In the nearly five years since Sarah Palin emerged on the national political scene, the failed vice-presidential candidate's capacity for duplicity and deceit would seem to know no bounds. Indeed, her lies have become irreversibly seared into both her national political brand and public persona.
Palin's latest deception on Fox News--and it's a doozy of grand proportions, executed with an assist from her resident Fox sycophant Greta Van Susteren--is that she was "banned" from bringing up both Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright by the "elitists" and the "brainiacs in the GOP machine" running John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign.
That's a whopper. But of course Van Susteren and the rest of the mainstream media who have reported on Palin's comments let her assertion go by unchallenged.
In fact--as was widely reported during the first week in October of 2008--Palin made vicious remarks about Obama and his relationship with Ayers at a campaign event in Engelwood, Colorado. There, she uttered one of the signature slogans of her ill-fated candidacy when she charged Obama with "pallin' around with terrorists" and asserted that Obama wasn't "a man who sees America like you and I see America."
It was a demagogic allegation of the worst sort, one that created sound bites played widely by news stations across the country. And, as I learned during research for my book, The Lies of Sarah Palin: The Untold Story Behind Her Relentless Quest for Power, the Ayers attack was in fact approved by McCain senior advisors trying to reverse Palin's descending trajectory with the American electorate in the aftermath of her disastrous and widely mocked interview with Katie Couric a few weeks earlier in the campaign.
It was a media debacle so indelibly scorched into the American psyche that Palin has never recovered from it. Ever. Her popularity with the American electorate has been in a downward spiral ever since.
Palin did rant during the campaign about Ayers and Obama. And she has continued to hurl venom and invective at Obama ever since, with a fervor that borders on the obsessive.
As for Jeremiah Wright, Palin knew full well that the injunction against attacking the Chicago-based pastor came straight from her running mate himself, John McCain, who had publicly stated his opposition to stooping to such assaults. Two of McCain's senior advisors, Steve Schmidt and Mark Salter, supported McCain in his position.
But in a manner than can only be described as devious, on the day after Palin's tirade about Obama "pallin' around with terrorists," an interview with her then-media paramour Bill Kristol (he actually called her "my heartthrob") appeared in The New York Times in which she declared about Wright:
To tell you the truth, Bill, I don't know why that association isn't discussed more, because those were appalling things that that pastor had said about our great country, and to have sat in the pews for 20 years and listened to that--with, I don't know, a sense of condoning it, I guess, because he didn't get up and leave--to me, that does say something about character. But, you know, I guess that would be a John McCain call on whether he wants to bring that up.
Palin got in her digs at Wright, and they also went widely reported. One of the flawed memes about Palin perpetrated by the mainstream media is that Palin "went rogue" on McCain's campaign staff during the 2008 election. It's a misleading and shallow analysis. The person on whom Palin went rogue was John McCain. She cynically questioned his judgment time and time again throughout the election, most notably about Wright, and always behind his back. It was a betrayal of Shakespearean proportions.
In her largely "fictional" memoir Going Rogue, Palin admitted to going after Ayers and Wright, however duplicitous her manner. "I did not apologize for calling it like I saw it," she declared. She admits that she was told "not to discuss Obama's pastor of twenty years, Jeremiah 'God Damn America' Wright." And then she betrayed McCain again. "I will forever question the campaign," she wrote, without acknowledging that the directive came straight from the Senator himself, "for prohibiting discussion of such accusations."
In her weekend tirade on Fox, Palin asserted that McCain's advisors were "afraid that the media would eat us alive if we brought up these things." Afraid? She did bring them up--and the response, not only from the media, but from Americans across the country was universally condemnatory. It marked a critical juncture in the campaign.
Colin Powell specifically cited Palin's hyperbole as a reason for publicly supporting Obama. Georgia congressman John Lewis--a seminal figure in the U.S. Civil Rights movement and a longtime Congressional colleague of McCain's--accused Palin of "sowing the seeds of hatred and division" across the country. Douglas K. Daniel, an editor of the Associated Press's Washington Bureau, wrote a scathing indictment of Palin in which he asserted "portraying Obama as 'not like us' is another potential appeal to racism." Ad nauseam.
It was hardly fear that motivated the McCain campaign's decisions; it was reality.
Banned from attacking Ayers? Not at all. Palin's assault was scripted by the very "elitists" and the "brainiacs in the GOP machine" she continues to malign. And Wright? Not by the McCain advisors, but by the Senator himself--on moral and ethical grounds, terrain with which Sarah Palin has no truck.
Award-winning writer and filmmaker Geoffrey Dunn's best-selling The Lies of Sarah Palin: The Untold Story Behind Her Relentless Quest for Power was published by Macmillan/St. Martin's in May of 2011.