Palin Failed to Criticize Paul on Civil Rights

Wednesday, 02 Jun 2010 10:01 PM

By Ronald Kessler

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Sarah Palin came on the national scene as the un-politician, a diaper-changing, gun-toting former beauty queen who represented the best in American values.

But since the 2008 election, Palin has shown she is just another politician.
When Bill O’Reilly on Fox News asked her to respond to claims of John McCain’s staffers in the book “Game Change” that she came across as clueless when being prepped for her vice-presidential debate, Palin stonewalled. Instead of giving specifics and saying what actually took place, she attacked the claims as lies without elaborating.

When Kentucky senatorial candidate Rand Paul told Rachel Maddow on MSNBC that he opposes the public accommodations section of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Palin said she sees similarities between how the media are treating him and the way the press tried to “get” her before the elections in 2008.

“I think there is certainly a double standard at play here,” Palin said on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace.

The former Alaska governor added, “One thing that we can learn in this lesson that I have learned and Rand Paul is learning now is don’t assume that you can engage in a hypothetical discussion about constitutional impacts with a reporter or a media personality who has an agenda.”

Paul later retracted what he had said, and Palin said she agrees with that. But in the meantime, by attacking the press, Palin appeared to be defending what Paul had said. Yet no one put words in his mouth. Maddow’s questioning was respectful, and she allowed Paul plenty of time to clarify his remarks.

Asked whether a privately owned establishment, such as a restaurant, should be able to refuse service to blacks, Paul replied, “Yes.”

In an editorial, The Wall Street Journal pointed out that, as a libertarian, Paul should have supported banning discrimination by establishments open to the public, even if they were privately owned, because the law nullified so-called Jim Crow laws. Those laws infringed on liberties and represented an abuse of government power by preventing blacks from eating at lunch counters or staying at hotels.

But Jim Crow laws were only the most visible manifestation of the discrimination back then. As an editor of my college paper in Worcester, Mass., I exposed local landlords’ discrimination against black students. When I called a sample of those who had placed classified ads in the local paper, almost 40 percent admitted they would mind if my roommate was black and said they would not rent to me.

If those same landlords had said they would refuse to rent to white students rather than to black students, I wonder whether Paul would have opposed a law banning discrimination based on race on the grounds the apartments were privately owned.

On the same Fox News show, Palin hinted that President Obama may be in the pocket of Big Oil.

“I don’t know why the question isn’t asked by the mainstream media and by others if there’s any connection with the contributions made to President Obama and his administration and the support by the oil companies to the administration,” Palin said. She asked why Obama was “taking so doggone long to get in there, to dive in there, and grasp the complexity and the potential tragedy that we are seeing here in the Gulf of Mexico.”

The claim that the pace of Obama’s efforts to stop the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has something to do with campaign contributions was just as bogus as the claims made by the left that President Bush and Vice President Cheney were stooges for oil companies.

Palin’s bluster is what we have come to expect from politicians. That is one reason polls show they are held in less esteem than used car salesmen.
But Palin was supposed to be different. Like Obama, she promised she would tell it like it is. But like Obama, who never misses a chance to make misleading comparisons with the Bush administration, Palin has undermined her own credibility.

That has not gone unnoticed in conservative circles. In recent months, several of the most respected leaders of the conservative movement have told me that they are disappointed in Palin. Although they will not say so publicly, none sees her as a serious presidential candidate.

Palin has her followers. She can stir up crowds. But instead of being the un-politician, she has morphed into a caricature of everything people don’t like about politicians.

Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. View his previous reports and get his dispatches sent to you free via e-mail. Go here now.


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