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Old 07-05-2009, 08:10 PM   #81
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I'm almost reluctant to post this, given the distaste some have expressed for the whole "rumour mill" side of things playing out, but I find this really compelling. It has an almost soap opera-ish quality to it. I'm not sure if it's because Alaska is such a relatively small community, and therefore things become magnified, or what it is, but it seems almost like a high schoolish squabble.

Alaskan blogger and radio show host Shannyn Moore was interviewed by MSNBC Friday evening, in the wake of the resignation notice. She spoke of the rumours about the Wasilla home and the sports complex, stating unequivocally that they are rumours. Since then, Palin's attorney has written a letter to Moore, threatening legal action. While I'm certainly no legal expert, it seems to me that this hardly qualifies as defamation.

Palin attorney decries 'defamatory' rumors: Gov. Sarah Palin | adn.com

Quote:
Palin attorney decries 'defamatory' rumors

LEGAL ACTION: Speculation flies in wake of governor's resignation.

By SEAN COCKERHAM
scockerham@adn.com

Published: July 4th, 2009 07:54 PM
Last Modified: July 5th, 2009 12:35 AM

Gov. Sarah Palin's personal attorney issued a statement Saturday denouncing rumors that Palin resigned because she is under criminal investigation and threatening legal action for publishing "defamatory" material about the governor.

"I can say definitively I am aware of no criminal investigation whatsoever involving Sarah Palin. Zero," Palin's attorney, Thomas Van Flein, said in a phone interview as he attended the Fourth of July festivities on the Delaney Park Strip in Anchorage.

Earlier in the day, Palin's personal spokeswoman, Meg Stapleton, sent out a statement from Van Flein attacking "false and defamatory allegations that the 'real' reasons for Governor Palin's resignation stem from an alleged criminal investigation pertaining to the construction of the Wasilla Sports Complex."

Rumors that Palin steered contracts for the 2003 construction of the Wasilla Sports Complex before leaving office as Wasilla mayor the previous fall, in return for work building her home about the same time, have been around at least since the vice presidential campaign last fall. They've resurfaced on many Web sites this weekend following her abrupt announcement she will resign from office in three weeks. Palin's house, almost 3,500 square feet with four bedrooms and four baths, is on a two-acre site along scenic Lake Lucille in Wasilla and is assessed at $532,500.

Van Flein wrote in his Saturday letter that the Palin family built the Lake Lucille house using Palin's husband, Todd, as general contractor. It said Todd "is no stranger to construction."

"The Palins used a combination of personal savings, equity from the sale of their private home, and conventional bank financing to build the house, like millions of American families" Van Flein wrote.

Van Flein's letter threatening legal action specifically pointed the finger at Alaska blogger Shannyn Moore as "most notably" claiming as "fact" that Palin resigned under federal investigation.

Van Flein, asked why he singled out Moore, said it's because she went on national television and talked about it. Moore was on with MSNBC's David Shuster on Friday, the day Palin said she will resign.

"There is a scandal rumor here that there is a criminal investigation into some activities and that's been rumored for about, I don't know, probably six weeks or two months," Moore told him.

She said she's never seen Palin appear as nervous as she did at the press conference announcing her resignation and "I think she was actually doing damage control for news that's coming up later."

Van Flein wrote that "we will be exploring legal options this week to address such defamation." In an interview, Van Flein said it's not clear what those options might be. His letter cites the freedom of speech clause in the Alaska Constitution, and its statement that "every person may freely speak, write, and publish on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right."

Anchorage attorney Peter Maassen, who last fall successfully defended legislators sued in an effort to stop the "Troopergate" investigation of the governor, said Van Flein would have an extremely hard time winning any legal action.

"If (Palin) is actually a public figure, which clearly she is, there has to be actual malice involved, in my understanding of defamation law. That would be very hard to prove. ... It's a very, very high bar if it is a public figure," he said.

Moore said she always characterized it as rumors and never claimed it was fact. She said she has no idea if Palin is under investigation for the construction of her house or anything else, but that the governor's resignation from office was so out of character it's raising questions about what's going on.

"I haven't defamed the governor, I reported on speculation and rumor in Alaska. ... It's not my rumor; it's been out there for 10 months and the First Amendment protects me," Moore said. "Even if I didn't say it's 'rumors and speculation,' I'm still protected -- I would just lose credibility, which I'm not willing to do."

Van Flein wrote that his letter "is to provide notice to Ms. Moore, and those who re-publish this defamation, such as Huffington Post, MSNBC, the New York Times and the Washington Post, that the Palins will not allow them to propagate defamatory material without answering to this in a court of law."

The New York Times and Washington Post haven't written anything about this, but Van Flein said he believed they were asking questions. "What I've been informed is that they've been interviewing people in Wasilla about this, and have tried to interview the governor's parents about it," Van Flein said.

His letter said the Wasilla sports complex project was publicly bid and that having Spenard Builders Supply involved in the complex work as well as being a source of materials for the Palin home proves nothing. "Prior to the construction of Lowe's and Home Depot within the last few years in Wasilla, Spenard Builders Supply was the primary building supply company in Wasilla. It can hardly come as a surprise that it would sell materials to small homeowners or that it would also bid to supply commercial contracts," the letter said.
Moore's response:

Shannyn Moore Will Not Be Muzzled! � SHANNYN MOORE: JUST A GIRL FROM HOMER

Quote:

I’m holding a press conference today at 2pm ADT/6pm EDT in front of Governor Palin’s Anchorage office. My prepared statement is below. I will be taking questions.


On the Fourth of July, when Americans everywhere were celebrating our most sacred national holiday with parades and barbeques, Governor Sarah Palin was busy having me, Shannyn Moore, declared an Enemy of the State.

In a rambling quasi-legal letter, the most powerful person in this state accused me of defaming her for pointing out the fact that there have been rumors, -rumors- of corruption, rumors that have been around for years.

When Sarah Palin gave her three-weeks notice to the people of Alaska, aborting her term as Governor, a lot of people wondered why she quit. Mid-level managers turn-in their notice, not elected public officials. It didn’t make sense. It still doesn’t. People have been trying to guess why she really quit, and everyone in Alaska has been playing the guessing game. They’re rumors. There are a lot of rumors. And with all the corruption we’ve had here in Alaska, of course we wonder what’s really behind her resignation.

Governors don’t just quit. But Governor Palin did.

The governor’s massive overreaction -on the Fourth of July no less- should make any reasonable person wonder what’s wrong with her. The Lady protests way too much. Eventually we’ll all find out why she really walked off the job.

Sarah Palin is a coward and a bully. What kind of politician attacks an ordinary American on the Fourth of July for speaking her mind? What’s wrong with her? The First Amendment was designed to protect people like me from the likes of people like her. Our American Revolution got rid of kings. And queens, too. Am I jacked-up? You betcha.

Sarah Palin, if you have a problem with me, then sue me. Shannyn Moore will not be muzzled!

Meanwhile, reaction to this turn of events is raising hackles in the blogosphere. Alaskan bloggers seem to be a close-knit group:

AKMuckraker: Huffington Post Blogger Shannyn Moore in Palin's Cross Hairs (UPDATED - Press Conference in Anchorage)

Quote:
There is an old expression which says, "In a crisis, do nothing." Wise words indeed, which means that soon-to-be-ex-governor Sarah Palin no doubt would never heed them. She's sort of adopted another philosophy. It's more like, "In a crisis, fly off the handle, be reactionary and threaten to sue someone for defamation in the hopes of intimidating the entire blogosphere and all national print and televised media into not talking about something." I'm not an oddsmaker, but this strategy seems destined to become a crumpled up tin can on the refuse pile of epic failure.

There's no doubt that the week has been a bad one for the governor. It started with an unflattering Vanity Fair article. This was followed by a CBS piece detailing several leaked emails in which she asked the McCain campaign to lie about Todd Palin's 7-year membership in a secessionist party. McCain strategist Steve Schmidt responded to her request saying that Todd was a member, and it was a secessionist party and he wasn't going to create an issue in the media if it didn't exist already, nor would he lie for her.

"The statement you are suggesting be released would be inaccurate. The inaccuracy would bring greater media attention to this matter and be a distraction. According to your staff there have been no media inquiries into this and you received no questions about it during your interviews. If you are asked about it you should smile and say many Alaskans who love their country join the party because it speaks to a tradition of political independence. Todd loves his country.


We will not put out a statement and inflame this and create a situation where john has to adress this."

Palin's week culminated, of course, in a strange, twitchy, impulsive announcement from her home on the shore of Lake Lucille, that she would be stepping down from office, and resigning. The last time Alaskans were this gobsmacked by the governor was when she said 'yes' to John McCain when he popped the question back in August.

Her reason for resigning? Here's where it got really strange. The media was unfair. People were filing ethics complaints against her. Bloggers were making silly photoshops. She didn't want to be a lame duck. The state would be better off without her. We kept waiting to hear the real reason, the reason that would explain it all. We waited for the reason that would come at the end, after all the silly stuff. But it never came. That was it.

We were left scratching our heads. A woman who was the Vice Presidential candidate for the Republican Party, and who has been deemed in some circles to be a plausible contender for her party's presidential nominee in 2012, is quitting her job as governor, 17 months before the end of her first term, because people are picking on her? This just didn't compute. Even in the wildest contortionist spin of her most ardent supporters, this was not going to improve her chances in 2012.

What this means is that now, the line on her resume right underneath "Almost-one-term governor" reads "Mayor of a small Alaskan town with a population of 7000 people." This is not the way to be taken seriously. Yes, she draws crowds, but so does Britney Spears, and I sure wouldn't vote for her to take up residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Naturally, with the overwhelming doubt in the minds of the public that these could possibly be the real reasons she was stepping down, questions were asked. Phones started ringing in Alaska from friends and relatives who wanted the "real story." Alaskans were even asking each other what they thought was really going on. Questions were many and answers were few.

There seemed to be dozens of rumors circulating about the governor at any given point in time, and this week was no different. People were muttering about personal family problems, about new ethics complaints, about legal cases involving her use of personal off-the-radar Yahoo email accounts to conduct state business. Then there was talk about the legality of her legal defense fund which is currently being questioned, or maybe even personal illness. But the ones that seems to have gotten under the governor's skin were reports involving rumors floating about town that there was some kind of shenanigans going on with the simultaneous building of the governor's house, and the Wasilla Sports Complex, and a supposed IRS investigation. Was this the infamous rumor of an "iceberg" that could sink the S.S. Palin as had been reported on another Alaskan blog? Are any of these rumors actually true? Who knows. Are they being talked about in open conversation at holiday barbeques all over the state today? Oh, yes.

And all this brings us to the issue at hand which involves Palin, her attorney Thomas Van Flein, and a certain Shannyn Moore. Moore is a radio personality, a Huffington Post blogger, and frequent guest on MSNBC''s Countdown with Keith Olbermann. There were scads of blogs, both local and national that reported on the rumors above, many in greater detail and with more certainty than Moore did. But Moore really got under the soon-to-be-ex governor's skin. Why? Presumably because Palin watches TV more than she reads.

Today Van Flein issued a four page letter regarding the reporting of these rumors and it was sent by SarahPAC spokeswoman Meghan Stapleton to media outlets across the state.

Van Flein's letter threatening legal action specifically pointed the finger at Alaska blogger Shannyn Moore as "most notably" claiming as "fact" that Palin resigned under federal investigation.


Van Flein, asked why he singled out Moore, said it's because she went on national television and talked about it. Moore was on with MSNBC's David Shuster on Friday, the day Palin said she will resign.

"There is a scandal rumor here that there is a criminal investigation into some activities and that's been rumored for about, I don't know, probably six weeks or two months," Moore told him.

Despite the fact that she specifically refers twice to the report as a "rumor," Van Flein says she portrayed the story as fact. The only fact is that there are rumors. I know because I've been hearing them since last October. They even have a name - "Housegate." If you Google "Palin Housegate," you get 8,600 references, beginning back with an article that appeared in the Village Voice. Googling "Palin sports complex scandal" gets you 230,000. How many mentions are required to constitute a rumor? It's probably less than 230,000. I'm not exactly sure how the legal dynamic duo of Palin-Van Flein is planning to un-rumorize almost a quarter of a million online references to a rumor that started 8 months ago, but it will be interesting to watch.

"I'll sue you for defamation!" is the toothless wonder of the legal world. The bluster is meant to scare people, intimidate them, and get them to be quiet. In this particular case, it's not going to work. Moore has already discussed the threat on her radio show, where she said emphatically, "Bring it on." She said she already gotten legal advice, and has a long list of attorneys who had emailed her, stepping up and eagerly offering to depose Sarah Palin in such a case. Now that would make for some damn good blogging material.

So why would this bizarre comical scenario be taking place at all? Remember how McCain strategist Steve Schmidt had to intervene and explain to Palin that it just wasn't a good idea to over-react and start making grand statements to the media about negative things being said about her? He firmly told her no. And he had to do it twice. Her personal attorney, on the other hand, is being paid to do what she wants. After a recent online fundraiser, Palin's legal defense fund may be well stocked, so it's no skin off the nose of her legal counsel who has been appearing on talk radio shows, and now writing intimidating letters. And there's obviously nobody in Palin's inner sanctum who feels like telling her it's a really bad idea. So she marches on.

Using the substantial might of the Executive branch of government to bring down unenforceable legal threats on a private citizen in Alaska, and attempting to curtail free speech through intimidation on the Fourth of July? Not a particularly brilliant PR move. By specifically singling out and naming Moore, Palin has done two things; she has shown herself to be a reactionary immature politician, and she has made Shannyn Moore a lot better known. And she is not the only one in Sarah Palin's crosshairs, mind you. You stand warned Huffington Post, New York Times, MSNBC and The Washington Post! You just better knock it off!

The New York Times and Washington Post haven't written anything about this, but Van Flein said he believed they were asking questions. "What I've been informed is that they've been interviewing people in Wasilla about this, and have tried to interview the governor's parents about it," Van Flein said.

OK, in the case of The New York Times and the Washington Post, you'd better stop even thinking about asking questions about it.

In solidarity with my friend and fellow Alaskan blogger, may I be the next to report to the team of Palin-Van Flein, and to the entire blogosphere at large:

THERE ARE RUMORS.

There. I said it.

Sue me.

There are times when Palin and her advisors seem to be her/their own worst enemy/ies, and this is one of them.
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Old 07-05-2009, 09:53 PM   #82
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It's probably less of a PR risk for a governor (or however I should classify her now, haha), especially one from a well-off-the-national-radar state like AK, to have her/his lawyers toss around threats like that than it would be in the case of a President or VP, where many people would be likely to identify with the blogger. Granted, Palin's not just another governor, but the average American isn't going to care about or follow an investigation into some governor's allegedly improper house-construction contract regardless (even assuming such an investigation existed--and in fact, quite a few governors have been investigated for precisely that). Of course, that could equally be a good reason why Palin and her lawyers should've just left it alone, but I suppose there might've been a calculation here that this could have the side benefit of attracting some sympathetic attention from a national audience to one of her stated reasons for resigning ("See what I mean?!? This is the kind of thing I've had to deal with daily back in Alaska, and I'm not going to take it anymore!").
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Old 07-05-2009, 10:10 PM   #83
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The speculating reminds me of all the Sarah haters who came in agreeing with the Daily Kos that Sarah's baby was her daughters, spewing and repeating all kinds of untruthful and unsubstaniating hateful rumours-and never apologizing for them.


she likely hid the pregnancy until the 7th month because she was seriously debating whether or not to have an abortion.

that's about as substantive as the Obama birth certificate issue.

regardless, i'm very glad she won't be making any more decisions as an elected official, and the people who said the absolutely nastiest things about her were her own fellow Republicans.

her appeal to some kind of sentimentalist know-nothing Republican base will forever mystify me, but that's how it goes i suppose.
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Old 07-05-2009, 10:29 PM   #84
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Has she announced her book deal yet?
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Old 07-05-2009, 10:40 PM   #85
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She announced that back in May.
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Old 07-05-2009, 10:48 PM   #86
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Ah ok. I don't pay much attention to these things but wouldn't it be unusual for a sitting governor to publish a memoir? That sort of thing takes a great deal of time and effort I imagine.
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Old 07-05-2009, 11:10 PM   #87
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Hmm, well yes it's uncommon (though not unprecedented), but then most governors don't have the incentives she did/does to get a book out soon. She'll have a coauthor, of course--already announced who, some evangelical-conservative journalist--so that presumably eases the burden somewhat.
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Old 07-06-2009, 06:12 AM   #88
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Oh my... A March '08 clip of Palin saying that Hillary Clinton was doing women a disservice by whining about media criticism, that she should suck it up and realize it comes with the territory. Irony ftw!

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Old 07-06-2009, 08:26 AM   #89
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Oh my... A March '08 clip of Palin saying that Hillary Clinton was doing women a disservice by whining about media criticism, that she should suck it up and realize it comes with the territory. Irony ftw!

I've heard very little "whining" from Palin about the media attacks on herself. What should rightfully be "whined" about is the unfair, unnecessary, irrelevant attacks on her children, which is what a very large part of the Palin criticism from the far-left is focused on.
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Old 07-06-2009, 08:50 AM   #90
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I've heard very little "whining" from Palin about the media attacks on herself. What should rightfully be "whined" about is the unfair, unnecessary, irrelevant attacks on her children, which is what a very large part of the Palin criticism from the far-left is focused on.


it's really not, though.

most people on the "far left" are concerned that she has no coherent view of foreign policy, no background in national policy, no real interest in foreign policy, no experience, has no interest in renewable energy, and is anti-choice.

her children have virtually nothing to do with why the "far left" doesn't like her.

it's how she's trotted her family out and paraded them around at the Convention combined with a dash of Levi's hotness and tabloid-cover sex appeal that has made Palin fodder for comedians.
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Old 07-06-2009, 09:10 AM   #91
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which is what a very large part of the Palin criticism from the far-left is focused on.
The only reason you think this and other absurdities such as the world is laughing at Obama is because the sources from which you get your information. If you spent just a week reading, listening, or watching legitimate sources of news you would realize how absurd some of these things you say are...
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Old 07-06-2009, 10:43 AM   #92
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I've heard very little "whining" from Palin about the media attacks on herself.
Are you kidding me?? All of her speeches at rallies during election season made mention of the main stream media and how they were in the tank for Obama. Whine, whine, whine. Instead of talking about positive things in her speeches, she attacked the hand that feeds. Of course the alphabet soup is going to turn their collective backs on you if all you do is complain about what a crappy friend they are. Self-fulfilling prophecy.
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Old 07-06-2009, 11:05 AM   #93
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The reality is that many conservatives can't handle the Chicago style politics and Alinsky tactics. Until the conservatives lose their fear of bullies the bullies will win.
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Old 07-06-2009, 11:17 AM   #94
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The reality is that many conservatives can't handle the Chicago style politics and Alinsky tactics. Until the conservatives lose their fear of bullies the bullies will win.
I have to say that the bullies are usually the conservatives. You didn't hear left wing talk show hosts pretty much incite violence against Bush less than a year after he took office.
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Old 07-06-2009, 11:46 AM   #95
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The reality is that many conservatives can't handle the Chicago style politics and Alinsky tactics. Until the conservatives lose their fear of bullies the bullies will win.


you're kidding, right?

after years of Rove and Norquist?
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Old 07-06-2009, 12:04 PM   #96
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I have to say that the bullies are usually the conservatives. You didn't hear left wing talk show hosts pretty much incite violence against Bush less than a year after he took office.
No the liberals would just make a movie about his assassination.

Death of a President (2006)
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Old 07-06-2009, 12:23 PM   #97
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you're kidding, right?

after years of Rove and Norquist?
Two wrongs don't make a right. Bush wasn't that conservative. His "compassionate conservatism" wasn't compassionate to taxpayers. What are liberals doing to change that point of view with their policies? Cap and trade would be green bullies directing control over our lives in ways that will make it hard for an economic recovery. Sotomayor tried to prevent justifiable promotions. Waxman was talking about Greenspan and his "ideology" as if the government had no hand to play in the financial crisis with ideologies of their own. ACORN certainly counts as bullying. If anything the Republicans will probably start borrowing the bullying method precisely because they will want to copy what works.

Obama had an opportunity to provide change but the only change is that he is more statist than Bush was. Everyone talks about Bush but now he's out of power. I see more restrictions to freedom coming down the pipeline than not.
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Old 07-06-2009, 01:12 PM   #98
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Two wrongs don't make a right. Bush wasn't that conservative. His "compassionate conservatism" wasn't compassionate to taxpayers. What are liberals doing to change that point of view with their policies? Cap and trade would be green bullies directing control over our lives in ways that will make it hard for an economic recovery. Sotomayor tried to prevent justifiable promotions. Waxman was talking about Greenspan and his "ideology" as if the government had no hand to play in the financial crisis with ideologies of their own. ACORN certainly counts as bullying. If anything the Republicans will probably start borrowing the bullying method precisely because they will want to copy what works.

Obama had an opportunity to provide change but the only change is that he is more statist than Bush was. Everyone talks about Bush but now he's out of power. I see more restrictions to freedom coming down the pipeline than not.


i have no idea what you're talking about.
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Old 07-06-2009, 01:14 PM   #99
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No the liberals would just make a movie about his assassination.

Death of a President (2006)
It was boring. And from what I can remember it had nothing to do with Democrats or Republicans, rather the terrorists overseas.
If anything, this film is Republican support against those muzlimz
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Old 07-06-2009, 01:27 PM   #100
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Oh my... A March '08 clip of Palin saying that Hillary Clinton was doing women a disservice by whining about media criticism, that she should suck it up and realize it comes with the territory. Irony ftw!
I pointed out precisely this irony on a couple occasions during the election, back when the "Palin Truth Squad" of would-be-Amazon female GOP politicos was assembled to loudly protest every last little jab at Palin, which I still find one of the bizarrest campaign gimmicks I've ever seen.

Anyway, that chapter aside, Palin in fact spent far more time in both her resignation speech and subsequent Twitters complaining about attacks on herself than about attacks on her kids. Bristol is the only one of her children where there's a legitimate case to be made that this kid has indeed attracted more nasty potshots from comedians, random bloggers, etc. than have previous nationally prominent politicians' young children. But it's not hard to see why--she had the misfortune of being an unmarried pregnant teenager while the spotlight was turned on, and nothing gets American society more in a titillated/self-righteous/defensive/hand-wringing tizzy than umarried pregnant teenagers. It's lame and stupid and sexist and destructive, but it's as predictable as the sunrise, and the only, slim shot at defusing it is to adopt the dignified, discreet approach that (for example) Obama did...too bad more people on both sides didn't follow his lead by declining to spin her as either heroine or harlot, neither of which she is, but instead pointedly reminding that candidates' children should be off-limits and leaving it at that.
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