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September 16, 2008

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She might as well lie about everything, because the people she's motivating in the Republican party--and that's a big reason why she was chosen, remember--already believe that the media is liberal and is out to smear her. The media can fact-check her every word and it will only bolster Palin in her supporters' eyes. She's there to stir up the faithful, and she's doing a hell of a job at it.

I remember feeling that way about Dick Cheney's lie in the 2004 VP debate about never having met John Edwards. Edwards himself was apparently too stunned to reply, and Tim Russert in the post-debate commentary repeatedly cited the statement as a great zinger even though he personally had seen the two men meet on his show (something he neglected to bring up).

So it is the republican vice presidential candidate who is the walter mitty character? Really, this is not a road you want to go down.

falsus in uno.....

PHS, Cheney's lying doesn't remind me of Walter Mitty at all. It's much darker:

Cheney said, according to Armey, that Iraq's "ability to miniaturize weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear," had been "substantially refined since the first Gulf War," and would soon result in "packages that could be moved even by ground personnel." Cheney linked that threat to Saddam's alleged personal ties to al Qaeda, Armey said, explaining that "we now know they have the ability to develop these weapons in a very portable fashion, and they have a delivery system in their relationship with organizations such as al Qaeda."

"Did Dick Cheney ... purposely tell me things he knew to be untrue?" Armey said. "I seriously feel that may be the case...Had I known or believed then what I believe now, I would have publicly opposed [the war] resolution right to the bitter end, and I believe I might have stopped it from happening."

Really, this is not a road you want to go down.

Let's.

I'm not sure what's new here. The campaign's repeatedly said that she's not suggesting that she ad libbed her whole speech; rather, she couldn't follow the prompter at certain points, so she worked without it.

Indeed, the ABC blog you cite reiterates that distinction, and the underlying Politico story linked/quoted in that blog post acknowledged that, "[p]erhaps there were moments where it scrolled slightly past her exact point in the speech."

No offense, but this sort of episode is what's horirbly wrong with the echo chamber of political blogs: Palin makes a remark that her critics immediately stretch to its breaking point and, not even content to charge her with "lying," go so far as to suggest that she has a mental disorder.

I've long thought that political blogging had become an outright circus. And now I see that the clowns have arrived.

Postscript: These are precisely the sort of situations that Cass Sunstein was talking about when he noted the negative effects of clustering in partisan echo chambers.

Adam, after hearing her ABC interview, I'm definitely going with mental disorder. The overwhelming simultaneous amount of ignorance and arrogance is not the sign of a person with any real hold on reality.

Hmmmmm. Which current President does THAT remind you of?

Adam: The campaign's repeatedly said that she's not suggesting that she ad libbed her whole speech; rather, she couldn't follow the prompter at certain points, so she worked without it.

Yes: and witnesses at the RNC say that she's lying about that. She delivered the speech exactly as it was presented to her on the teleprompter.

No offense

...eh. People always say "no offense" as a grammatical marker before they say something offensive.

but this sort of episode is what's horirbly wrong with the echo chamber of political blogs: Palin makes a remark that her critics immediately stretch to its breaking point and, not even content to charge her with "lying,"

No offense, Adam, but when someone says something that's not true and that we know she knows it's not true, that is what's called lying. If you wish to lend emphasis to the word lying, it's grammatically incorrect to use inverted commas, which are customarily used as an indicator that you are using a word not quite in the correct sense: so I might call Palin a "terrific speaker", when what I mean is, she is perfectly capable of reading a speech that was written for the VP nominee to deliver at the RNC, from a teleprompter, without at any point departing from it even though at times it got a little bit ahead of her.

go so far as to suggest that she has a mental disorder.

No, no. Walter Mitty was a fictional character who was supposed to have a mental disorder.

Sarah Palin is just lying. Because she knows loyal Republicans will claim she is not, even the ones who were at the RNC and know that she is lying.

I've long thought that political blogging had become an outright circus. And now I see that the clowns have arrived.

You're a bit behind the times; the clowns are here.

Incidentally, I've got to wonder if Publius has any thoughts on my point. He's familiar with Sunstein's work on this point. What he wrote once about a discredited right-wing blogger fits aptly to both sides of the aisle:

"it’s a good example of Sunstein’s group polarization theories. It’s clear that this guy has spent the past few years preaching to the choir, which has in turn led him to adopt increasingly extreme and vitriolic statements. ... If nothing else [upon moving to a Washington Post blog], he (for the first time perhaps) got his hackneyed cliches and fairy-tale caricatures thrown back at him so hard that he’ll be forced to give his arguments more thought next time. Writing to the nation is a little different than to the comment section at Redstate."

No doubt! Perhaps a few folks on left-wing blogs could stand to step outside of the echo chamber and engage in a substantive debate with broader audiences. Throwing around allegations of "personality disorder" is a depressing symptom of the coarse blogging culture.

Throwing around allegations of "personality disorder" is a depressing symptom of the coarse blogging culture.

so is accusing untold numbers of people you don't know of being members of an "echo chamber".

physician, heal thyself.

So Adam, there appears to be no evidence that she's telling the truth on this, based on independent observations. And she has repeatedly been caught in flat-out lies that are easily documented.

That is what the "personality disorder" comment is about.

Given what's been on public display now for the last couple of weeks, why do you think she is telling the truth? That might be illuminating.

Perhaps a few folks on left-wing blogs could stand to step outside of the echo chamber and engage in a substantive debate with broader audiences.

OK, but before we do that regarding Palin and her pathological lying, can we instead step outside the echo chamber regarding whether the Earth is round? I for one will boldly say: the Earth is flat. Adam, will you join me, or must I stand against the echo chamber alone?

Jesurgislac: "She delivered the speech exactly as it was presented to her on the teleprompter."

Actually, you've made a mistake.

First off, there's nothing inconsistent between saying (1) that her prompter was troublesome at one point and (2) that she stuck with her script. After all, she had the written speech in front of her, and she presumably was familiar with the text.

(And in any event, we know that on at least one occasion in that speech she ad libbed: The lipstick/bulldog remark.)

But let's look at the broader question: Is she "lying" when she says that at one point in the speech she had trouble with her teleprompter? Has that assertion been disproven?

The answer is, categorically, "no."

Jonathan Martin, the writer credited with having disproven inaccurate accounts of the RNC speech, doesn't claim that Palin's speech was at all times right on track. Martin expressly acknowledged that "[p]erhaps there were moments where it scrolled slightly past her exact point in the speech."

In other words, J. Martin only debunked, at best, blogger Erick Erickson's broad claim that "half way through the speech, the speech had scrolled significantly from where Governor Palin was in the speech."

(And other news outlets, including MSNBC, apparently noted on the air that her prompter had gotten away from her at points in the speech.)

By contrast to Erickson's broader claim, Palin's comment in Ohio -- which Eric Martin and Atrios cite as evidencing a "personality disorder" -- merely was that at one point in the speech, the teleprompter was "messed up," and so she worked without it and spoke to the people in front of her. That claim simply is not refuted by Jonathan Martin's point -- again, J. Martin expressly conceded the possibility that the prompter could have gotten ahead of Palin at parts.

I understand concern about left- and right-wing echo chambers, but at the moment I think there's great danger to our politics and society from the middle-wing echo chamber that is wedded to an ideology in which "left" and "right" are equally to blame for everything that's wrong, that "both sides" always tell equally big lies equally often, and that the truth is always in the middle. That philosophy is what has led to the rise of completely unprincipled behavior among Republicans, because it gives a huge advantage to those politicians who are most willing to lie.

Sure, there is a way to make the statement true....

And mules have five legs, if you include the tail.

It's worse than Eric thinks.

I was driving the length and breadth of the state of Ohio (now a police state, given the number of speed traps and cruisers on the highway) during the week of the Republican Convention.

Ohio was in front of ME and in back of ME, and all around me.

For Palin to assert that Ohio was in front of HER in the convention hall is like, well, it's like every nutcase statement by Republican politicians since Ronald Reagan pulled the first clipping from the National Enquirer out of his pocket and gave the Party the confidence that you can say anything (while gazing misty-eyed into a mythical past) to the American people and its press corps and they will shake their heads at the sheer profundity of it as if it came from the mouth of Chance in Jerzy Kosinski's "Being There". ;)

This phenomenon explains Donald Luskin, too.

I'd like Republican politicians from now on to pause after each question during press briefings and turn to the side and ask in their best Jimmy Stewart, "Wha, wah, wah, what do YOU think, Harvey?"

Does Sarah Palin have any estimate of the dollar value of shitty paper in American International Group? Her estimate should be as temporarily confidence-boosting as every dumb-ass parading across the TV screen this week.


Adam: : Is she "lying" when she says that at one point in the speech she had trouble with her teleprompter?

But that's not what she says, Adam. She says:

"and I just decided I’d just talk to the people in front of me"

...which she didn't: she delivered a prepared speech from the teleprompter.

Palin was a TV presenter: delivering lines written for her from a teleprompter is something she really does have a lot of experience in. Unlike her claimed "executive experience". That she does it well and without difficulty, even when the teleprompter scrolls a little ahead of her, is unsurprising: it's one of the few ways in which she resembles Ronald Reagan, who could reliably stand up and read lines from a teleprompter even when very lost in Alzheimer's.

(And in any event, we know that on at least one occasion in that speech she ad libbed: The lipstick/bulldog remark.)

Is that what she's saying now? Because that's not true either. It may have been the only part of the speech she contributed herself (it was a "joke" she'd made at least twice before) but it too was on the teleprompter for her to read.

I have a question about this. To whom was Sarah Palin speaking when she described her speech? My understanding is that she doesn't talk to reporters. If her intention was to create the impression that her remarks were "Off the cuff", it would seem that her statement would have to have been to reporters in order to get the publicity that she would, supposedly, want. If the statement was, say, to the campaign staffers, then the motivation would be completely different. It seems to me that her motivation is really the question. Does she think she can B.S. the world? Is that what she's trying to do?

If she was merely speaking to her campaign staff, perhaps she just exaggerated her stressful reaction to a maladjusted teleprompter. I have no problem with that.

If, on the other hand, she's trying to tell the world that she can actually ad lib when she can't, that's a problem.

Having read the AP report, I can't tell who she was addressing. Does anyone know?

In fact, if you think about it, the claim "The teleprompter got messed up, I couldn’t follow it" was a double lie: witnesses at the RNC who saw the teleprompter screen during Palin's time on stage say it was not "messed up", and everyone who saw Palin deliver the speech knows she could, like a good TV presenter, follow it perfectly well.

Was the delegation from Ohio "right out in front of her", or is that another lie? (Repeated three times over.)

it too was on the teleprompter for her to read

Jes, do you have a link for that?

Well, if she backs off from her faulty teleprompter statement, I expect she'll point out that the teleprompter that was scrolling "The teleprompter got messed up ....." gotted messed up, too.

"gotted messed up"?

They talk funny in Alaska. Grammar taught in igloos is a dicey deal.

KCinDC: Jes, do you have a link for that?

None of the contemporary reports I read on Sarah Palin's speech - from journalists and RNC delegates who both heard the speech and saw it on the teleprompter screen - mention any ad libs whatsoever. Uniformly, they all say that Palin spoke to script the entire time.

The link I provided in previous comment was to a short item pointing out that the "lipstick and bulldog" joke was a well-worn one that Palin had used when she was running for governor. It wasn't spontaneous, and there is no evidence that McCain's speechwriters didn't simply include it in the script they wrote as part of the personalization process.

Having read the AP report, I can't tell who she was addressing.

I don't know what AP report you're talking about; Eric's link is to Jake Tapper's blog on the ABC News website, which says in the first sentence that she was speaking at a fundraiser, presumably to supporters, and apparently in the presence of reporters. (She may not have on-the-record conversations with or take questions from reporters except in very controlled circumstances, but she does speak at events where reporters are present.)

"None of the contemporary reports I read on Sarah Palin's speech - from journalists and RNC delegates who both heard the speech and saw it on the teleprompter screen - mention any ad libs whatsoever."

Eli Saslow and other Washington Post reporters disagree. And if you check her prepared remarks, you'll see that there's no lipstick/pitbull line.

I'd also note subsequent commentary from ABC's Jake Tapper, who called it an ad lib. And the NY Post.

And I'm not sure why her prior use of the line doesn't make it an ad lib when she used it while departing from her prepared remarks.

I do like your subtle attempt to flip the burden of proof: "is no evidence that McCain's speechwriters didn't simply include it in the script they wrote as part of the personalization process." Ah ha! Just assert that no evidence supporting the opposing point, and claim victory. It's like me saying, "there's no evidence that you didn't claim, in a conversation with someone, that Trig Palin is Sarah Palin's child." Nice try. Let's stick with facts, not conjectures.

Here's a permalink for the Wash Post blog post: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/fact-checker/2008/09/sarah_palins_worst_nightmare.html

And of course, the last line should have read, "there's no evidence that you didn't claim, in a conversation with someone, that Trig Palin is *not* Sarah Palin's child."

I must admit that I'm not accustomed to typing out a suggestion that Sarah Palin's not Trig's mother. (Which pretty much eliminates any lingering suspicion that I am, in fact, Andrew Sullivan.)

I'm not sure what's new here. The campaign's repeatedly said that she's not suggesting that she ad libbed her whole speech; rather, she couldn't follow the prompter at certain points, so she worked without it.

Thing is, her campaign's statement and her statement don't agree. Using her campaign's after-the-fact spin as if it were the statement at issue is, well, dishonest.

Perhaps a few folks on left-wing blogs could stand to step outside of the echo chamber and engage in a substantive debate with broader audiences.

A broad, generalized critique of a segment of society- exactly the sort of balderdash required when the facts themselves are so inconveniently arrayed.

But let's look at the broader question: Is she "lying" when she says that at one point in the speech she had trouble with her teleprompter? Has that assertion been disproven?

The part where she's lying is where she suggests that she was winging it.
Of course, you may argue that this is merely misleading, and that she could be saying that she decided to 'just talk' instead of using telepathy or delivering the speech via interpretive dance...
It's a common tactic, pretending that a lie isn't a lie because the sentence can be constructed to mean something ambiguous or true even though it cannot possible be read that way.
Adam:Have you seen Return of the King?
Me:It was really good.
Adam:But it hasn't been released yet!
Me:Oh. Uh, I was talking about that donut I just ate, it was really good.

Adam: Eli Saslow and other Washington Post reporters disagree.

Thank you, Adam: I take it back, then. What the link you cited says:

The lipstick line was a genuine ad-lib, according to Saslow and other Washington Post reporters present in the hall. The Alaska governor was responding to the "we love hockey mom" signs being waved by some of the Michigan delegates, which happened to catch her attention. Saslow believes that Palin simply seized the moment, and was not reacting to an obscured view of the teleprompter, as some have suggested. She has used the line often in political speeches.

That is a rather stretched meaning of the phrase "genuine ad-lib" - which is generally used to mean an improvisation, not the repeat of a standard line frequently used. But I accept your cite that the line was not actually written on to the teleprompter for her to deliver.

I presume when "Fact Checker" updates to include this latest lie from Palin that "The teleprompter got messed up, I couldn’t follow it, and I just decided I’d just talk to the people in front of me" it will go from one Pinocchio to three since this is, according to the very site you linked to, an outright falsehood.

an improvisation, not the repeat of a standard line frequently used.

Actually, improvisation often involves incorporating lines that have been used before. Timing and selection are very much a part of the creative act.

Perhaps a few folks on left-wing blogs could stand to step outside of the echo chamber and engage in a substantive debate with broader audiences.

Adam,

Where should one go to do that?

It happens I sometimes comment at Volokh, which is certainly not a part of any liberal echo chamber. Go read the comments there. I feel very comfortable saying that if you do you will agree with me that it is close to impossible to engage in "substantive debate" with most of the right-wing commenters there.

Bernard,

You'll never hear me defend the purported quality of debate in the comments to Volokh's blog. They're no better than the left's own echo chambers.

Agree with kenB -- in Improv, the trick is to migrate from the assigned "improv" topic to something that you have already practiced.

But when Sarah Palin's teleprompter went wrong, did it start to go 'pocketa-pocketa-pocketa'?

You'll never hear me defend the purported quality of debate in the comments to Volokh's blog. They're no better than the left's own echo chambers.

Depends on what you consider the left's echo chambers. I seldom read Atrios or Kos, but if you're drawing an equivalence between Volokh and ObWi I'd say you're many many decibels off.

The echo chamber debate should be enlarged to consider the fact that the Internet, the blogosphere, might be an institution that encourages echo chambers.

After all, if I want to buy a cartigan sweater (not that I do, after what happened to Jimmy Carter), I don't go hang out at the crew-neck sweater site.

There are fewer and fewer symphony orchestras any more. That's because the violin players are now hanging out with other violin players and the oboe players are sitting in bars with other oboe players and the triangle players are playing cowbell in a garage band.

On the other hand, I kind of like DaveC. So there's hope yet.

Adam,
It's not like you've come here offering reasoned debate- you offered the spin of Palin's handlers as gospel, and so far havent engaged substantively with the fundamental point. "The teleprompter got messed up, I couldn’t follow it, and I just decided I’d just talk to the people in front of me" isn't compatible with Palin reciting her speech as written basically word-for-word, either off of the teleprompter or from memory.
Either Palin actually ad-libbed a significant part of her speech because the teleprompter wasn't working, or she is lying. There isn't any middle ground to work with here.

Detaching the second clause and claiming that she was merely 'speaking' to the crowd is as true as this statement "Ive been studying world War II, and the French defeated the Russians". True, because the French did defeat the Russians (at the battle of Austerlitz under Napoleon) *if* Im allowed to detach the clauses and evaluate their truth-values independently of each other.

Im all for reasoned debate, but you don't seem to be particularly interested.

Here's one of my problems with her remark: she says "I just decided I’d just talk to the people in front of me." As far as I can tell, except for perhaps the remark about the lipstick (I'm unconvinced by the fact that it wasn't found in the prepared remarks but YMMV) she never "talked" to the people in front of her under the usual definition, which implies a spontaneity of her remarks. She talked insofar as the act of making speech was concerned, true, but that's a pretty pointless bar to clear; after all, no-one disputes that her mouth moved and sound came out. But did she talk, in the sense that she truly went off script and used her own, unprepared words? Nothing I've seen suggests that she did, definitions of improvisation notwithstanding; so yes, in my book this counts as a lie.

The other problem, of course, is: who gives a shit? Does the fact that she is not a completely vapid idiot, i.e. is capable of covering for those few moments when her prepared remarks aren't staring her in the face, really qualify her to be Vice-President? Are our expectations of her so low as to be met -- or even exceeded, to judge by the right-wing brouhaha -- by this minuscule display of televisual prowess? Because if that's the case, hell, the entire cast of Sports Center is qualified to be VP too.

slightly irrelevantly: "Ever wonder, What would your name would be if Sarah Palin was your mother? Well now you can find out!)

(I'd be Comma Liberty Palin. Allegedly.)

This is turning into a "Paul is Dead" level cottage industry. There are plenty of more substantial clues to her mendacity. Let her have this one.

Jes- My name would be Vise Peeper Palin. The Vise means I'm tough and can put the squeeze on the bad guys! The peeper means I'm a pervert peeping Tom, I guess.

I tried putting "Sarah Palin" into the Palin Name Generator. The result was instructive:

Flack Gobbler Palin.

Out of the mouths of babes and random name generators, eh?

I tried putting "Sarah Palin" into the Palin Name Generator. The result was instructive:

Flack Gobbler Palin.

Out of the mouths of babes and random name generators, eh?

Ever wonder, What would your name would be if Sarah Palin was your mother?

Mud.

(I live among evil foreign liberals).

Paul: There are plenty of more substantial clues to her mendacity. Let her have this one.

If you mean she's lied about more important things, sure. But this is a perfectly substantial example of her being apparently unable to tell the truth - and furthermore: substantiated by so many RNC delegates who know that McCain's VP nom spoke from the script at the conference. Even if they themselves are trying to stretch Palin's trademark "joke" about lipstick and bulldogs into "she adlib'd! a bit! really she did!" - they know, in fact, she stuck to the script, and when she claims she "just talked"... she is lying. About their own personal experience.

Shove Maggot Palin, here...

Lean Pipe Palin. That clearly does not fit. My MBI just reached 30.

Falter Locust Palin - I was hoping for something more like Alpha Male Palin. Oh, well.

Damn! McCain Fortress Palin for me.

Duct Idaho Palin.

Ah. Bush Gator Palin, using just my first name.

Finally, I'm a Gator. It's almost as good as being a real boy.

Since everyone is reporting, and I realized that it's not just randomizing each time, my first name gives "Khaki Salmon Palin," and my full name gives the less Alaskan, but even better, "Clamp Noodle Palin."

My sweetie gets the ominious "WMD Cessna Palin."

Or "ominous," even.

Oh, cool: with my middle initial, I get "Band Walmart Palin".

Bang Walmart, even

Fleck Rookie Palin

Hey, that's not all bad. I think I'll vote for McCain now.

For me: [First name] [Middle Initial] [Last name} == "Still Hardrock Palin"

For my girlfriend: [First name] [Last name} == "Krinkle Bearcat Palin"

Way late, but

Loin Falcon Palin

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