"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Monday, June 6, 2011

Midnight Ride of Sarah Palin

This is just too typical:

You may have heard recently something about that Sarah Palin telling a reporter that Paul Revere warned the British on his famous rousing revolutionary ride.

Now, that so many Americans have wallowed in their smug confirmation that Palin is an idiot unqualified for anything but repeating sixth-grade history, how far, wide and fast do you think the contradictory news will spread that the former governor of Alaska was indeed correct?

That the Republican non-candidate, in fact, knew more about the actual facts of Revere's midnight ride than all those idiots unknowingly revealing their own ignorance by laughing at her faux faux pas? How secretly embarrassing this must be, to be forced to face that you're dumber than the reputed dummy.

As it happens, though, such phenomena are regular occurrences in American politics, reminding consumers of news to be wary when some fresh story seems to fit contemporary assumptions so absolutely perfectly.

The well-known fable is Revere's late-night ride to warn fellow revolutionaries that....
...the British were coming. Less known, obviously, is the rest of the evening's events in which Revere was captured by said redcoats and did indeed defiantly warn them of the awakened militia awaiting their arrival ahead and of the American Revolution's inevitable victory.
Palin knew this. The on-scene reporters did not and ran off like Revere to alert the world to Palin's latest mis-speak, which wasn't.

Like a number of famous faux gaffes in American politics, the facts of the situation no longer really matter.
The initial impression was eagerly grabbed by so many, starting with the reporter and millions of others gleefully sharing the story that reinforced their beliefs and/or desires.
Eisenhower was a dummy... all he did was lead millions of men to a great victory that was as much a triumph of planning and logistics as of arms.   Gerald Ford was a dummy and a clumsy oaf... even though he graduated in the top quarter of his Yale Law School class and was an All-American football player.  George W. Bush is a renowned dummy.... even though he has degrees from Yale and Harvard and managed to get elected Governor of Texas and President of the United States.   Now Sarah Palin is a dummy... even though she's managed to get from small-town mayor in Wasilla, Alaska to, arguably, a leading candidate for President, make millions for herself and her family, and run rings around the mainstream media.  

Liberals equate smugness with intelligence.   They're wrong. 

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