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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend Is No Jack Kennedy

I'm trying really, really hard not to take the bait.  I promised you I would be better next time.

At least I've recognized that I have a problem, which is the first step, right?

You see, the thing is, I just enjoy it too much, so I can't stay away.  So rather than fighting it anymore, I'm going to give in just this once...

... and respond to the latest anti-Palin derangement.

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend writing in The Washington Post proves that she is no Jack Kennedy by writing that Palin not only is no Jack Kennedy, but is trying to pick a fight with Jack.  

The supposed fight picking is that Palin questioned in her latest book whether Jack should have "reconciled" his faith and public life rather than acting as if the two could be completely separated from each other.  (See Kennedy speech embedded below.) 

Here is a clip of the speech at issue:

As is often the case with Palin haters, Townsend uses extrapolation and exaggeration to create a strawman argument that Palin "seems to challenge a great American tradition, enshrined in the Constitution, stipulating that there be no religious test for public office." 

But nothing from Palin's book as quoted by Townsend supports the conclusion that Palin was making such an argument, so Townsend is doing what Obama does so well, knocking down arguments which have not been made. 

If Townsend disagreed with Palin's point, then Townsend could have dealt with it on the merits, not by setting the issue up falsely as an attack by Palin on Jack, or as a demand by Palin that there be a "religious test" for public life.  These are just headline grabbing devices.

As quoted by Townsend, Palin says that she at first agreed with the tenor of Jack's speech, but has come to feel that perhaps it was too defensive.

Palin simply is reflecting changes in our public life and attitudes towards religion.  The America of 2010 simply isn't the same America as in 1960, when it was controversial that a Catholic run for President.  Our Supreme Court now doesn't even have a Protestant on it.

Palin is in the same place on this issue, in practice, as is Obama.  Obama during the 2008 campaign Obama went to Rick Warren's church for an extensive interview about his faith. 

To be willing to discuss and "reconcile" one's faith with public service is not setting up a "religious test" as Townsend claims.  That dichotomy is intellectually simplistic.

Perhaps Townsend should follow the lead of Charles Blow in The NY Times who insists that he never, ever is going to mention Palin's name again unless and until she declares her candidacy for president.  Because Palin has this mesmerizing power over NY Times' columnists, Blow needed to declare his boycott openly, perhaps so that external pressures and fear of humiliation will keep him from straying. 

Good luck with that, Charlie.  And Kathy.

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  1. As is often the case with Palin haters, Townsend uses extrapolation and exaggeration to create a strawman argument...

    Mmmmm, yes. I've been noticing this too. Seems to be on the upswing. Lately it has been a constant.

    Every time they do that, they create a problem for the argument that she's supposedly-unqualified. If she was really a walking Gaff-o-matic like Joe Biden, it wouldn't be necessary to translate for her, right? You could just quote her straight up and start ridiculing. I think it's been six months to a year since I saw anyone do that with her though.

    Other than the N.vs.S. Korea thing that is.

  2. Using Kathy's "logic", opposing someone whose religion calls for destroying America would be imposing a "religious test".

  3. Equally stupid is this takedown of Palin's book by a hoity toity historian PhD from Yale. He finds one error in the book and then launches into his perceptions of what Lincoln, King and Paine would have thought of the contemporary revolutionary Sarah Palin.
    Personally I could deal with legitimate criticisms, but the whole "I'm so smart and she's sooooo dumb" reviewer snootiness bugs the H$$$ out of me.
    Here's the book review: http://tinyurl.com/2bckma6

  4. "...seems to challenge a great American tradition, enshrined in the Constitution, stipulating that there be no religious test for public office."

    That's false. The Constitution does not stipulate a religious test for public office BUT neither does it prevent the establishment of one either. Not saying it should, but Kennedy is still wrong.

  5. "Other than the N.vs.S. Korea thing that is."

    Of course, those who ridiculed her for that completely ignore the fact that she almost immediately acknowledged her error and corrected it. See, even when Sarah does make an honest gaffe, the haters STILL have to extrapolate to and obfuscate to make it look bad.

  6. As much as many prognosticators and so-called experts are saying President Obama is going to have a tough time getting re-elected, the reality of the situation is that President Obama will get re-elected against almost any potential GOP challenger.

    However, one candidate cannot be over-looked. If we learned anything from 2008, we should've learned that organization and social media skills are paramount to a campaign. No one is actually going to "come out of nowhere". To become the most powerful person in the world, you have to build quite an organization. That's why only one person has a chance to beat President Obama in 2012.

    This will make it all clear: