Just when it appeared that a whole month might pass without Republicans becoming involved in a racially-tinged episode, along comes Sarah Palin’s Twitter account to help meet this unfortunate quota.
Much has been said over the last week about President Obama’s needless interjection into the “Ground Zero mosque” debate, but the former governor of Alaska was not to be outdone. Palin inexplicably felt the need to defend the incendiary radio outburst of Dr. Laura Schlessinger, a media caricature so dated she was lampooned 10 years ago on The West Wing. This during a week in which the country received yet more bad economic news in its latest unemployment numbers, and the president’s own once-vaunted communications apparatus scrambled to salvage the White House mosque message.
Politico ran an extensive piece this week on Haley Barbour’s emergence as de facto leader of the Party. Unfortunately, leaders like Barbour are repeatedly preempted by ad hoc Palin musings. Here is a party that has nominated candidates like Nikki Haley, Susana Martinez, Meg Whitman, Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina – and over there is a former vice presidential nominee championing the right to shout the n-word over the public airwaves.
Can Republicans please quit the evading and rationalization? A party that aspires to lead a multi-ethnic country must not degenerate into the voice of white racial panic. Whether the topic at hand is the merit of the Civil Rights Act or the allegation that American Muslims are all secret jihadists. The racial messaging from Sarah Palin’s Twitter feed meets with pathetically meek resistance from elected leaders. Tragically, some who ought to know better – such as former speaker Newt Gingrich – have apparently decided, “If you can’t beat Palin – copy her.”
And if American blacks or Hispanics or Muslims or whoever is targeted next are insulted and alienated? It will never occur to Palin that any offense caused by her words might be legitimate. Instead it must be political correctness run amok, unleashed to deprive “real Americans” of their “First Amendment rights”. So there will be no retreating, no reflecting, no apologizing: only more “reloading”. When will Republicans understand that the ammunition Palin is firing is aimed at their own heads?