Sarah Palin was on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program last night, talking about the debt-ceiling deal and the spin wars surrounding it. She didn’t think much of the hot new liberal tactic of referring to small-government proponents as “terrorists,” and couldn’t help remembering a time long ago – by which I mean “January” – when they claimed to be very upset about “incendiary rhetoric.”
Palin scores the most salient and devastating point right at the beginning of the clip, when she describes Obama’s vaunted Tucson “civility” speech as a pile of insincere blah-blah-blah. One of the reasons this bitter garbage about “terrorists” and “hostage taking” has been racing through the Left like wildfire is that Obama himself indulges in it, and not just this week. He famously described himself as an escaped hostage during the lame-duck session of Congress, too.
In case you’ve forgotten all the wonderful things Obama said about civilized discourse in Tucson, here are a few choice excerpts:
But at a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized – at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who think differently than we do – it’s important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds.
[…] As we discuss these issues, let each of us do so with a good dose of humility. Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, let us use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy, and remind ourselves of all the ways our hopes and dreams are bound together.
[…] So sudden loss causes us to look backward – but it also forces us to look forward, to reflect on the present and the future, on the manner in which we live our lives and nurture our relationships with those who are still with us. We may ask ourselves if we’ve shown enough kindness and generosity and compassion to the people in our lives. Perhaps we question whether we are doing right by our children, or our community, and whether our priorities are in order. We recognize our own mortality, and are reminded that in the fleeting time we have on this earth, what matters is not wealth, or status, or power, or fame – but rather, how well we have loved, and what small part we have played in bettering the lives of others.
But if you question whether Barack Obama and his big-spending allies are “doing right by our children, or our community,” you’re a lousy suicide-vest wearing, hostage-taking terrorist, no different than the animals who brought down the World Trade Center.
This speech by Obama was supposed to be “the best of his presidency, if not his life,” to quote Ross Kaminsky of the American Spectator. Commentators on the left and right shared this view. Obama’s appalling personal conduct makes a hollow mockery of his fine words. That didn’t start last week, either. Remember how he congratulated the incompetent partisan hack sheriff of Pima County, Clarence Dupnik, for a job well done, even as Dupnik was throwing himself before every camera he could find to blame right-wing talk radio hosts for the Loughner shootings?
Since Obama and the Left set a rough tone for this debate, Palin was ready to climb into the steel cage with them and use her elbows:
Heck, Sean, if we were really domestic terrorists, shoot, President Obama would be wanting to pal around with us wouldn’t he? I mean, he didn’t have a problem with paling around with Bill Ayers back in the day, when he kicked off his political career in Bill Ayers apartment… and then, you know, shaking hands with Chavez, and saying he doesn’t need any preconditions with meeting dictators… or wanting to read US Miranda rights to alleged suspected foreign terrorists. No, if we were real domestic terrorists I think President Obama wouldn’t have a problem with us.
Harsh words… but nothing Palin said was factually incorrect. Would a Republican president be allowed to call political opponents “terrorists,” without any mention of the unrepentant domestic terrorist he counted as one of his mentors? (I know, that’s a trick question. A Republican president wouldn’t be allowed to call political opponents “terrorists” even if his mentors were Mother Theresa and Captain America.)
“I’m not just gonna roll over with a sticker plastered on my forehead that says, ‘Hit me baby, one more time! Call me a terrorist again! Call me a racist!’” Palin declared. Every Republican presidential candidate should immediately check themselves for such a sticker. Note: if you haven’t already demanded a heartfelt apology from Vice President Joe Biden at the top of your lungs, it’s too late. The glue on those stickers sets in fast.
Palin also displayed excellent cage-fighting skills by deftly evading Hannity’s attempt to tackle her and make her declare a presidential candidacy on his show, using a signature wrestling technique known as the Doggone It Drop. Using this technique, she was able to flip Hannity to the mat in such a way that he landed on Mitt Romney.
Palin sees the vitriol aimed at the Tea Party as a sign of its growing intellectual and electoral strength. She mentioned the necessity of keeping the Tea Party “energized,” which shouldn’t be a problem, as this week’s budget battle demonstrated. Nothing puts “steel in their spines” like that annoying “boot on the neck” sensation they get from watching angry Establishment types insist they’re not even allowed to participate in the national discussion.
Puzzled by the “wasted opportunities” to advance crucial reforms like the Balanced Budget Amendment during the debt ceiling debate, Palin encouraged Republicans to keep talking about the serious issues that entered the public consciousness over the past few weeks. That’s the biggest victory that could come from the milquetoast compromise our political class just made with ruin. Terms and concepts known only to policy wonks a month ago have entered the mainstream dialogue. This week should have marked the beginning of a national conversation, not the end. There is zero chance that those sincerely concerned about the size of our government and national debt will be silenced by calling them “terrorists.”