Projections, Hallucinations, and Sarah Palin

For most of us, everything we see around us is a projection of our inner reality — our beliefs, biases, thoughts, fears, desires, etc. I’m not saying that’s what actually is all around us, mind you, just that that’s what we see. An ability to see things as-they-are is rare and usually takes a lot of work to cultivate. And yes, this is a Buddhist teaching, although I think a lot of psychologists would agree with it.

In the realm of politics, it’s common to put politicians we like on pedestals (eventually to be disappointed when they fail to live up to be the people we projected them to be), while assigning all manner of unsavory characteristics to politicians we don’t like. In fact, I’d say that tendency is more than common. We probably all do it to one extent or another.

They key to developing objectivity is self-awareness. If you have some intimacy with yourself, you can at least recognize your biases as biases and your projections as projections. That doesn’t make the biases and projections go away, exactly, but at least you can learn not to mistake them for reality. Such self-awareness also adds a healthy amount of doubt to your opinions, which keeps the option open that I might be wrong. If you can do that, you are less likely to be utterly fooled.

People who are not self-aware have no idea that they live in a dream world of projections. Further, if the dreamer’s projections are being reinforced by the people around him, this reinforcement can set up a positive feedback loop for the projections that make them even more “real” and impenetrable. This can set up another kind of feedback loop in which everything the dreamer sees is interpreted as reinforcement for the dreams. Such a person becomes more and more delusional, and also appears more and more irrational to other people who aren’t living in the same dream world. (See also “Truth, Lies and Self-Deception: None of us are beyond deceiving ourselves” by Dr. Stephen Diamond at Psychology Today.)

When the dreamer is keenly interested in politics, his projections of political figures become more and more polarized. Politicians are either idealized or demonized. They are either manifestations of all that is noble and good, or they are diabolical agents of evil and destruction. Now, we all do this to some extent. We want to think “our” politicians are doing what’s best, while “their” politicians are stupid, crazy or corrupt. But most of us, I hope, can also appreciate that politicians are all flawed human beings who are neither utterly evil nor utterly good.

I don’t want to set up a dichotomy that says righties are all hallucinating while lefties are not. I see plenty of dreamers on the Left. The “9/11 truthers” are a prime example. During the 2008 Democratic primary, I was startled at the degree of idealization/demonization among progressives of both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, and their supporters. And yes, I was caught up in it, too, but at least I could admit it at the time. And don’t get me started on how “identity politics” — which usually involves a lot of ego projection — has held back progressivism.

But now that I’ve said all that — are Sarah Palin supporters out to lunch, or what?

Yes, it’s too easy to make fun of them. But I ran into a post this morning from someone who calls herself a feminist and who appears to lean left but who seems not to see the insanity.

Dr. Violet Socks of Reclusive Leftist correctly notes that some on the Left are projecting all manner of things onto Sarah Palin that may have little to do with Sarah Palin. They ascribe opinions to Palin that Palin may not hold, or at least has not publicly expressed. I honestly don’t know where Palin stands on “abstinence only” sex ed, for example, and if Dr. Socks says Palin is in favor of contraception information in sex ed, I will take the doctor’s word on that.

But here’s a problem:

Which brings me to my first puzzlement: why don’t people bother to find out what Sarah Palin really believes? I don’t mean people as in the usual sexist freaks; I mean feminists.

Sarah Palin is only the second woman in the history of this country to run on a major party’s presidential ticket. That alone makes her, to me, a fascinating figure worthy of serious investigation. When McCain announced Palin as his choice for VP, I immediately tried to find out as much about her as I could. I wanted to know who she was, what she believed, what her politics were. It never occurred to me that this interest would make me in any way unusual among feminists, but apparently it did. Apparently most feminists — at least the ones online — are content to just take the word of the frat boys at DailyKos or the psycho-sexists at Huffington Post. That amazes me. Aren’t you even interested in who she really is? I want to ask. She’s only the second woman on a presidential ticket in our whole fricking history!

But even weirder is what happens when you try to replace the myths with the truth. If you explain, “no, she didn’t charge rape victims,” your feminist interlocutor will come back with something else: “she’s abstinence-only!” No, you say, she’s not; and then the person comes back with, “she’s a creationist!” and so on. “She’s an uneducated moron!” Actually, Sarah Palin is not dumb at all, and based on her interviews and comments, I’d say she has a greater knowledge of evolution, global warming, and the Wisconsin glaciation in Alaska than the average citizen.

Where to begin: First, I have listened to and read Palin speeches and interviews, and I do not think Sarah Palin knows what Sarah Palin believes. She doesn’t seem to have any cohesive political ideology beyond what plays well to the crowd. And when the crowd wants red meat, she throws it with the best of ’em.

Yes, she is only the second woman to appear on a political ticket. And Clarence Thomas was only the second black man to be seated on the Supreme Court, but that doesn’t make Clarence Thomas a beacon of hope for those struggling with oppression, does it?

Yes, a lot of sexism got mixed into criticism of her. Just because she’s a woman doesn’t mean she’s a ditz. However, just because she’s a woman doesn’t mean she isn’t a ditz. And let’s face it — she’s a ditz. I’m sorry, but that’s the truth of it. I cannot see how anyone could have read or heard the speeches and interviews, including the recent “farewell address,” without concluding the woman is a ditz.

Many on the Right took offense at the assumption that she left the governorship because she was about to be hit with criminal charges. Frankly, that assumption gave her credit. It ascribed a solid, grown-up (if not pretty) reason for bailing out on the governorship. If she is not leaving for any reason other than what she gave in her speech — good luck finding a reason in that incoherent mess of a speech — then she’s a ditz. With sprinkles, whipped cream and a cherry on top.

Whether she’s “dumb” I cannot say. She probably does have considerable native intelligence or she wouldn’t have gotten as far as she got. However, she shares with our recent president George W. Bush a pathological incuriousity about the world. During the 2008 presidential campaign she revealed more than once that her knowledge of how the federal government works, including what a vice president does, barely rose to the level of “superficial.”

As for

Actually, Sarah Palin is not dumb at all, and based on her interviews and comments, I’d say she has a greater knowledge of evolution, global warming, and the Wisconsin glaciation in Alaska than the average citizen.

One of us is living in Bizarro World, and I don’t think it’s me.

I assume that Dr. Socks is projecting qualities and virtues onto Palin because Palin is a woman. But Palin in this case is a walking Rorschach inkblot test. Dr. Socks looks at Palin and sees what she wants to see.

As for the real Sarah Palin, she may be neither stupid nor corrupt. My suspicions are that the adulation of the extremist Right has unhinged her, and brought out the worst in her, and had she not come to the nation’s attention she would simply have been a reasonably average governor of Alaska. If I’m right, the best thing she could do for herself is to drop out of public life and try to remember who she is.

However, I’m afraid she won’t do that. And if she continues to grow into the persona the extremist Right projects onto her, she’s going to become more and more monstrous as time goes on.

32 thoughts on “Projections, Hallucinations, and Sarah Palin

  1. Yes, I think what we have here is an ego feeding itself. She started out with a grandiose idea of who she is and is now believing her own press. While her resignation certainly looks like a classic reaction to a scandal coming down the round, she just may be delusional enough to think quitting was a good political move. It’s hard to know what Palin is thinking since she doesn’t seem to think the same way most people do.

  2. While I wholeheartedly agree, I think Sarah’s role (in being a walking Rorschach test) is more active than passive. It’s what struck me about the Couric interviews – here’s a woman is who used to being able to double-talk, intuiting the right words and tone to use to send the listener away happy (“…with great appreciation for the media…”).

    While there’s a type of intelligence there, it’s one in which “thinking” means exactly the same as “scheming”.

  3. Well, I assumed that the embezzlement rumors would be true. That was my projection, based mostly on her shopping sprees and disregard for the rule of law.
    However, upon relflection, theft really isn’t her style. I think sheprobably is just pretty dumb: the word salad speech patterns indicate a very disorderly mind and the inability to think rationally or reasonably is a pretty good functional definition of dumb.
    As for ho did this dumb preson get so far? Because of her charisma. She presents herself very well. Republican political operatives look for bullshitters to be their politicians deliberately. They want another Reagan; someone with charisma who can sucker the rubes into voting against their own interests.
    Being dumb and ignorant isn’t a bar to being a successful rightwinger. Hhell. it’s a prerequisite. Her problem is that she is a quitter.

    She’s been one all of her life. This is the woman who dropped out of college four or five times, got marginal grades. quit her positioon on the oil board…her pattern is to jump inot situations where she sees herself shining in others’ eyes and bail once the criticism starts. ANd the critism is inevitable given her dumbness; she can’t follow through and perform her responsibilities.

    I don’t know how successful she is gong to be on the rightwing speaker’s circuit. There are a lot of rightwingers who are mad at ther for being a quitter. The myth that got projected on her fro the right was that she was a scrappy represenntive of their base. She betrayed that by quitting.

    Here’s a joke from James Joyner:

    What is the difeerence between a hocky mom and a pitbull?

    The pitbull doesn’t quit.

  4. However, she shares with our recent president George W. Bush a pathological incuriousity about the world. During the 2008 presidential campaign she revealed more than once that her knowledge of how the federal government works, including what a vice president does, barely rose to the level of “superficial.”

    She doesn’t seem to like learning. She doesn’t seem to see any point in being well-informed — apparently, to her, it’s not enriching in and of itself and it’s irrelevant to her career goals. She seems to think there’s a simple soundbite for every issue, and that substitutes for real thought.

    And in the wingnut demimonde, that’s somewhat true.

  5. Dr. Socks must have access to speeches and writings by Palin that are unavailable to the rest of us. I’m with you Maha, I’ve seen nothing from her that would convince me that she she is anything but a “ditz”. And her voice is god dam annoying as well.

  6. Good one.

    Dr. Socks admonitions of carelessness in estimation of Palin’s positions tells more about Dr. Socks than it supplies any new facts about Palin. I’d love to hear her discuss her conclusions with others.

    Thanks for the blurb on self-awareness. There’s something sadly delusional about one who has reached adulthood with any sort of “what-must-I-have-been-thinking” moment. Equally self-indulgent is the suppression or concealment of whatever self-awareness may surface.

  7. Holy crap, just because Sarah Palin is a woman, we’re supposed to pretend to ignore what she believes, in order to be a good feminist? The only one here who apparently hasn’t taken the time to get the facts is Dr. Socks. I mean, how ignorant does one have to be, to write

    based on [Palin’s] interviews and comments, I’d say she has a greater knowledge of evolution, global warming, and the Wisconsin glaciation in Alaska than the average citizen.

    A really jaw-droppingly untrue sentence like that makes me wonder if Dr. Socks is actually someone’s cat. If Toonces could drive a car (just not well), I suppose Dr. Socks can write a blog (just not well).

    Or maybe Dr. Socks is one of those really big reactionary cats that have taken leave of their senses… what do they call themselves? PUMAs?

  8. Her bio is stunningly similar to GWBush’s. Wonkie’s comments support my conclusion.

    Reading maha’s post, I’m reminded of what Hitler said, “I follow my course with the precision and security of a sleepwalker.” (How far removed from introspection can one be.)

    And then there’s Machiavelli’s observation, “The great marjority of mankind is satisfied with appearances as though they were realities,” which provides some clues as to why Palin is acceptable to a (surprising) number of people.

    And the possible upshot of the future Palin-for-president? “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is you end up being governed by your inferiors.” Plato.

  9. “If you have some intimacy with yourself, you can at least recognize your biases as biases and your projections as projections. That doesn’t make the biases and projections go away, exactly, but at least you can learn not to mistake them for reality. Such self-awareness also adds a healthy amount of doubt to your opinions, which keeps the option open that I might be wrong. If you can do that, you are less likely to be utterly fooled.”

    If she struggles with the personality disorder mentioned in a recent article she has learned quite painfully that those who don’t feel the impulse to ego-merge with her b/c of her charisma, generally are quite critical of her, turn away emotionally and/or contest with her for power within whatever the system is.

    Because of this she may be to a point where she can not accept influence from anyone who has not passed the test of either, no criticism, no matter what, or from anyone who might have power in the system equal or greater to hers. Like the “cone of silence” from 60’s TV, these folks live in a cone-of-intimacy that restricts affects in depth and range, and can be controlled.

    This is so terribly isolating that it truncates and limits social interactions, convinces the individual to never let strangers get to close and makes anxiety, acute and moderate, a constant companion. It is quite miserable at the intra-personal level actually.

    Politicians must always wear the mask when in role (something Biden appears to struggle with), but in private someones like a W. and SP have trouble taking it off at times when it is important to receive genuine feedback, positive and negative, which can be the cornerstone of reality testing and un-stuffing the world with the continuous outflow of projections like Barbara mentioned.

    One of the defenses to this is to become, at times, entertaining, facile of wit or just radiate the charisma or seduction. But when impulses of feelings are so difficult to control the person ends up mis-attuned with emotional responses and appear cold or indifferent to suffering. They just can’t help it.

    This generates the cycle of attack and criticism that utterly convinces them that its just a jungle out there and most or all others are sure to hurt if they get a chance. Thus is the self-reinforcing cycle where one phase leads to the next, leads to the next, and then back to the start. They can be awful to deal with and, like a rabid animal, there is not much that can be done with them but eliminated from the system. That is why they are so goddamn difficult to deal with when they reach a high station in the system. And of course, to maintain that power they must become 14 kinds of ruthless and deceptive. I don’t think we need any more of that in the White House if we can help it.

  10. Dr Socks aside, what I get is Sarah quits when whatever she’s engaged in doesn’t work for her. I also think that because 2008 brought her national fame, who needs to be governor any more? It’s “hard work”, and with demanding and irritating constitutencies to satisfy, who needs a situation like that which only points up her inadequacies, in public yet.

    There are loads of adoring wingnuts who will take her to the next step whatever it may be. I get that she loves the limelight, but only if it will flatter her ego. And so I’d expect some sort of role on television.

  11. There’s an old Christian sentiment that goes like this: If you want to know where a man has his heart, look to where he devotes his time and effort. Using that thought as a guiding light I can’t help but see a contradiction in Sarah Palin’s professed and unbounded love for the people of Alaska. Her words are out of sync with her actions. My advice to Sarah is the same as my wife has passed onto me…”Don’t tell me how much you love me, show me how much you love me”

    There is no sin in seeking fame or fortune or pursuing your own dreams, but when you move on bigger things don’t paint that move as being the sacrificial lamb for somebody else. Either Sarah is delusional or deceitful in her claim, and either way it’s wrong.

  12. Let’s look at a few facts. The first real look we got at SP was the GOP convention, and she dished up some red meat. She served it with gusto and the right at it up, and asked for more. But every time she is in front of a mike, she whines about how she is mistreated. File that under, ‘You can dish it out, but you can’t take it.”

    The facts seem undisputed on this incident. When SP was mayor, she asked the city librarian is she would remove books if she was asked to. The librarian said no. SP, as mayor fired the libarian, and only public outcry got the librarian reinstated. SP supporters claim she did not ban books (true) and she did not fire the librarian (half-true) she was fired and reinstated. Forget hair-splitting, SP tried to impose censorship, and that inclination is more frightening to me than child-abuse.

    She supported the bridge to nowhere, and then she reversed her position when in became untenable, and then built her VP qualifications on the phony position.

    Dr. Socks never gave any quotes or examples to support her claim that SP is in fact a feminist. The Doc admitted that SP is anti-abortion, but then asserts that’s not enough to disqualify SP as a feminist. She says SP is for sex-ed and for contraception. May I have quotes, dates & places the speech was given? I think SP has said she has gay friends – OK – but what about (to stick to feminist issues) how about the rights of lesbians? Marriage? Shared property? Assignment of medical benefits to your life partner? Rights of lesbians to adopt & raise children? I am waiting to hear, and I did not see examples of SP’s positions.

    SP was a favorite target for SNL. The the best SP skit included a word-for-word re-enactment of a SP answer – delivered straight w/out exageration. The McCain handlers kept her under wraps before the first interview, and tried to avoid more interviews, but she did more, and every interview was a train wreck. She continues to blame her performance on the interviewer(s) for hostile questions like, ‘What do you read?”

    There are plenty of improvements in Alasks to point to. The previous governor did everything but lapdances for the oil industry. She’s put distance between the governors office and Big Oil, and shared some of that oil revenue with the citizens. Bravo! But that doesn’t change that she’s an incoherent religious whackjob who’s no more a feminist than Richard Nixon.

  13. As for

    Actually, Sarah Palin is not dumb at all, and based on her interviews and comments, I’d say she has a greater knowledge of evolution, global warming, and the Wisconsin glaciation in Alaska than the average citizen.

    One of us is living in Bizarro World, and I don’t think it’s me.

    I assume that Dr. Socks is projecting qualities and virtues onto Palin because Palin is a woman. But Palin in this case is a walking Rorschach inkblot test. Dr. Socks looks at Palin and sees what she wants to see.

    Speak for yourself.

    The average citizen, I daresay, does not even know what the Wisconsin glaciation was. The average citizen does not understand that mountain valleys have been scoured by glaciers, nor is the average citizen conversant with the current state of warming in the Arctic Ocean, nor does the average citizen have much understanding of evolution.

    I’ve read interviews with Sarah Palin dating back to long before she became the VP candidate. Her father was a science teacher, and she grew up being lectured on the evolutionary and geological history of Alaska. Her father would give impromptu lectures on fossils, etc. I’m not saying the woman is a genius or has an academic grasp of the subjects; I’m saying she has a better than average knowledge. She can look out on the Alaskan and see the geological history, and comment on it intelligently.

    The question in my mind is why you are so convinced this is impossible.

  14. “Terminal Narcissism”.
    I have a neighbor who is very similar to Palin. One stormy night, she called me up (she had been drinking some wine) and announced “God” had asked her to run for the school board.She recently had a whole bunch of cosmetic surgery; boob job, tummy tuck, face lift lipo, etc. THEN she files for divorce.
    As the fates would have it, her opponent could not run because he was trying a run at the state senate (he’s a former neighbor, and a TOTAL wack job)so she ran unopposed and won the seat. Now because of the economic down turn, her business is a bit slow, but God is blessing her and keeping her crew busy.
    That’s what I admire about God, he really likes to advance the balance sheets of blessed Republicans, but fuck those kids in the cancer ward.
    There ain’t enough duct tape in the world……………

  15. Dr. Socks, Sarah Palin has said many times she favors teaching creationism in public school. I thought this was because she was ignorant. However, if she knows better, as you say, then she is not ignorant, but just a common political hack who sells out truth for political expedience.

    Thanks so much for clearing that up.

  16. Maha, the link you posted is to one debate where Palin referred to the creationist controversy by saying it should be addressed in class.

    You ignore her other statements, such as this one:

    Oh, I think it [evolution] should be taught as an accepted principle. And, as you know, I say that also as the daughter of a school teacher, a science teacher, who has really instilled in me a respect for science. It should be taught in our schools. And I won’t deny that I see the hand of God in this beautiful creation that is Earth. But that is not part of the state policy or a local curriculum in a school district. Science should be taught in science class.

    It’s interesting that in a post about trying to understand who Palin really is, you quote only from a hostile secondary source and ignore Palin’s other statements.


    Also, how exactly does this advance feminism?

  17. Dr. Socks – The title of your article is ‘Feminism and the Mystery of Sarah Palin’. A lot of us are unconvinced that SP qualifies as a feminist. I said you gave no examples to support your thesis. When you write to defend your position on feminism, you write about Sarah’s expertise with Wisconson glaciation & Arctic Ocean warming. If you can’t defend her position on feminism, maybe you want a new title for your article?.

    Would you care to explain her opposition to protecting Polar Bears from extinction?If she understands the threat of the warming of the Arctic Ocean, surely she can see the effect on the habitat. It’s swell that she knows geology; no one has suggested that she’s dumb as a rock. But on feminism, she flunked, and on the environment, she’s failing.

    If it makes you happy, she get’s an A in geology.

  18. Palin had plenty of opportunities to expound her beliefs. She often ducked them. For instance, when Katie Couric asked her her views on abortion, Palin said she would advise against it – but never made the distinction between her personal beliefs and legislation she’d support. Couric should have pushed her on this, but regardless, Palin dodged, most likely to appear more moderate. Does her position on “equal rights” for women include reproductive freedom? Is anyone really concerned about women being jailed for having an abortion (Palin said she opposed that) compared to their concerns over keeping abortion legal? Gosh, why would Palin allow any murkiness on such subjects in a major interview? I’m not a fan of the sexism directed at Palin, but on many issues, any “confusion” about Palin’s views are primarily her own fault. I don’t doubt there are areas where she’s knowledgeable, but on economics and foreign policy, she was clearly lost – or occasionally whipped out tired, debunked right-wing talking points. As Fallows observed, it wasn’t her views per se – she just wasn’t conversant. At times she flatly contradicted herself in the course of a few minutes – as in the VP debate, where she said that she and McCain would reinstate regulation, and then turned around and said government should get out of the way. Sure, she’s not a total ignoramus, but she was in over her head (as Bush always was), a proven liar and a hack, not a wonk. Nor with her small town folksy shtick has she ever pretended to a wonk – she sold anti-intellectualism and bigotry throughout the campaign. She mocked useful research and repeatedly lied even after her lies were widely debunked. So why exactly, with someone so dishonorable, should we be expending energy claiming that Palin’s actually much smarter than the completely-lost pol she revealed herself to be in several performances? Aren’t there more honest and insightful people to discuss matters with, instead?

    Take the creationism issue – okay, Dr. Violet Socks says that was one answer in a debate – there’s still a contradiction between that answer and hers to Couric. There’s a fuller quotation here. Did Palin just forget to clarify her position on science curricula to Alaskan voters, even though her answer undermined science teachers? Which is the real Palin? Was she pandering to Alaskan voters, or presenting a more moderate image to Couric?

    She was non-responsive to many a pertinent question during the campaign, and outright ignored many of them during her debate. Sure, I’d like to know Palin’s policy views, but it would help if she explained them coherently, consistently and honestly – and I’d weigh them more if Sarah Palin demonstrated that she gave a damn about good policy instead of slogans like “Drill Baby Drill.” Sorry, Palin’s impediment was not a lack of charity from the people who tried to follow her statements. Like her running mate, she ran mostly on a (fake) persona, stunts and slogans, and that’s why they lost and her popularity tanked, most of all among women. Dr. Violet Socks may have a point on this or the other tidbit, there were also plenty of substantial feminist pieces delving into Palin’s positions – to the extent she explained them – during the campaign.

  19. Socks — teaching creationism in a science class is unacceptable. No one who respects science could consider such a thing. If she knows better, that is hardly an excuse.

    Also, how exactly does this advance feminism?

    You are the one dragging down feminism by insisting that a woman cannot be held to the same standard as a man. Knee jerk support for women just because they are women was never the point of feminism.

    Now, please, stop embarrassing yourself and feminism generally and get over Palin.

  20. Per Palin and abstinence education:

    Posted: Monday, September 01, 2008 1:27 PM by Mark Murray
    Filed Under: Sarah Palin
    From NBC’s Katie Primm and Mark Murray
    By the way, as has been pointed out, Palin backed abstinence-only education during her 2006 gubernatorial race. In an Eagle Forum Alaska questionnaire, Palin gave this response to the following question:

    Will you support funding for abstinence-until-marriage education instead of for explicit sex-education programs, school-based clinics, and the distribution of contraceptives in schools?

    Palin: Yes, the explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support.

    *** UPDATE *** NBC’s Abby Livingston adds that a McCain spokesperson in May 2007 said the Arizona Republican supported abstinence-only education, too. “Sen. McCain believes the correct policy for educating young children on this subject is to promote abstinence as the only safe and responsible alternative. To do otherwise is to send a mixed signal to children that, on the one hand they should not be sexually active, but on the other here is the way to go about it. As any parent knows, ambiguity and equivocation leads to problems when it comes to teaching children right from wrong. Sen. McCain believes that there are many negative forces in today’s society that promote irresponsible and dangerous behavior to our children. The public education system should not join this chorus of moral equivocation and ambiguity.”


    The Eagle Forum Alaska page got pulled a while back, but someone made a mirror site:

    1. Complete the sentence by checking the applicable phrases (you can check more than one).
    Abortion should be:
    Banned throughout entire pregnancy.
    Legal to save the life of the mother.
    Legal in case of rape and incest.
    Legal if the baby is handicapped.
    Legal if the baby has a genetic defect.
    Legal in the first trimester.
    Legal in the second trimester.
    Legal in the third trimester.

    JB: Banned throughout entire pregnancy.
    Legal to save the life of the mother.
    SP: I am pro-life. With the exception of a doctor�s determination that the mother�s life would end if the pregnancy continued. I believe that no matter what mistakes we make as a society, we cannot condone ending an innocent�s life.

    3. Will you support funding for abstinence-until-marriage education instead of for explicit sex-education programs, school-based clinics, and the distribution of contraceptives in schools?
    JB: We should not exclude abstinence-until-marriage education programs.
    SP: Yes, the explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support.


    10. Do you support the Alaska Supreme Court�s ruling that spousal benefits for state employees should be given to same-sex couples? Why or why not?
    JB: No. The constitutional amendment was clear to me.
    SP: No, I believe spousal benefits are reserved for married citizens as defined in our constitution.

  21. I’m pretty sure–as sure as one can be about the workings of the mind of a person known ony at great distace–that, while palin has views on various issues, she never really was committed to using politics to promote those views. To her the purpose of a political career was to promote herslef.

    Lokk at her career: she was the crusading socila warrior in her first election, turnig the normally lowkey, nonpartisan race into a divisive hatefest directed at her Republican opponent; she then morphed into ann anti-Republican establismemt reformer who downplayed her social conservatism and promoted the Democrats’ ethics and gas revenue reform legislation; then, when the mCain campaign decided that they wanted a wingnut woman, she made her final transformation into mega-culture warrior woman.

    The consistant theme throughout her career is personal: her ambition, her defensiveness and smalltown snobgery, and her tendecy to catagorize everyone as either with her or against her and to use political power to get revenge on those in the “against ehr” catagory. There are very few examples of her using political power for a legitimate government puurpose; she seems honeslty to have had little idea what to do with power other than to use it to get even with people. Her accomplishemtns are: the Wasilla sports areana, the twin peices of Democratic reform legislation, the ham handed efforts to run Wasilla in accordance with her religious beliefs…that’s about it. Since hse got back from her VP run she only intorduced twelve pieces of legislatin and only one passed. Her own party was pissed at her for her failure to do her job as Governor.

    So what does Sarah believe? Is she a rightwing religious fanatic or a closet moderate from a wingnut chruch?

    WHo cares?

    I mean seriously, who cares, given her track record of using political power to meet her emotinal needs rather than any sort of policy goals?

  22. …and then, yep, she does an about-face a few weeks later, it is true.

    “n a widely quoted 2006 survey she answered during her gubernatorial campaign, Palin said she supported abstinence-until-marriage programs. But weeks later, she proclaimed herself “pro-contraception” and said condoms ought to be discussed in schools alongside abstinence.

    “I’m pro-contraception, and I think kids who may not hear about it at home should hear about it in other avenues,” she said during a debate in Juneau. …

    Palin spokeswoman Maria Comella said the governor stands by her 2006 statement, supporting sex education that covers both abstinence and contraception.

    McCain’s campaign did not respond to questions about whether Palin’s position is inconsistent with his. But earlier, a campaign spokesperson said McCain believes abstinence is “the only safe and responsible alternative.” . . .

    Palin’s statements date to her 2006 gubernatorial run. In July of that year, she completed a candidate questionnaire that asked, would she support funding for abstinence-until-marriage programs instead of “explicit sex-education programs, school-based clinics and the distribution of contraceptives in schools?”

    Palin wrote, “Yes, the explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support.”

    But in August of that year, Palin was asked during a KTOO radio debate if “explicit” programs include those that discuss condoms. Palin said no and called discussions of condoms “relatively benign.”

    “Explicit means explicit,” she said. “No, I’m pro-contraception, and I think kids who may not hear about it at home should hear about it in other avenues. So I am not anti-contraception. But, yeah, abstinence is another alternative that should be discussed with kids. I don’t have a problem with that. That doesn’t scare me, so it’s something I would support also.”


    “Explicit means explicit.”

    Okey-dokey, then.

    The depressing part is, in the comments, someone determines that “explicit” means -demonstrating- how to use a condom (in that obscene rolling down over a banana, one presumes), and a number of commenters go, well, that makes perfect sense. Who doesn’t know how to put on a condom? How could you get it wrong? Forget to open the package? Hur, hurr.

  23. But yeah, no, it’s really not all that unrealistic to assume that Palin giving emphatic “yups” to the likes of Eagle Forum on their red-meat issues when most of the other gubernatorial candidates except for Binkley, including the Republicans, means that Palin probably -really is- a right-winger; it’s not a bloody “smear.” The fact that she changes her tune somewhat when talking to someone else makes her a politician, but it doesn’t exactly make me as someone who gives a damn about this shit go “oh, well, okay then, she’s probably gonna be just fine, and hey, she’s got the right chromosomes and bits, right? Go Palin Go!”

  24. and yeah, there is that pretty explicit “no rape or health of the mother (as opposed to actual life or death) considerations taken into account: abortion is bad mkay,” isn’t there.

  25. From that same McCain/Palin/Couric interview linked above (p 3):;contentBody

    Couric: Let me get your take, if I could Gov. Palin, on a number of social issues. Because that’s, they’ve gotten some attention, your position. If a 15-year-old is raped by her father,you believe it should be illegal for her to get an abortion. Why?

    Palin: I am pro-life. And I’m unapologetic about my position there on pro-life. And I understand good people on both sides of the abortion debate. In fact, good people in my own family have differing views on abortion and when it should be allowed. So … I respect people’s opinion on this.

    Now, I would counsel to choose life. I would like to see a culture of life in this country. But I would also like to see taking it one step further. Not just saying I am pro-life, and I want fewer and fewer abortions in this country. But I want, then, those women who find themselves in circumstances that are absolutely less than ideal, for them to be supported for adoptions to be made easier. For more support given to foster parents and adoptive families. That is my personal opinion on this.

    Couric: But, ideally, you think it should be illegal …

    Palin: If you …

    Couric: …for a girl who was raped or the victim of incest to get an abortion?

    Palin: I’m saying that, personally, I would counsel the person to choose life, despite horrific, horrific circumstances that this person would find themselves in. And, um, if you’re asking, though, kind of foundationally here, should anyone end up in jail for having an … abortion, absolutely not. That’s nothing I would ever support…

    Notice she doesn’t exclude the possibility of the -doctor- going to jail, there. And that she pulls out every trick in the book to make what’s clearly her actual position, one of the few she’s been consistent on, to wit:

    “Yes, I am against abortion even in the case of rape or incest. Yes, I’m going to make it as difficult as possible for women and girls to get an abortion, if I only get the chance. Yes, that includes girls who are raped and can’t -get- parental permission because it might actually be the parent who fathered the child in the first place. -Yes.-”

    Further down:

    Couric: Some people have credited the morning-after pill as for decreasing the number of abortions. How do you feel about the morning after pill?

    Palin: Well …I’m all for contraception. And I’m all for any preventative measures that are legal and safe and should be taken. But, Katie, again and we can go round and round about the abortion issue, but I am one to seek a culture of life. I am one to believe that life starts at the moment of conception. And I would like to see …

    Couric: And so you don’t believe in the morning-after pill.

    Palin: I would like to see fewer and fewer abortions in this world. And, again, I haven’t spoken with anyone who disagrees with my position on that.

    Couric: I’m sorry. I just want to ask you again. Do you not support or do you condone or condemn the morning after pill?

    Palin: Personally, and this is isn’t McCain-Palin policy …

    Couric: That’s OK. I’m just asking you.

    Palin: But, personally, I would not choose to participate in that kind of contraception. It …

    Couric: Do you think it should be illegal?

    Palin: I don’t think that it should necessarily be illegal. But we can go, again, round and round. And what the foundation I believe of this debate, of this discussion, even of your questions, is do you believe in the sanctity of life? Are you are you gonna side on the pro-life position or not when decisions are in front of you and you have to make them? Now, as a vice president, what positions would a vice-president have to take on the abortion issue? They’re not legislating. A vice president does not make law.

    Couric: But if you have a moral problem with abortion, it seems to me you would do everything in your power to make it illegal and overturn Roe v. Wade and …

    Palin: Of course, it’s the legislature, the law-making branch of our third, of our three branches of government …

    Couric: But they …

    Palin: …makes the laws.

    Couric: …your vision or the administration’s vision.

    Palin: Well, let’s be practical about it and let’s be realistic about a vice-president’s role in this debate. I can personally share my views, which I don’t apologize when I share my views of being pro-life. And, you know, I’ll do that all day long if you want me to. But a vice-president does not make law. And a vice-president does not interpret the law either.

    Couric: So you’re saying this won’t be a top issue for you if you’re elected?

    Palin: I will do all that I can personally to encourage that culture of life, to remind women that I believe with more empowerment, they – more and more women will realize that they are strong enough … and they are able to carry a child and still continue a career, still continue education opportunities, all with the goal being fewer and fewer abortions in this world.

    Shorter Palin:

    “Yes, I’m against the morning-after pill. Yes, if I had it in my power I’d legislate against it. But hey, I won’t be -making- the laws in any case, next question? Did I mention I’m pro-life? Because I really, really am.”

    But by all means, VS, keep trying to minimize how much impact having this woman in a position of national power would actually make on the real lives of women, our reproductive choices. She’s a feminist! She tells us so herself. What else matters?

  26. …not that any of this matters, of course; this politician is no more, this is an ex-governor, she’s pining for the glaciers, she’s gone joined the Think Tank Invisible (beautiful plumage, the Alaskan Red), etc. you’ll pardon me: someone is WRONG on the Internets. guh. anyway.

  27. Maha:

    This post is very interesting to me because it echoes a problem that I have been wrestling with. All that we experience gets processed through our subconcious and concious minds. The subconcious, I believe, helps shape how the concious mind understands that experience. It helps form our opinions, beliefs, prejudices, biases, etc. As the name implies (and your post states), this moulding occurs below the level of conciousness, i.e., most (all?) people are unaware that this is even occuring.

    If that is the case, and this layperson believes it is, then all knowledge above basic computations is suspect. Once the human mind begins to analyze, then truth is contingent on the analyst (to varying degrees, of course). If that is the case, then where does that leave truth? If even Frued and Jung were susceptible to self-deception (as Dr. Diamond states), then how can laypeople escape the Cave to see the Forms?

    I am curious to hear what Buddhism has to say on this. You can email me or respond at this forum.


  28. BLD —

    all knowledge above basic computations is suspect.

    Yeah, pretty much.

    I regret to say that I’m already over-committed, time-wise, but if you want to explore Buddhist teaching on this (which are vast; I’ve only scratched the surface myself) you are welcome to do so on my Buddhism site, although I’m not sure where you should begin. You might try reading the articles on Dependent Origination and The Five Skandhas together, which may not explain much but would give you a taste of how Buddhism approaches this issue.

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