We can’t know for sure whether or not she recognizes how unserious and unintelligent she is, but, in Sarah Palin, we can plainly see a reality show celebrity who seems to believe that national office doesn’t require the widely accepted prerequisite of “knowing things” — especially things that squarely relate to the national office she has sought in the past and the one she will likely seek this year. Only people with clinical personality issues, well beyond the reasonably normal purview of ego, believe they can achieve the most prestigious elected offices in the United States without, at the very least, knowing basic information about the universe of those jobs.
Ego isn’t new to politics. In fact, it’s almost as necessary as intellectual heft and leadership experience. Anyone who believes they possess the rare potential to be elected by an entire nation to the office of the presidency requires ego beyond that of, you know, everyone. The self-affirmational refrain “I can be the president” is an exceptional thing, so completely exceptional that only a handful of people out of 300 million dare to run for president every four years.
Sarah Palin’s ego, however, is way beyond just about anyone we’ve observed in modern politics. She’s purely narcissistic.
Psychologist Glen Gabbard divided narcissists into two subtypes: the “hypervigilant” shameful type, and the “oblivious” shameless type. Palin’s narcissism naturally falls into the latter end of the diagnostic spectrum. Shameless and oblivious. She appears to be so thoroughly clueless — so blinded by her self-importance and ambition that her syllabus of mistakes are ignored and left uncorrected, and so she arrogantly repeats the same mistakes over and over, and accompanied by, Winning!
There’s no other analysis or diagnosis that more adequately explains Palin’s ongoing problems with the U.S. Constitution.
During the 2008 election, she repeatedly and utterly failed to accurately describe the constitutional (or otherwise) role of the vice president. The very serious job she was seeking, by the way. Not only did she fumble the response once, she fumbled it at least three times. She couldn’t do it in the vice presidential debate against Joe Biden, she couldn’t do it during a post-debate softball interview on Fox News Channel and she couldn’t do it when interviewed by a third-grader. The answer that eluded the Republican vice presidential nominee is readily found in the Constitution. It’s not difficult to find or to read, at least for anyone with a internet access and a pulse.
Here’s the line from Article I, Section 3:
The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.
Here’s how Palin answered in attempt number two during a post-debate interview on Fox News:
Uh. That thankfully our founders were wise enough to say we have this position and it’s constitutional — vice president will be able to be not only the position flexible, but it’s gonna be those other duties as assigned by the president. A simple thing.
No, no. The actual constitutional language is “a simple thing.” Instead, what Palin delivered here was — yeah, I have no idea what that was.
Just to be fair, let’s give her another stab at unraveling a complicated phrase like “shall be President of the Senate.” Here’s attempt number three, in response to a question from a third-grader:
[T]hey’re in charge of the U.S. Senate so if they want to they can really get in there with the senators and make a lot of good policy changes that will make life better for Brandon and his family and his classroom.
Wrong again — nearly 20 days after the previously bungled word salad, and she still failed miserably to answer the question.
So after failing to answer a basic constitutional question several times in a row, most of us would be embarrassed enough to at least read and, perhaps, study the Constitution. Maybe chat with an expert about the most important sections and clauses. After all, it’s the Constitution and it’s rather essential in the sphere of American politics.
But not Sarah Palin, who still couldn’t be bothered — at least with anything that can’t conveniently be printed on a bumper sticker. On second thought, the role of the vice president could easily fit onto a bumper sticker. And she still couldn’t do it. As a professional instigator and reality show star, Palin continued to misunderstand the quintessential founding document, while also contemplating a campaign to become chief executive.
Boiled down, Sarah Palin doesn’t understand the First Amendment to the Constitution. The most popular amendment. The amendment everyone talks about. And she’s been screwing up its meaning for three years now without correcting herself or adjusting her remarks.
Palin believes the First Amendment protects, well, Sarah Palin and her friends from everyone else, and allows them to say whatever they want without being challenged, corrected or held accountable. And, it goes without saying, she’s very wrong.
Rewind to 2008. After repeatedly mangling the role of the vice president, Palin delivered her first mangling of the First Amendment.
“If [the media] convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning, for me to call Barack Obama out on his associations,” Palin told host Chris Plante, “then I don’t know what the future of our country would be in terms of First Amendment rights and our ability to ask questions without fear of attacks by the mainstream media.”
Nope. Wrong. The First Amendment doesn’t protect Sarah Palin from the media. Conversely, the First Amendment protects the media from politicians like Sarah Palin. The text of the First Amendment plainly states:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The media isn’t Congress or the law. Sarah Palin didn’t know this, and, based upon her subsequent remarks about the amendment, she never bothered to learn.
Fast forward to last August and the Dr. Laura Schlessinger fiasco. Without getting into specifics of the scandal, here’s how Palin defended Dr. Laura on Twitter:
Dr.Laura:don’t retreat…reload! (Steps aside bc her 1st Amend.rights ceased 2exist thx 2activists trying 2silence”isn’t American,not fair”)
Wrong again. The First Amendment doesn’t protect Dr. Laura from her network bosses, nor does it protect Dr. Laura from “2activists trying 2silence.” It protects Dr. Laura from the government and nothing else. Palin still didn’t know.
And so she did it again.
Dr.Laura=even more powerful & effective w/out the shackles, so watch out Constitutional obstructionists. And b thankful 4 her voice,America!
Meanwhile, she was also busy mistaking the Declaration of Independence for the Constitution.
“[O]ur Constitution, of course, essentially acknowledging that our unalienable rights don’t come from man; they come from God.”
“Of course!” But wrong. The word “unalienable,” as most grade school students ought to know, appears in the Declaration of Independence. Not the Constitution. Furthermore, there’s not a single mention of “God” — or a “Creator” for that matter — in the Constitution. Whoops, again. And, again, no correction or retraction.
Okay, by now you’d think someone would pull her aside and read the Constitution to her. It’s readily accessible on the internet. Who knows, maybe someone tried to help, and she refused to listen — stubbornly and narcissistically repeating her own definition. It’s my talkin’ mouth and I can talk whatever word things I want. Harrumph. True, but still inaccurate. And not to be taken seriously.
This week, she continued to screw it up.
The Supreme Court ruled 8-1 yesterday that Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church cult has the right to protest on public property, and near military funerals, with their grotesque “God Hates Fags” paraphernalia. However awful and hurtful the Westboro people are, the First Amendment applies here and the Supremes did the right thing. Ultimately, if they’ll defend the speech rights of people as morally reprehensible as Westboro, then they’ll easily defend your speech rights, too. That’s comforting.
Predictably, Palin failed again. She tweeted this about yesterday’s decision:
Common sense & decency absent as wacko “church” allowed hate msgs spewed@ soldiers’ funerals but we can’t invoke God’s name in public square
So now she wants government, specifically the Supreme Court, to silence protesters who aren’t breaking any laws (except the laws of good taste).
Put another way: people who criticize her and Dr. Laura? Unconstitutional! Government restriction of free speech? Constitutional! The speech clause of the First Amendment says the exact opposite thing. Palin appears to be opposed to the First Amendment, while also suggesting she’s in favor of it. Yes, the ridiculous contradictions of a shameless narcissist.
Think about it. Sarah Palin, who has repeatedly botched — and obviously so — the meaning of the First Amendment, had the audacity to school eight of the nine Supreme Court justices, including the very conservative chief justice, with a poorly-written lesson on the very thing she’s repeatedly botched: the First Amendment. Again, Palin, who is always wrong about the First Amendment, thinks she knows more than almost the entire Supreme Court of the United States.
There’s no other way to slice it. This is narcissism of the highest order, illustrated by one of America’s most recognizable political actors.
While scanning through recent American history, it’s not easy to cite another political dilettante as remarkably out of his or her depth as Sarah Palin. But she’ll definitely run for president anyway. Because, despite all evidence to the contrary, she believes she can do the job. And she’ll run without even a remedial-level understanding of the most important political document of the last three centuries, simply because she refuses to acknowledge that it’s way over her head. To acknowledge her constitutional and functional incompetence runs contrary to every instinct and every psychological short-circuit within her walnut-brain.
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