So far, it seems impossible for Sarah Palin to err badly enough to upset her base. And she's certainly been thorough in her experimentation.
When Alaska resident Kathleen Gustafson found out her former Governor was coming to Homer Alaska with a Discovery Channel film crew, she unfurled a giant "Worst Governor Ever" banner in full sight of the cameras. Palin came over to speak to her, and landed herself in hot water. Palin asked Gustafson her profession, and, upon hearing 'teacher,' allegedly rolled her eyes. I say allegedly, but the footage is out there for anyone to watch and judge. In fact, if you prefer, you can watch Sarah Palin possibly roll her eyes in slow motion or synchronized to the beat of the song "What is Love?"
Andrew Sullivan, a blogger who's been covering the story for the past two days, has previously been attacked for his opposition to Palin and his support for 'Trig Trutherism' (a pejorative name for people who question the circumstances of the birth of Sarah Palin's child, Trig). Sullivan has previously detailed in post after post (after post) the extreme risks Palin was taking if she really took two flights and a long drive to reach her preferred hospital for Trig's birth. He concludes that the whole story must be at least partially fabricated.
If this bizarre incident were the only evidence we had that Sarah Palin doesn't make decisions or policy based on data or that she sometimes exaggerated wildly for political gain, it would make sense for Andrew Sullivan to keep pushing the story. But if his real aim is to point out her political liabilities, he's neglecting the low-hanging fruit linked above.
This kind of sensationalist attack does nothing for liberals. When the video of the eye-roll hit the blogosphere, conservatives didn't shy away; on the contrary, it represented a potent recruiting tool for them--another chance to show liberal pundits thrown into a tizzy by the unshakable Sarah Palin. Quickly, the story swelled with Breitbart-style ad hominem attacks on Gustafson, the teacher who started it all. Conservative sites quickly accused her of lying about her credentials. At First Things, Jim Hoft quickly transformed the facts of "According to the Alaska Teacher Certification website there is a Kathleen Gustafson registered, but unknown if this is her" to THAT WAS NO TEACHER... Unhinged Leftist Who Confronted Palin Is a Singer in a Drag Queen Band.When some commentators pointed out that Gustafson was a theatre teacher and that the pictures of her 'drag queen band' were in fact photos of her directing a student production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Hoft appended a correction of sorts:
UPDATE: The Palin-haters now claim that "theater tech" is the name of some class they teach in Alaska.
Sure it is... Keep spinning libs.
Arguments about style and minor slipups are never going to penetrate the unreality-based community that makes up a major part of the GOP base. For our criticisms to stick, they need to be rooted in the policy differences between the Dems' attempts to help those hurt by the recession, and the Republican attempt to prevent Congress from passing any bills until January.
It's time leftist bloggers changed our tune, and we needn't wait for the next Palin gaffe to get practice sticking to the issues. Libertarian Rand Paul is currently getting the Palin treatment as coverage of his Senate race picks up. Apparently (according to an unnamed source in GQ), during his college years, he was part of a secret society that indulged in drugs and the satirical worship of an idol called "Aqua Buddha." That story is certainly a boon to headline writers, but should his college hijinks really eclipse coverage of his staunch opposition to the Americans with Disabilities Act? Sharron Angle's apparent terror whenever she spots a reporter is funny, but her opposition to Medicare and other social safety net programs on religious grounds is frightening.
In the 2010 elections, liberals ought to be able to defeat Paul and Angle because their policies are laughable, not because their gaffes are. If the Democratic Party can't make a persuasive case on the merits of these policies--some of the most basic protections for vulnerable Americans-- we don't deserve to win.
Follow Leah Anthony Libresco on Twitter: www.twitter.com/leahlibresco