Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Dumbing Down of America

Reposted gratefully from The Plum Line blog at
We should probably resign ourselves to the fact that every utterance Sarah Palin makes is widely going to be treated as news until she declares she isn’t running for president. And quite possibly beyond. So all we can do is try to fact-check what she says and hope others do the same.

The latest: In a new Facebook missive, Palin butchered Obama’s quotes at the nuke summit in a strikingly dishonest (even for her) way, tearing them out of context to suggest he’s uncomfortable wielding American power and is hostile towards American exceptionalism:

Mr. President, is a strong America a problem?

Asked this week about his faltering efforts to advance the Middle East peace process, President Obama did something remarkable. In front of some 47 foreign leaders and hundreds of reporters from all over the world, President Obama said that “whether we like it or not, we remain a dominant military superpower.”

Whether we like it or not? Most Americans do like it.

Here’s what the President actually said:

But what we can make sure of is, is that we are constantly present, constantly engaged, and setting out very clearly to both sides our belief that not only is it in the interests of each party to resolve these conflicts but it’s also in the interest of the United States. It is a vital national security interest of the United States to reduce these conflicts because whether we like it or not, we remain a dominant military superpower, and when conflicts break out, one way or another we get pulled into them. And that ends up costing us significantly in terms of both blood and treasure.

As you can see, Palin and her team of ghostwriters plucked Obama’s remark out of context to quote him saying “whether we like it or not,” we are a superpower. In reality, he was saying that “whether we like it or not,” we get pulled into international conflicts that cost us American lives — so it’s in our security interests to resolve them.

Since everything Palin says in her tightly-controlled media environment will be treated as news for the next two years and beyond, all we can hope for is that those lavishing attention on what she says inject a bit of context and reality into the discussion.

So Palin is deliberately distorting Obama's statement, which means she is deceptive and devious. Or she truly doesn't understand the complex statement, which means she is as simple as her critics say. Either way, she has no business leading others. But that won't stop her, because America is happily shoveling down the stupidity being served.

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