one. She has been accused, by leading leftists like Paul Krugman, and by thousands of following ones (as evidenced by the comments on this blog for the last few days), of having blood on her hands. Conservatives have been using the term for a couple of days--suddenly, now that Palin uses it, it's beyond the pale? (By the way, did you know that the "Pale of Settlement" was the area the Jews were restricted to in Czarist Russia....)

Second, no one, starting with Rubin herself, has said what is wrong with Palin's speech--"the video was awful" (by a Republican operative, no less!--perhaps one Rubin has on call for dismissive remarks about Palin) doesn't really do it.

Third, I have yet to see examples of all this "dehumanizing" and "aggressive" language Palin supposedly uses. The only example I noticed in the above comments was the "paling around with terrorists" line from the 08 campaign. That's it? And, are you kidding?

Finally, much of the criticism of Palin's use of "blood libel" here has, ultimately, circled back to the claim "but she's guilty!"

Palin's role in contemporary politics is remarkable. There is a whole fantasy world constructed around her, a demonology, in which a great deal has been invested--by many Republicans just as much as leftists. Like anti-semitism itself (no, I'm not saying that hatred of Palin is comparable to anti-semitism), it seems to me that this hatred will drive those possessed by it to destruction. It's still too soon to tell on that, though.

Posted by: adam62 | January 12, 2011 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Someone at the ADL is quoted as saying:

"While the term "blood-libel" has become part of the English parlance to refer to someone being falsely accused, we wish that Palin had used another phrase, instead of one so fraught with pain in Jewish history."

The belief that a person or a group of persons can own a word or phrase would be laughable if it did not give rise to the fear that those who hold this belief are quite simply superstitious in the way that very young children can be superstitious and the way that very primitive peoples have always been superstitious. To give support to such nonsense is to undermine civilization's triumph over those who burn widows on the husband's funeral pyre. You really, really should be above this. The phrase "blood libel" has an absolutely clear meaning and nothing that the ADL has to say about that phrase can add to the literal meaning of the phrase. What Ms. Palin said, if I may translate for the linguistically challenged, is that the Left knowingly made the false claim that she was responsible for the shootings and that, for that reason, had blood on her hands. Use the words, Ms. Rubin, but do not comment on them because you are neither philosopher nor philologist.

Posted by: JohnMarshall3 | January 12, 2011 11:32 PM | Report abuse

After reading this commentary, the comments that it invoked, and commentary and comments from across the rest of the web, I have decided to blame America's educational system.

If our schools were to offer courses on our use of propaganda during WWII, for instance, then perhaps the members of our right would recognize its use and so be less easily swayed, while our left would recognize that Palin's "targeted" web page is/was just a small piece of a much broader propaganda effort and lighten up on her.

Although "propaganda effort" is...myopic; psyop would now be more appropriate.

Posted by: ibsteve2u | January 13, 2011 12:17 AM | Report abuse

With all the discussion of how appropriate Palin's use of the "Blood Libel" was, the substance of what she said has been left largelyunexamined. I have to quote a really intelligent letter that was submitted to the Boston.com
Yog-Sothoth wrote:
It's fascinating that Palin could loudly proclaim in one paragraph that political speech does not cause violence:

"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 . . ."

and then accuse her enemies of fomenting violence through political speech

". . . journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn."

Well, which is it, Sarah? Does violent rhetoric encourage violence or not?

Not only is she a narcissist, she's really not too bright.

Posted by: Katriona | January 13, 2011 1:26 AM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin could have said: "Some people have tried to make this tragedy about me. In fact, it is about the victims." Instead, she agreed with her detractors that it is about her, and ended up looking small as a result.

Posted by: ptwaro | January 13, 2011 2:25 AM | Report abuse

She is not the first widely read observer to select "blood libel" as an appropriate description of recent rhetorical attacks.

LAW PROFESSOR Glenn Haren Reynolds used the same terminology in an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal last Monday.

Given his special knowledge of law, he probably has a pretty good handle on the significance of the term. No doubt, like Sarah Palin, that's PRECISELY WHY he selected it.

Which leaves us to wonder: who will now step forward and similarly ridicule Professor Reynolds for his "ignorant" use of the term?

Oh, of course, it would be those most guilty of blood libel ...

Posted by: mobileruss | January 13, 2011 2:31 AM | Report abuse

Doesn't anyone think that this is a triumphalist term of art, asserting that fundamentalist Christians are really the Chosen?
Many people are saying that Palin's political career is over, but judging by the comments on various sites, her base is highly pleased. I think there is a very good chance that with this speech, Palin has nabbed the Republican nomination. The other candidates could easily split the vote, leaving her on top.

Posted by: scientist1 | January 13, 2011 3:27 AM | Report abuse

"She then plays Joan of Arc, the noble and wronged conservative. "

---------------------

Nailed it, Jen!

St. Sarah Of Wasilla.

Posted by: Mannie_Davis | January 13, 2011 4:49 AM | Report abuse

Katriona,

Good point. Palin's political opponents did bring up the cross hair map to incite hatred or violence. She misconstued their benign motives.

Posted by: Inagua1 | January 13, 2011 7:43 AM | Report abuse

Oooops. I meant to say Palin's political opponents did not bring up the cross hairs map to incite hatred or violence.

Larger point: She was targeted by the Left for the map, and when she defended herself, she was accused of making the tragedy all about her.

Posted by: Inagua1 | January 13, 2011 8:01 AM | Report abuse

t has been reported that that she is exceedingly insulated from experienced voices by a mini-staff in Alaska and her husband.
---------

LOL! A typical RINO whining! Those "Experienced voices" are those who screwed and keep screwing our country. Palin is dead on that what the Left tries to pin on her is a blood libel. Turns out not only Jews can be falsely accused of that. To complain about Palin's use the term is like complaining about use of the word "slavery" while describing things other than African-American experience. Ridiculous

Posted by: pihto999 | January 13, 2011 8:25 AM | Report abuse

ptwaro:
Sarah Palin could have said: "Some people have tried to make this tragedy about me. In fact, it is about the victims." Instead, she agreed with her detractors that it is about her, and ended up looking small as a result.
----------------------------------------
You're so right! As George W. Bush's former press secretary Ari Fleischer said, ". . . it would have been even better if she . . . focused entirely on the bigger message of loss, tragedy and the greatness of our country and the strength of our people," instead of making it about Sarah.

Posted by: CherieOK | January 13, 2011 9:06 AM | Report abuse

"It's fascinating that Palin could loudly proclaim in one paragraph that political speech does not cause violence:

"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 . . ."

and then accuse her enemies of fomenting violence through political speech

". . . journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn."

Well, which is it, Sarah? Does violent rhetoric encourage violence or not?"

Palin could be clearer here, but, first, you can incite violence without thereby removing the responsiblity from the one who actually commits it; second, to say someone has inciting violence you actually have to show some link between the incitement and the violence (with responsibility for the violence still wholly with those who commit it); and, third, accusing someone of having the blood of innocent on their hands is, actually, incitement, whereas conventional tough political rhetoric isn't.

Palin is often determined, it seems, to find a way to turn her opponents' rhetoric back on them, which can interfere with her desire to maintain the opposition in clear terms. The problem is to find a way to deal with the fact that the most prominent kind of hate speech in today's politics is the kind that accuses the other of hate speech.

Posted by: adam62 | January 13, 2011 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Jennifer,

A well-written commentary. The use of the term "blood libel" was clearly accidental, but unfortunate. If you're going to have a scripted speech, run it by someone to check for howlers like this. In my work (scientific research), papers have to be refereed before they're published. Palin could use a couple of disinterested referees that she could trust.

I do think it's OTT to tar "the left" over the claims of a fake Palin pregnancy. That showed up on some online site, no? I doubt that you or the commentarati can find *any* mainstream liberal pundit who gave that scurrilous rumor credence.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | January 13, 2011 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Ms. Rubin, either you are a Republican hack or, if you are an honorable individual, perhaps it's time for you to do a little soul searching.

Posted by: jcp370 | January 13, 2011 2:10 PM | Report abuse

As someone who appreciates the majority of your commentary, I take issue with denigrating Sarah Palin for her use of the phrase "blood libel." WIth all respect to our Jewish friends, this term has come to hold much broader cultural meaning and application. People are welcome to dislike Sarah Palin for various reasons, but this critique is a cheap shot. A Wall Street Journal editorial invoked the same phrase to no discernable negative reaction. Such selective outrage indicates this is driven more by animus towards Palin than it is by concern to protect a revered term. The sobering carnage in Tucson — followed by frenzied judgments from leftward pundits and politicians eagerly condemning their ideological opponents — more than justifies its use. Fair-minded people are free to disagree about matters of semantic sensitivity and taste, but the specific medieval understanding of "blood libel" is far from an obvious "do-not-cross" line in our English language today. Sarah Palin vigorously supports Israel politically, appreciates its complex history and respects Jewish people personally. In terms of her comment's intentions, that is what counts on substance . . . and that should settle the matter.

Posted by: NHVerbivore | January 13, 2011 2:42 PM | Report abuse

I love setting here reading these posts from people trying to outdue each other concerning how much they know about Sarah Palin. I know this: she gets all kinds of free puliciity because you folks can't stop taking about her! In short she plays you like a cheap violin and you're too stupid to know it. But just remember, when she's President Sarah Palin you'll a whole new range of topics!

Posted by: MainelySteve | January 13, 2011 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Words have meaning, as Sarah Palin should know, since she has been crucifying Michelle Obama for the "first time in my adult life I have been proud" line for the better part of two years. Just because St. Sarah does not know the meaning or history of "blood libel" does not let her off the hook. That said, she is not clever enough to be anti-Semitic. As you said here, Jennifer, someone in her hermetically sealed camp undoubtedly cribbed the line from elsewhere on the web, and threw it in her presidential wannabe remarks.

Posted by: jaypem | January 13, 2011 6:56 PM | Report abuse

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