BY EDWIN E. VINEYARD
Pity poor Sarah Palin? Hardly. While some might be concerned that Sarah has been eclipsed lately in the media by the likes of Donald Trump and even Michelle Bachmann, we need not feel sorry for Sarah. She is still in there slinging it with the best of them.
It may be, of course, that there are so many Republican hands in the mud bank that it is difficult to maintain a distinction in identity among them. The consistency of the material is about the same, and it has the same target. But at times it appears that the mud bank is really a manure pile.
On the basis of his weird birther attack, the Donald rose to the top of the heap of rightist contenders for the honors of the party. Polls looked favorable for him, and not so good for Sarah last week. Palin has begun to look less like a candidate and more like a party celebrity. Her public appearances at Republican and Tea Party events have continued at much the same pace, but there seems to be little structure or strategy to her appearances. Iowa and New Hampshire have been given no special place, for example, as has been the case with other contenders.
Palin’s ratings are not such as to be encouraging to her as a presidential candidate. She has an unfavorable rating of 57% with the general public, according to AP. But 65% of Republicans still rate her favorably, although down from 80% toward the end of last year. Among that 40% of Republicans not sympathetic with the Tea Party folk, her rating drops to just 38%. Among the Tea Party crowd, Palin has a strength of about 80% favorability.
Her rhetoric is still there in its same caustic style, even though the media have been watching the Donald. For instance, she sees nothing wrong to inquiring into Mr. Obama’s university thesis, or any other college or law papers he has written in those youthful times. She even suggests that Ayers, the old anti-war leader of the Vietnam era, wrote Mr. Obama’s personally biographical books.
While following the Trump lead in her questioning, she admits that “he has the spotlight and the megaphone.” She has gone along with the birther conspiracy by saying, “Well, he should show us where he was born.” Sarah is still with us.
The strange phenomenon of the birther conspiracy myth, believed by Tea Partiers and a majority of the Republicans in the face of constant exposure to facts to the contrary, has been this year’s most utterly goofy news story. The Donald has kept it in the forefront. With the president’s regular birth certificate printed in the newspapers, displayed on television, and circulated on the internet, and with state officials, hospital officials and personnel testifying to its veracity, these crazy people have continued to sound on the unbelievable mythology that could only be the product of a deranged minds passed on to one another.
The long form of Mr. Obama’s birth certificate, obtained by special request from the state of Hawaii, was released last week. The birthers can now be identified as the ones with egg on their faces. But not the Donald. Well, probably not the other political lunatics, either. They believe whatever they choose to believe.
Without as much as a curtsy to the new evidence of his foolishness, Trump promptly turns to demanding to know Mr. Obama’s college grade records. All this is to suggest that Mr. Obama might have been the beneficiary of affirmative action laws. If so, he would most certainly be a stellar example of their validity.
However, this moves the message from one that says “he is not one of us” to another with a less subtle form of racism aimed at national policies intended to remedy the effects of past racial discrimination, suppression, and bigotry.
The Oklahoma Legislature has rallied to the clarion call of racists, and they have answered with a referendum vote to outlaw affirmative action in Oklahoma. Not that all of us, perhaps not any of us, believe in affirmative action as a permanent policy in the United States. It is not a practice we want to be enduring. But most of us see the need now for easing the upward progress of able people in our midst whom our forefathers suppressed through racial discrimination.
Fairness is sometimes a hard thing to understand. In its simplicity fairness may seem one thing, but in the nuances of its complexity mean another. Unfortunately, we can count on Oklahoma politicians and voters for simplicity.
– Dr. Edwin E. Vineyard, AKA The Militant Moderate, lives in Enid, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer