This Could Be Our Vice President

There could not be a more stark contrast between Senator Barack Obama and Governor Sarah Palin.  Obama is, among other things, a constitutional scholar; no kidding, he actually taught constitutional law.  Palin, on the other hand, apparently doesn’t understand the constitution, hasn’t read the constitution, or even have basic cognitive skills.

Our first clue was of course Palin’s assertion that the Vice President is in charge of the Senate.  This isn’t even up for debate among those who have managed a C or better in eighth grade civics, forget constitutional scholars; you simply can’t make even a feeble argument in favor of this concept unless you are totally ignorant of the constitution, or you habitually smoke crack (to Palin’s credit, I assume the former).

And now we have evidence that Palin doesn’t even understand how the First Amendment works; perhaps the single most important amendment in the Bill of Rights:

Palin told WMAL-AM that her criticism of Obama’s associations, like those with 1960s radical Bill Ayers and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, should not be considered negative attacks.  Rather, for reporters or columnists to suggest that it is going negative may constitute an attack that threatens a candidate’s free speech rights under the Constitution, Palin said.

“If [the media] convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning, for me to call Barack Obama out on his associations,” Palin told host Chris Plante, “then I don’t know what the future of our country would be in terms of First Amendment rights and our ability to ask questions without fear of attacks by the mainstream media.”

Now, it’s difficult to understand this; Palin-speak is always tricky to decipher.  But I think the gist here is that if a newspaper or news organization says anything critical about the things a politician says, that is a direct infringement of that politician’s First Amendment rights.

No, really, I’m pretty sure that’s the point she is trying to drive home here.  I’ve been sitting here for about fifteen minutes and I just can’t get the pieces to fit together on this one.  Now, the newspapers are not forcibly preventing Palin from saying what she wants, and last I checked, the media wasn’t actually a part of the government.  (Well, maybe the Military Times and other military periodicals are, but I don’t think that they are the focal point of these comments.)  What Palin is actually saying is that when a private and independent organization such as the New York Times exercises its First Amendment right to express an opinion, it somehow, magically, inhibits Palin’s First Amendment rights.

I would hope that I needn’t point out that part of living in a country that promotes free speech is understanding that other people are equally free to opine on your free speech.  Free speech does not equate to a constitutionally protected right to be free from criticism.

I mean, even the specific term she is talking about, “negative attacks,” is somewhat mind-boggling.  How else can her attacks using Ayers and Wright be characterized?  These are statements intentionally used hopefully so voters see the opponent in a more negative light–negative attack.  Negative attack is a pretty hard definition; it’s relatively subjective and admittedly a little redundant.  There are a lot of negative attacks in politics and not all of them are necessarily bad.  Pointing out that your opponent doesn’t believe in tax cuts for the rich is a negative attack; it’s not mud-slinging, but you are still attempting to gain political advantage by saying something negative about your opponent as opposed to saying something nice about yourself.

So even on this level Palin’s statement just makes no kind of sense at all.

She’s running for vice president, and very likely could be president before four years are over, and she doesn’t even have a passing grasp on the constitution or the English language.  Please, please, please, go vote on Tuesday and don’t let this come to pass!

(edited by DrGail)

One Response to “This Could Be Our Vice President”

  1. icruise says:

    Yeah, I didn’t think it was possible, but this woman makes Bush look well spoken.

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