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The Not-So-Odd Couple: Trump and Palin

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With a mere ten months to go before some small percentage of eligible United States voters heads to the polls for their quadrennial exercise in futility, none other than Sarah Palin, former Alaska governor and vice-presidential candidate in 2008, decided that the world had waited long enough to know her selection for president. Those on the right-wing fringe of the Republican Party, who for some bizarre and inexplicable reason, await any pearls of wisdom Ms. Palin may throw at their feet, can now rest, knowing their hero has endorsed billionaire egomaniac Donald Trump.

This writer enjoys analyzing speeches from the world’s major players, and occasionally, also has some fun with the bit players, the comic relief provided mainly by the two major U.S. political parties, Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dee. There was so much in Ms. Palin’s speech worthy of consideration in the context of grammatical abominations, disastrous policy issues and outright lies that he found it challenging to reduce the number of excerpts to those that would be accommodated by a reasonably-sized essay. However, here is his attempt, with some of the words from Mrs. Palin’s endorsement speech.

Sarah Palin: “Know that the United States military deserves a commander-in-chief who loves our country passionately and will never apologize for this country.”

Robert Fantina: So the U.S. needs a president who will never apologize, even when it is wrong, such as invading Iraq, overthrowing the government, displacing millions of people, killing at least hundreds of thousands, all in the quest to find ‘weapons of mass destruction’, which United Nations weapons inspectors were quickly learning that Iraq didn’t have.

SP: “I’m in it, because just last week, we’re watching our sailors suffer and be humiliated on a world stage at the hands of Iranian captors in violation of international law, because a weak-kneed, capitulator-in-chief has decided that America will lead from behind.”

RF: By all accounts, the sailors were well-treated, unlike U.S. prisoners who are tortured in Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo and other so-called ‘rendition’ sites. And, unlike many U.S. prisoners, the sailors captured by Iran were quickly released. And need we even add that U.S. ships had violated the territorial waters of Iran?

SP: “So troops, hang in there, because help’s on the way because he (Donald Trump), better than anyone, isn’t he known for being able to command, fire!”

RF: This seems to be a garbled illusion to Mr. Trump’s former reality television show, on which he frequently fired people. One wonders why Ms. Palin is focusing on this; it is somewhat reminiscent of 2012 GOP candidate Mitt Romney’s statement that he likes to fire people. Not a winning argument.

SP: “Well, Trump, what he’s been able to do, which is really ticking people off, which I’m glad about, he’s going rogue left and right, man.”

RF: This writer remains completely perplexed by this statement.

SP: “But for the GOP establishment to be coming after Donald Trump’s supporters even, with accusations that are so false. They are so busted, the way that this thing works.”

RF: Let us not throw up our hands in complete despair. There must be something logical in these two phrases. Apparently, the ‘GOP establishment’ (whatever that is), is falsely accusing Trump supporters of something, although Ms. Palin doesn’t specify what that is. But it doesn’t matter, apparently, because she has exposed them (“they are so busted”), which appears to her to be the normal course of events.

SP: “We, you, a diverse dynamic, needed support base that they would attack.””

RF: Again, complete bewilderment.

SP:  “[y]ou only go to war if you’re determined to win the war!“

RF: This does not appear to be a rational determination for waging war.

SP: “Oh, I just hope you all get to know him more and more as a person and a family man.“

RF: Yes, he has a large family; three wives and five children.

SP: “And he has, he’s spent his life with the workin’ man and he tells us, Joe six packs, he said, ‘You know, I’ve worked very, very hard and I’ve succeeded. Hugely, I’ve succeeded,’ he says.”

RF: We have already learned that he likes to fire people. It seems he has spent his life ‘firin’’ the ‘workin’’ man.

SP: “The self-made success of his, he, you know that he doesn’t get his power, his high, off of O.P.M. , Other People’s Money, like a lot of dopes in Washington do.”

RF: This ‘self-made success’ consisted of inheriting his father’s real-estate company in 1974, which was worth somewhere between $40 and $200 million at that time.

So there you are; Ms. Palin, in her own, unique way, has spoken. Talking heads (or should that be ‘talkin’’ heads?) are saying that, while the impact of this endorsement on the general election can’t yet be properly evaluated, it may help propel Mr. Trump to victory in Iowa.

One expects clown acts from the Republican Party, and one is seldom disappointed. From the GOP-controlled House of Representatives’ 50+ votes to repeal or cripple the Patient Protection and Affordable Care act, to parading out Ms. Palin as if her words have some serious meaning, the party never ceases to entertain.

There is less humor across the aisle, where the aging Vermont senator Bernie Sanders is battling the aging former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination. But that contest isn’t without its entertainment value, when one considers Mr. Sanders as an ‘agent of change’, or Mrs. Clinton as the upholder of the Obama legacy, as if there is anything worthwhile to uphold.

But that is business as usual in U.S. politics. Put on a show, cater to the extremes in the primary, to get out the vote of one’s devotees, and then move comfortably back to the so-called middle (which, in most other industrialized countries, would be considered the far right), and hope that no one recalls one’s odd primary pronouncements.

The circus has arrived; let’s see how glad we are to see it pack up and go away in November.

Robert Fantina’s latest book is Empire, Racism and Genocide: a History of US Foreign Policy (Red Pill Press).

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