Former Alaska Governor and Fox News political celebrity Sarah Palin has made a statement that is truly horrendous. Here it is:
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) defended the controversial enhanced interrogation technique of waterboarding this weekend, and implied that the practice would still be commonplace “if I were in charge.”
“They obviously have information on plots to carry out Jihad,” she said at the National Rifle Association (NRA) annual meeting on Saturday evening, referring to prisoners. “Oh, but you can’t offend them, can’t make them feel uncomfortable, not even a smidgen. Well, if I were in charge, they would know that waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists.”
No, the most horrendous part is not about the fact that she’d consider water boarding baptisms for terrorists, and therefore openly and gleefully embrace the idea of torture that even many thinking Republicans condemn.
The most horrendous part is the phrase “if I were in charge.”
It’s a thought that every day must make many Americans shudder — Palin in charge. It raises the question of how in our political system someone who’s a Presidential candidate can point his or her finger and like a King or Queen anoint someone who could replace him or her if he or she dies or is incapacitated in office.
What makes the thought horrible here is the idea that Palin could have advanced to that level on the ticket at all. She will forever remain a testament to the poor judgement of Arizona Sen. John McCain and his advisers.
Up until that point McCain had the image of a venerable former POW and war hero with a hot temper, who could be a maverick or a party man, someone who could be alternately measured and impulsive.
But he always enjoyed a bipartisan reservoir of good will with voters giving him the benefit of the doubt that he would seriously weigh an issue and come to some kind of well-reasoned decision that he truly felt was in the best interest of the country, even if it was a decision or stand with which many Americans strongly disagreed.
Then came his Palin pick.
Martin Longman perfectly sums it up:
I have a theory that Sarah Palin has the intent to humiliate John McCain as often as possible. Maybe it’s because McCain wouldn’t let her give her own concession speech. Maybe it’s some of the things McCain’s advisers have said about her. Or, maybe, it’s just a joke the gods are playing on McCain for being so stupid in his choice of running mate…The best part is that McCain won’t allow himself to react to this because he can’t admit the magnitude of his mistake.
Yes, McCain has almost triple-downs when it comes to questions about regretting his Palin pick.
And there will forever be two operative questions about Sarah Palin:
1. What does it say about our system that she could utterly enchant a segment of the GOP that to this day still idolizes her, thinks she’s clever and offers intelligent views on policies or other politicians?
To all but the Republican base, Palin is an acquired taste that the vast majority of Americans have not acquired.
2. And exactly what kind of impact did she have on the Republican Party once she was nominated? Did she help it become more inclusive? Thoughtful? More solution oriented? Has she fostered party or national unity, or she been a champion for winning by accentuating divisions?
I’m betting on both fronts, McCain will find she has damaged his legacy when historians write their detailed, carefully researched and written political histories of our times.
Which Palin most likely will never bother to read.
UPDATE: Read Andrew Sullivan in full: he makes a convincing case that Palin is anti-Christian and exemplifies a larger problem.
Here’s just a tiny bit of what he says about Palin:
What can one say but that this is a bona fide fascistic sentiment. It revels in violence against individuals tied down by their hands and feet and strapped to a terrifying board in order to be suffocated hundreds of times to near-death. It is the kind of statement you might expect from the Khmer Rouge, or from the Chinese Communists who perfected “stress positions”, or from the Nazis, whose Gestapo pioneered “enhanced interrogation”, i.e. brutal torture that would leave no physical traces. Except it’s worse than that. Even totalitarian regimes have publicly denied their torture. Their reticence and lies are some small concession of vice to the appearance of virtue. Not Palin – who wants to celebrate brutal torture as the American way.
And then she manages to go one step further. She invokes torture in the context of a Christian sacrament. Not since the Nazis’ Deutsche Christen have we seen something so disgusting and blasphemous in the morphing of Christianity into its polar opposite. Mercifully, some Christians on the right have managed to say something.
It says something quite clear to me.
It reveals that vast swathes of American Christianity are objectively anti-Christian, even pagan, in their support for this barbarism.
Go the link and read it all.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.