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 November, 2009


 A Look At Sarah Palin's Latest Controversy

A Retraction I Can Believe In

There are times, but admittedly few, when I’m obliged to correct myself. This is one of those times.

I said the following on November, 17th, 2008. “Please leave Sarah Palin alone. She’s no longer a candidate for vice-president. She is now a mother, a wife and the Gov. of Alaska. She should be allowed to walk away from her candidacy with dignity.”

I take that back.

First, she’s no longer the Gov. of Alaska. It turns out Palin’s ambitions (as vague as they may be) got in the way of her service to the people of her state.

Second, she simply won’t keep her mouth free of her own feet.

She’d galvanized the indignation of the masses with her easily disproved online claim that health care reform would lead to something called “death panels.”

As ridiculous as was the notion that government doctors would dutifully line-up the nation’s elderly and determine their right to live – the phrase stuck in the summer long debate over health care.

Such nonsense would have been meaningless if it had not found its way into the speeches given by key Republican members of the U.S. Congress. It did.

Palin’s positioning as a political provocateur was solidified.

So, when she went to Hong Kong to give a speech at the CLSA Investors’ forum in September, there was a lot of interest in her next salvo against the president who’d vanquished her and John McCain during the previous fall.

She didn’t disappoint. There were reports that her rhetoric was so profoundly undignified that two US delegates walked out on her mid-speech. One claiming, "It was awful, we couldn't stand it any longer."

That must not have mattered to Palin. She got headlines for her performance. With her new book release on the horizon, that’s all she needed.

I’d like to think it was Palin’s forthright opposition to political moderation that actually helped get health care reform through the U.S. House.

Without being asked, she posted online that she was endorsing Doug Hoffman, the Conservative Party candidate, in New York’s 23rd Congressional District’s special election earlier this month.

That endorsement didn’t sit well with mainline conservatives who’d supported the Republican Party candidate, despite her moderate inclinations.

Palin’s candidate lost. The Democrat, Bill Owens, won. He is the first Democrat from that district to serve in Congress since before the Civil War. That’s, in part, thanks to Palin’s meddling.

But there’s more. Owens was sworn in on Friday. He voted on that health care bill - with his fellow Democrats - on Saturday.

His single vote helped the Democrats do what Palin has railed against. What a day.

But Palin’s latest blast from the shadows has even been refuted by that most conservative of Obama detractors – Fox News. Ah, Fox News. The only thing liberal about that particular place is their definition of the NEWS part of their name.

Yet, Palin’s most recent fiction was even too outrageous for them.

She’d given a speech at a Wisconsin Right to Life rally and she formulated this doozy.

There are new coins being struck with the words IN GOD WE TRUST being removed from their faces, and placed on their rims.

That’s simply not true. Nor, as she implied, does it represent a “disturbing trend” that is being advanced by the current resident of the White House.

“Who makes a decision like that?” she asked her adoring Palinites.

Well, it sure wasn’t President Barack Obama. Fox News’ Bret Baier was one of the first people who stuck a pin in Palin’s ill-conceived attack on Obama.

He informed his Special Report audience that it was the 2005 Republican-controlled Congress that had sent the words IN GOD WE TRUST to the rims of newly struck one dollar coins. That it was George W. Bush who had, in fact, signed that design into law.

Baier added that it was the 2007 Democratically-controlled Congress that made sure the phrase was returned to its original location.

This is one of those times when I really felt good correcting myself.

Edward A. Owens is a three time Emmy Award winner and 20 year veteran of television news. E-mail him at freedoms@bellatlantic.net