Former Governor Sarah Palin loves to critique the media. To hear her speak, you’d think that all media stations are out to get her. I’m sure she believes there was an “Attack Sarah Palin” convention where media executives all decided to do whatever they could to embarrass and denigrate her wherever possible. At any rate, the latest show to ruffle her feathers was the Fox comedy “Family Guy.” On an episode that aired on Valentine’s Day, Palin took issue with the portrayal of a girl with Down Syndrome who tells one of the characters that her mom is the former Governor of Alaska calling it “another kick in the gut.”
Well, it turns out that the actress, Andrea Fay Friedman, who played the girl on the show actually has Down Syndrome and has issued a strong rebuke to Palin’s criticism. Her comment that “my mother did not carry me around under her arm like a loaf of French bread the way former Governor Palin carries her son Trig around looking for sympathy and votes” is a pretty dramatic response! So far no response from the Palin camp – I’m sure you are as shocked as I am!
However, this isn’t as easy an issue as it may seem on the surface. Mocking health issues is a very dangerous thing and I can understand why some who are personally affected by Down Syndrome may be offended by what Family Guy did. Putting aside the fact that the show seemed to mock the character more for being demanding and less for her Down Syndrome, it is also important to consider the source. Family Guy has cultivated a well-earned reputation for mocking everyone and everything – that’s why people watch. The truth is that it is very easy to go through life looking for reasons to be upset or mad and Governor Palin has chosen to look for problems anywhere she can find them…as long as they benefit her. If she is so intent on being protective of people with health issues, why has she said nothing despite Rush Limbaugh repeatedly mocking Michael J. Fox’s tremors? Why is she so opposed to making health insurance more accessable to all Americans? Why has she called for Rahm Emanuel to resign for using the term retarded once, but defends Rush Limbaugh’s use of the word more than 40 times because it is “satire” (which, by the way, is what Family Guy is as well)? As Roland Martin writes in this fabulous piece on cnn.com “Sarah, when you hold yourself up as a fierce protector of the mentally challenged, politics shouldn’t enter into the equation. Either you criticize everyone who uses a word that you consider a slur, or you come across as a crass politician who is afraid to offend your chief booster.”
Governor Palin is entitled to her opinion and entitled to be upset by jokes made on a TV show. However, she is not entitled to claim to care when, in reality, she only complains about something if she feels it will benefit her career. She is not entitled to blatant hypocrisy to use her son’s medical condition to boost her political career. That is unacceptable to me.
Yesterday was a day of news that NO ONE could have seen coming. To begin with Mark McGwire admitted he took steriods…but only in very low doses and they didn’t make him a better player. Umm? Yes, they did. Sorry Mark, that part of your ‘confession’ really hurts your credibility…not that you had much of it to begin with. But, shocker as that was, it wasn’t the biggest unexpected story of the day. Nope. That honor goes to Sarah Palin and Fox News who, in a marriage too strange for even a made-for-TV movie starring Tori Spelling, have agreed on a contract that will have Palin appearing on the network….oooh what a shocker!
Now, I do not agree with the theories put forth in this article and by others that this move means it is less likely she will run for President in 2012. If anything, this only makes her a more viable candidate. Working for Fox is a great chance for her to refine her views on issues/learn about them and stay visible to the American public. As for it being a multi-year deal…well, I think we all know how reliable Governor Palin (and many in politics are) at fulfilling the full length of their commitments. In addition, a recent poll of party insiders show that many of them do not do not believe she will be the nominee – in fact, they ranked her 5th out of their five choices, behind such notable names as Haley Barbour and Mitch Daniels in terms of likelihood to win the nomination. Going on TV on a regular basis (a place where she is very comfortable) is her opportunity to show them that she has the intellectual chops one should have to be a successful elected official and may help more of them get behind her. Finally, I’m sure this is a very lucrative deal and, since money=power in politics, that can only help her as she launches her campaign. Sarah Palin will be a candidate in 2012 and this move only helps her become a more viable candidate.
Switching gears to Massachusetts now, I am happy to report that Scott Brown DOES have an opponent. In the last week, we have finally seen Martha Coakley out on the trail and showing some passion during the debates. For a recap of last night’s debate (which Coakley won handily), check out this article. She was able to clearly articulate differences between Brown and herself and effectively tie him to failed policies of the past. In a race where Brown is trying so hard to be both conservative and moderate (see Romney, Mitt) she held him accountable for his past stances on issues and refused to let him play both sides. In addition, she successfully branded him a barrier to progress (he didn’t say he would work to make the healthcare bill better…he said that he would be “proud” to vote against it.)
Coakley clearly had the best line of the night when she said to Brown “You cant distort my record and not be accurate about your own.” For his part, Brown had one of the stupidest lines I’ve ever heard in a debate when he said, in response to Coakley comparing him to Bush, “You can run against Bush-Cheney, but I’m Scott Brown. I live in Wrentham. I drive a truck.” Couple of problems with this line. To begin with, she can’t run against Bush – Cheney…they are not running for anything. She is running against you, Mr. Brown, and your policies do resemble those of Bush. In addition, I have a piece of advice for you…if you are trying to distance yourself from President Bush, you might want to do your research about what kind of car he drives… oops
This is an actual picture taken by an actual customer in an actual bookstore. I’m sure it was just some employee’s idea of a joke…but it is funny nonetheless.