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When Too Much Is Too Much

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Far be it from me to defend much of anything Sarah Palin does, but bad heavior does not lend itself to bad behavior in response, nor towards turning a blind eye on anything over the line so long as it is critical of her. So, with that in mind, it bears saying that Andrew Sullivan could really use another, extended, vacation this week. He seems to spend much too much time reading and writing about matters of politics, because as best I can tell he’s lost anything approaching perspective or rationality when the discussion is Sarah Palin.

In case you’ve missed it, it seems that every waking minute of Andrew’s life is devoted to digging up anything negative he can find about Palin and hedging back to a series of rehashed and relentlessly pounded series of points. It’s like reading an anti-Palin version of Sean Hannity, which is to say extremely painful and irritating.

Take this post from today, building off of Palin’s desire, as a small town mayor, not to utilize spokespersons or PR departments and asserting, basically, that no on speaks for her but her:

Telling. She wants all press inquiries to go through her and her alone. No one else can talk for her

The decision to hold no press conference and to demonize a free media is not new for Palin. It makes more sense now the more you read about her record.

Palin’s lack of media access is certainly unprecedented, and rather counterproductive to what you want your VP to be ideally. But it’s hardly relevant to bring up to criticize her for not using a spokesperson and doing her own talking, so to speak. Indeed, it seems to me that it would be rather preferable if politicians and government officials weren’t employing professional spokespersons and public relations experts for the admitted purpose of spinning their message and distorting for the public. And, indeed, it’s extremely contradictory to criticize someone for not talking to the media, and insisting that only she can speak to the media on behalf of herself, in the same, very short, post.

And that’s really the crux of the matter. It’s one thing to blog about Sarah Palin. It’s one thing to blog about her a lot, favorably or unfavorably. Far be it from me to tell people what to write about or how to favor a politician running for office. But the problem here is that Andrew pretty obviously can’t control himself. It’s not that he’s writing about, or criticizing, Sarah Palin frequently, it’s that he just can’t stop doing it, and he can’t hold a consistent train of thought on the matter. Watch this clip from his appearance on Real Time, and tell me that Bill Maher, no fan of Palin to be sure, doesn’t just want to slap him and tell him to stop talking already.


Which brings me to arguably the most unseemly aspect of the whole thing; Andrew’s continued obsession with Trig Palin’s parentage. Now, truth be told, I didn’t see much value to this “story” when it first came out. And now, given the multitude of substantive lies Palin traffics in, whether or not she lied about something that’s extremely personal and has almost no political/policy relevance at all seems even more trivial. But as Paul Campos notes, the real problem with it is that Sullivan really hasn’t formed any sound rationale, probable cause if you will, for justifying his continued obsession:

Indeed of everything Palin lied about, lying about who Trig’s mother is might be the most defensible lie she’s uttered, assuming it’s a lie, because her motivations (I suppose) would be to protect her daughter. Which brings up the question of what Sullivan’s theory of the case is at this point. Does he not believe Bristol Palin is pregnant? Does he think Bristol is pregnant but got pregnant a few weeks after giving birth to Trig? Journalists can’t just go about demanding that public figures “prove” things unless they have some genuine basis for doubting the official story. If I started demanding that Obama “prove” he’s the father of his daughters I would quite properly be treated as a crazy person.

For a variety of reasons (Palin’s behavior at the time of the child’s birth, her non-pregnant appearance, Bristol Palin’s disappearance from school) the Trig isn’t Sarah’s baby theory had some superficial X-fileish plausibility before Bristol Palin’s pregnancy was revealed. At this point it seems quite wacky, and it isn’t surprising the McCain campaign is ignoring Sullivan’s increasingly unhinged-sounding demands for “proof.”

At this point, Sullivan has basically become what he professes to hate; someone who has latched on to a myopic hatred and, because of it, can’t see any manner of perspective. At this point, he’s only a matter of degrees away from the people screaming at McCain-Palin rallies.

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