Mea culpa: My post about Palin yesterday distorted what she said

Yesterday I wrote a post called “Palin adds a whole new definition of solipsism” based on two-sentence quote from her book Going Rogue that I read on the Anchorage Daily News politics blog. The two-sentence quote explained her beliefs at a particular moment in the process by which Gov. Frank Murkowski in late 2002 made his decision on who to appoint to fulfill the remainder of his unexpired term in the U.S. Senate.  He interviewed Sarah Palin for the job, but ultimately appointed his own daughter, Lisa Murkowski.

My interpretation yesterday, based solely on that two-sentence quote taken, was wrong. Therefore I am correcting myself here.  I have already added notes of correction to the original post.

Here’s what was posted on the ADN politics blog yesterday:

Page 92

Palin recalls her interview with Frank Murkowski, when he was considering who to replace himself with as the junior U.S. Senator from Alaska. “It was then I knew I wasn’t getting the gig. It seemed to me that though he thought me competent enough to make his short list, the father in him felt compelled to protect me from the storm that is national politics.”

I made the mistake of concluding that the two sentences quoted from Palin’s book were her final views on the Murkowski appointment.  But they weren’t.

That quote appears in Palin’s account of her interview by Gov. Murkowski, about a page or two before the full tale of the appointment is told.  In that moment — or at least, so her account indicates — Palin believed he was showing some kind of fatherly protectiveness towards her and her family because she had young children. Palin says that during the interview, he repeatedly said that the life of a U.S. Senator in Washington, DC would be very hard on her kids and her family. As a result, she writes that she believed by the end of her interview that Gov. Murkowski would not appoint any woman who had young kids.  She learned she was wrong when he appointed his own daughter, who also had two young kids.

She doesn’t say so in so many words, but her account taken in full indicates that the final meaning of the story to her was not that he cared about her in a “fatherly” sense, but that he acted hypocritically.  I’m pretty sure that in the final analysis she knows as well as I do that his short list of candidates was mere exercise, and that it had been his nepotistic intent to appoint his daughter all along.

In other words, that quote is not, as I claimed yesterday, evidence of Palin’s solipsism. (Though I think other things in her book are.)

I regret I wrote the earlier post.  I wouldn’t have, had I read the quote in its full context. My apologies to anyone who read that post and took my original conclusion to be accurate.  My apologies to former Gov. Palin for the distortion I created by taking that two-sentence quote out of context.

But there’s more to this than just a mea culpa, or a reminder to myself never to form conclusions without knowing the full context.  The fact of the matter is, I was also influenced by the mood of the day, which was to assume that anything Palin said had to be wrong or  a lie or in some other way to be screwy.

But you know, that kind of judgment is just as wrong and screwy as anything we accuse her of.  We are wrong if we judge anyone based on preconceived beliefs, instead of facts.

I’m sick & tired of Palin.  I still believe her to be solipsistic & narcissistic, and to have a very unreliable relationship with anything that could be called the truth.  She is one of those people about whom I say, The truth is whatever comes out of her mouth at the time.

But if I claim to live by a higher standard of truth, I had better really live by it. And that means taking extra special care when I pass judgment on other people, no matter how sick & tired I am of them.

I did a crap job of that yesterday.  I hope that this post helps reduce the harm I created.

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