Palin and Africa
By Ken Silverstein
originally published November 7, 2008 in Washington Babylon on Harpers.org
Sarah Palin may have been duped by two Canadian pranksters, and she may have spent a lot of the G.O.P.’s money on clothing, but is it really possible that she didn’t know that Africa is a continent? "Fox News reported Wednesday that Ms. Palin’s lack of knowledge on some topics also strained relations," said one report. "Carl Cameron reported that campaign sources told him Ms. Palin had resisted coaching before her faltering Katie Couric interviews; did not understand that Africa was a continent rather than a country; and could not name the three nations that are part of the North American Free Trade Agreement--the United States, Canada, and Mexico." I’d be willing to bet those stories are pure garbage spewed by bitter McCain staffers. McCain lost and, instead of acknowledging their own responsibility, the candidate and his staffers are laying the blame for the entire debacle at Palin’s feet. Hence these anonymously sourced stories now pouring forth about Palin being a moron, a "hillbilly from Wasilla," hot-headed (so unusual in a politician, so unlike McCain), and even a bit of a vamp. ("One night, Steve Schmidt and Mark Salter went to her hotel room to brief her. After a minute, Palin sailed into the room wearing nothing but a towel, with another on her wet hair.") There’s one problem with this scenario: John McCain and his campaign staff picked Palin to be the vice-presidential nominee. If she truly is an idiot and a diva, what does that say about McCain and the crack team that selected her?