Palin adds a whole new definition of solipsism — CORRECTED

Signs at the Hold Palin Accountable rally, 27 Sep 2008, Anchorage, AK

Signs at the Hold Palin Accountable rally, 27 Sep 2008, Anchorage, AK

Note 18 Nov 2009: I find I must make some correction to this post.  Several hours after writing it, I had opportunity to see a copy of Palin’s book and read the few pages to either side of the quote examined here. It’s clear to me now that without its context, that I misconstrued what Palin & her ghostwriter intended to say here.  Please see my the noted at the end of this post for explanation.

Because I’m busy trying to write 50,000 words this month for National Novel Writing Month, I  haven’t been blogging lately, except for  “Daily Tweets” posts generated automatically from my Twitter feed.

Even before that, I stopped  writing posts about Sarah Palin unless I had something really substantive to say.  I’ve learned that I can reliably increase my blog traffic merely by putting her name in the subject line of a post — but I’d rather gain a readership for this blog based on people liking my stuff, rather than simply because they are obsessed about Palin, whether in like or dislike of her. So except for a tweet here & there, mostly I just say nothing about her.

But today, I’ve got something to say.


/ˈsɒlɪpˌsɪzəm/  [sol-ip-siz-uhm]
1. Philosophy. the theory that only the self exists, or can be proved to exist.
2. extreme preoccupation with and indulgence of one’s feelings, desires, etc.; egoistic self-absorption.

From the Anchorage Daily News politics blog, about Palin’s book Going Rogue:

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.”

If I thought Palin or her ghostwriter had a smidgen of any real sense of humor, I’d think that they each had their tongues planted firmly in their cheeks as they wrote that sentence.  But we’re talking Palin here.

And we’re also talking about what is only the most famous recent example of nepotism in Alaska politics, because of course the person Frank Murkowski ended up appointing to fill his incomplete Senate term in December 2002 was his own daughter, Lisa Murkowski.  His nepotism created such a firestorm of opinion in Alaska that as soon as we could, we Alaska voters passed a referendum which stripped the governor of the power to appoint U.S. Senators to fill unexpired terms.  His nepotism was also one of the factors that drove his popularity so far into the hole that Palin was able to trounce him devastatingly in the 2006 Republican primary leading up to her election as governor.

(Lisa Murkowski, for her part, later gained a full term in the U.S. Senate through legitimate election in 2004.)

So let’s read that sentence from page 92 of Palin’s book again:

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.

As I commented at the ADN Politics blog,

I think, rather, that the father in him compelled him to thrust his own daughter into the storm that is national politics.

In effect, Palin is claiming that Frank Murkowski had more fatherly concern for Palin, than he did for his own actual daughter.  Whereas every evidence is that his efforts to even develop a short list of names from which to make the appointment was a mere excercise, & that his decision had nothing to do with her at all.

But for Palin, everything is about her.

Her solipsism, her narcissism, beggars the mind.

And now, with the end of my lunch hour, I return to the Reality-Based World.

Note 18 Nov 2009: A reading of the Palin’s full account of her interview by Gov. Murkowski and his eventual appointment of his daughter leads me now to a different conclusion, & it would be irresponsible of me not to say so.  In fact, Palin’s account is that her belief he was showing some kind of fatherly protectiveness towards her and her family was something she felt only at & immediately after the actual interview, before he made the appointment.  She says she believed that he would not appoint anyone with young children, because those were the reservations he expressed during her interview. But once he appointed his daughter, who also had two young kids, she finally understood that his seeming fatherly concern was an act.

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

I regret I wrote this post.  I wouldn’t have, had I read the quote in its full context. My apologies to anyone who read this 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.

Do I still believe that Palin tends to be solipsistic and narcissistic?  Yes.  But this instance is not evidence of it.  And I would be distorting things if I did not do my best to correct myself here.

Mea culpa.

See also my follow-up post.

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