Welcome to the Brave New World where author Aldous Huxley imagined in his 1932 satire that society would prefer to be kept uninformed and live lock-step in a soma-induced blissful oblivion. Well, close enough. The world is the political orbit of the Republican Party in which no one is allowed to speak critically of vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin and the media, in particular, is not to pursue questions that seek to flesh out her positions or leadership style were she to be catapulted into the nation’s highest office.
Facts in this Republican dystopia (a negative utopia) don’t matter; what matters is that supporters swallow the party script. So, if Gov. Palin wants to keep repeating the lie that she opposed the Bridge to Nowhere and rejects federal earmarks to states, then the party faithful should excuse the falsehood and just drink the soma-laced Kool-Aid.
John Feehery, a Republican strategist, captured the mood perfectly in a Washington Post story on Tuesday when he told a Post reporter that the campaign was entering a period in which the dominant themes established in the campaign were more important than skirmishes over the facts.
“The more The New York Times and The Washington Post go after Sarah Palin, the better off she is, because there’s a bigger truth out there and the bigger truths are she’s new, she’s popular in Alaska and she is an insurgent,” Feehery said. “As long as those are out there, these little facts don’t really matter.”
Wow. Let’s think about that.
It doesn’t matter that a person who wants to be vice-president and is a heartbeat away from the presidency is lying about one of her defining characteristics as a candidate: that she rejects federal pork. (The truth: she was initially a big supporter of the Bridge to Nowhere and the federal funding that would build it. Once Congress turned against the project and it was dead, she flip-flopped and announced she was against it, but the state still took the $223 million in federal aid; currently $73 million of that money is reportedly in a state account just waiting for the kind of pork-barrel project she’s supposed to be against.)
It doesn’t matter that in a campaign touting its ‘straight-talk’ and willingness to reform Washington’s corrupt ways, Gov. Palin billed Alaska’s taxpayers for 312 nights of “per diem” expenses (meant to cover expenses when she is not at home) these first 19 months, even though she spent those nights at home.
It doesn’t matter that she thinks women should be forced to have a child in cases of rape or incest (she opposes abortion in all cases); that she thinks the Iraq war is “God’s task” for Americans; that she thinks creationism should be taught in public schools; that human actions are not a cause of global warming; or that her actions as mayor and governor have shown an intense penchant for secrecy within government and gagging a free press — shades of Bush-Cheney, but maybe to an even greater degree.
John McCain’s staff has kept her on a narrow message during the few campaign outings, thus far, and have kept her off the Sunday morning news shows where candidates are routinely grilled on issues and news of the week. Sens. McCain, Barack Obama and Joe Biden were all there this past week, but Palin was muzzled — lest she say something that’s not presidential.
None of this matters because what’s important, according to the GOP’s Feehery, is that’s she “popular,” she’s “new” and she’s an “insurgent” — well, let’s at least call her a wannabe reformist in that conservative sense of toeing the line for God and country without question.
None of this says much about whether Mrs. Palin has any qualifications to lead the free world, but at least now we know what they’re putting in the Kool-Aid.
Angelo S. Lynn