In Defense of Sarah Palin

Via ABC News:  Sarah Palin: ‘We Gotta Stand With Our North Korean Allies’

[In a TV interview with Glen Beck,] Palin continued: “Obviously, we gotta stand with our North Korean allies,” when Beck interrupted and corrected her to say “South Korea.”

I am hardly a fan of Sarah Palin and I have a host of questions about her policy acumen, however this strikes me as simply a case of misspeaking.  We all misspeak and in a conversation like this it isn’t difficult to mix up one’s words.

FILED UNDER: Asia, Quick Takes, US Politics, World Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Linda says:

    Thank you, Steven, for saying that. It shows there is fairness amongst those who are not fans of Sarah Palin.
     
    Personally, I’m on the fence about her. I like the fact that she’s got the cajones to stand up and speak her mind, but I don’t know that I would vote for her. She’s a firebrand and a lightning rod. I find it amusing, though, that the very same people who dismiss her as inconsequential, hang on her every word. As evidenced by the furor over her misspeaking.
     

  2. Ron says:

    Indeed. No one seem to focus on Obama and his “57 states” or speaking “Austrian”, 2 of many public slips. His knowledge gaps regarding history and geography may be less forgivable.
    I find the Palin obsession in the realm of the bizarre. The media in general and some people in particular need to focus on matters of import. To do less is trivial and inane.

  3. Jane says:

    Blah blah blah…she could care less whether you defend or attack her, as long as she’s in the news. And bloggers and media “professionals” play along with this, day after day.  Hopefully she’s the Paris Hilton of politics and burns out before her time is long past.

  4. Ron says:

    *seems <—- An apt demonstration of how a literate person can mistype.

  5. anjin-san says:

    > this strikes me as simply a case of misspeaking.
     
    Perhaps. But she does have a track record of blatant ignorance.

  6. James Joyner says:

    Amusingly, I’d seen the headline half a dozen times and didn’t even notice the gaffe.  I assumed the responses were more along the lines of:  What the hell does she think we’re going to do for our South Korean allies?  Does she really want to start a third war over this?
    But, yeah, I don’t really care if she misspoke here or doesn’t know which Korea is which.

  7. Tano says:

    ‘Indeed. No one seem to focus on Obama and his “57 states””
     
    This is such typical rightwing delusion,  denial and or dishonesty. Palin’s North Korea gaffe got a couple of days of buzz, mostly from lefty blogs. Obama’s misstatement about 57 states, rather than 47 (the actual statement was – I’ve been to 57 states, I got three to go) recieved months of snarky derisive mention on rightwing blogs, GOP sites etc. It was woven into the anti-Obama narrative such that we all heard mention of it literally hundreds of times throughout the campaign.
     
    In fact, even now, two years after the event, Palin herself makes some snarky mention of it in her new book!

  8. Jim Treacher says:

    This is such typical rightwing delusion,  denial and or dishonesty.

    Well, it must be if you disagree with it.

  9. James Joyner says:

    @Tano:

    Obama’s misstatement about 57 states . . . was woven into the anti-Obama narrative such that we all heard mention of it literally hundreds of times throughout the campaign.

    I think it was just an amusing gaffe that went viral, like Al Gore’s “I invented the Internet” thing. But most of us repeating it don’t do so out of some notion that Obama is a nincompoop, merely that bright people make funny gaffes sometimes.

  10. Tano says:

    “But most of us repeating it don’t do so out of some notion that Obama is a nincomp..”

     
    Sorry James, but this is a lame tautological defense of people who should not be defended. You say “most of us…” but who is the us? I suspect you are conceiving of a category of people who are reasonable like yourself. When you guys mention it, it is not as part of an aggressive takedown of Obama. But that makes your statement simply true by virtue of how you construct the statement. If you mean the larger category of all people who mention the gaffe, then your statement is obviously wrong. There are loads of rightwing ideologues, people who hate Obama and have been relentlessly informing all of us of that on a daily basis, who most certainly have used that slip as proof that Obama is a moron.
     
    At least you admit that Obama’s slip has not been ignored, which seems to be the meme that the right (fueled by Palin herself today) is trying to establish.

  11. Ron says:

    “This is such typical rightwing delusion,  denial and or dishonesty. Palin’s North Korea gaffe got a couple of days of buzz, mostly from lefty blogs.”
    @Tano: Are you being a deliberate troll? If not, please advise how the Obama is an ignorant rube meme was depicted by the major media outlets during the 2008 campaign.

  12. john personna says:

    I hate to be the stubborn fact-checker, but Gore didn’t say he invented the Internet.  And he was integral to building it:
     

    Although these media outlets persist in repeating or alluding to it, this falsehood has long since been debunked. Gore did not say he “invented” the Internet. In the March 9, 1999, interview on CNN’s Late Edition with Wolf Blitzerthat gave rise to the myth, Gore actually said: “During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet.”
     

    I guess right wingers are stuck in permanent ignorance on this, because to get it they have to get two underlying facts:  1) the government funded the initial research connections that became “Internet” prototypes, and 2) the government funded the backbone build-out that pushed the new “Internet” past competing monolithic services like Compuserve or AOL.
     
    Those are facts incompatible with the sort of brain that keeps bringing up “Gore invented internet”

  13. john personna says:

    (There is some question whether we internet denizens learn, at all.  I’d like to think I do, though I know I don’t always learn on the first pass.  Maybe I’ll say something like “yeah, and Al Gore invented the internets, lolz.”  And maybe I’ll have to read the fact-check once or twice before I get it.  But I think I can get there, in less than say six months.
     
    We should all try, because an Al Gore Internet(TM) is pretty worthless if it reaches stasis as links from one lie to the next.
     
    And note, when I say lie I don’t mean differing interpretation.  I mean wrong on fact, and easily checked, confirmed, learned.)

  14. As Jon Stewart put it quite aptly —- Stop making me feel sorry for the Palins.

  15. Trumwill says:

    What Doug (and by extension Jon Stewart) said. This isn’t as slimy as some of the criticisms against Palin, but it’s just as petty as as the GOP’s fixation on the 57 states. Slips of the tongue happen. Yes, Palin has demonstrated herself as being ill-informed. Given that, there’s no reason not to focus on those demonstrations of ignorance rather than dishonestly portraying slips of the tongue as something more significant.

  16. Ron says:

    Note how my other example has receive zero comment, i.e. Austrians speaking “Austrian”. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tr7zhnctF4c
    I agree, “North Korea” and “57 states” are simple misstatements.

  17. Tano says:

    “Note how my other example has receive zero comment, i.e. Austrians speaking “Austrian””
     
    If you knew how to speak German, and heard an Austrian speak it, you would not be so convinced that you had a compelling point here.

  18. Ron says:

    “If you knew how to speak German, and heard an Austrian speak it, you would not be so convinced that you had a compelling point here.”
    Since Obama doesn’t speak German, nor does he understand that Austrians do as well, the point remains compelling.

    I’m still awaiting your examples how the Obama is an ignorant rube meme was depicted by the major media outlets during the 2008 campaign.

    Perhaps they don’t exist?

  19. Franklin says:

    No one seem to focus on Obama and his “57 states” or speaking “Austrian”, 2 of many public slips.
    On the contrary, it seemed like everybody did.  And just like Palin’s gaffe, it was a waste of time.

  20. Sarah says:

    Sarah Palin is the poster girl for why dumb is dangerous!  Mispoke?  Seriously?
    “I can see Russia from my house”
    “Peaceful Muslims, please refudiate.”
    (talking about Alaska) “As we work to sightsee on America’s largest island” (Um… Hawaii is the largest island)
    (newspapers she reads) “All of ’em, any of ’em that have been in front of me over all these years.”
    Sure, people misspeak all the time but Sarah does it more than the average person which says what it needs to about her intelligence.
     
    Bush, Obama, Clinton, Quayl, all had gaffes but this lady is just plain stupid and if she is elected in 2012 we will no doubt see how all those “gaffes” make for great international relations (good grief!)

  21. Trumwill says:

    Sure, people misspeak all the time but Sarah does it more than the average person which says what it needs to about her intelligence.
     
    Then focus on the things that (a) she actually said (which does not include “I can see Russia from my house”) and (b) that weren’t rather obvious slips of the tongue (she referred to the “good Korea” as South Korea throughout the interview).
     
    The problem with getting all hyper about penny-ante crap like this is that it makes people disinclined to take you seriously when you talk up something really stupid that she actually said and god-help-us believes.