"Here's the problem, Matt. It's the double standard that's been applied here...[R]emember in the campaign, Barack Obama said "Family's off limits. You don't talk about my family," and...everybody adhered to that, and they did leave his family alone, and they haven't done that on the other side of the ticket, and it has continued to this day. So that's a political double standard."
-- Sarah Palin, on the Today show. June 12, 2009
"The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's "death panel" so his bureaucrats can decide...whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil."
-- Sarah Palin, on her Facebook page. August 7, 2009
Well, at least we learned one thing about Sarah Palin: She doesn't understand the meaning of, "double standard."
The good news is that it only took us 56 days to discover this. Some people can go years before they make such diametrically opposed, egregiously contradictory statements. Okay, to be fair, some people can go a lifetime.
And to be fair, we already knew this about Sarah Palin. But it's always good to have it this clearly in black-and-white for those who had their eyes closed the previous times. (At least now when they ignore it, they can look as foolish as her.)
What Sarah Palin has never understood because she's too small-minded -- or what she's understood perfectly and is a demagogue -- is that there is no double-standard. That if you don't want people talking about your children because they're off-limits...then they're off-limits. To everyone. And "everyone" includes yourself.
Except at the Democratic Convention and one instance where he allowed his children on camera, which he immediately regretted and said it would not happen again (and it didn't happen again), Barack Obama said his children were off-limits, and kept them off-limits. So, the press saw him living by the standards he was asking of others, and kept Mr. Obama's family off-limits.
Sarah Palin, on the other hand, has found few events she couldn't shove her children into - during the campaign and after. Sarah Palin used her children so much that they not only became circus props, but Barnum & Bailey probably took lessons.
Wherever she went, she seemed to have her youngest child on her shoulder. Whenever she could talk about her child having Down Syndrome, she did. When invited to drop a puck at an NHL hockey game, she dragged a child onto the ice with her (subjecting the girl to a rousing chorus of boo's.) Sarah Palin shined a light on her family during her first, major national appearance - making a notable reference to the world at the Republican Convention of being a "hockey mom." She brought her children with her on campaign stops. She dragged her daughter and temporary prop faux-son-in-law where she went. She was right there in the TV studio when her daughter gave an interview on national television. And there was her daughter, dressed in a fire engine-red graduation gown and holding her newborn baby on the cover of People magazine, one of recent year's most questionable Role Model Moments.
And Sarah Palin wants to lecture anyone about double-standards? Sarah Palin wants to cry that her children are off-limits?
Sarah Palin not only put her children so far on-limits, that if she hadn't, it sometimes seemed she wouldn't have had anything to talk about. Sarah Palin so-repeatedly made her children objects of attention that it was like being locked in a room with the world's most annoying theater parents. ("Here, Janie, show the nice stranger how you can tap dance. And then we'll bring out the home movies.") At times, it felt like you were watching the live-action version of "The Sound of Music," with the Von Trapp Family children singing, "So Long, Farewell" - except that they wouldn't leave. The only parents more liable to serial child-endangerment abuse on TV were Jon and Kate.
Yet despite all that, Sarah Palin just accomplished what some thought impossible. She outdid herself.
The person who has been putting her children on stage, while shedding crocodile tears for a year how they are off-limits - just used her Down Syndrome baby as another circus prop by writing for a national audience how he could be killed by the government.
I was going to call this disingenuous, but that's wrong. It's unconscionable. It's pathetic.
How pathetic is it? Even if Sarah Palin had never complained about double-standards and off-limits, it still would have been pathetic.
And this doesn't even touch on the reality that what she said wasn't remotely true. And she either knows it isn't remotely true and was despicably riling up an unthinking mob into imagining that the government is going to kill the weak, or she's such an idiot that she shouldn't be allowed to chew gum without supervision.
And she did it by making her Down Syndrome baby the issue. She put him on the table. She made him and his condition the object of national debate. She did it. Herself.
And you know that some time in the future she's going to cry about double-standards and how her children are off-limits again. And put them centerstage under a bright light. Again.
Again and again and again.
Hey, every circus has a merry-go-round. And a clown.
Follow Robert J. Elisberg on Twitter: www.twitter.com/RobertElisberg