Playing With Fire

February 11, 2010

Raynard Jackson

Republicans continue to play a dangerous game of politics that may give them short term victory, but will ultimately destroy their brand and viability. They are allowing fellow Republicans to enter territory that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago.

Republicans would argue that they can’t “control” what others say and that people have the right to “freedom of speech.” All this is true, but there is such a thing as enabling a person to engage in destructive behavior. You don’t have to strike the match that causes a fire to be culpable. Spreading gas in a building and walking away while someone else lights the match is enough for both parties to be guilty!

Republicans have indoctrinated Sarah Palin into actually thinking that she has a future as an elected official. She is an empty vessel that they fill with words that she has absolutely no understanding of. She is a pretty face, who uses folksy language and one who excites and rallies a fringe element of the party. No political strategist (Republican or Democrat) takes Palin seriously. Privately, these people think she is doing more harm (to herself and the party) than good. She is willingly being used and has no idea of the implications of her decision. She seeks fortune and fame in exchange for being paraded around the country to give speeches that she can’t explain to anyone.

She is not allowed to do “real” media interviews and even with friendly interviews, you can’t help but walk away feeling sorry for her. Take Sunday’s interview with FOX’s Chris Wallace:

WALLACE: What do you think of Barack Obama's presidency so far?

PALIN: He has some misguided decisions that he is making that he is expecting us to just kind of sit down and shut up and accept, and many of us are not going to sit down and shut up. We're going to say, No, we do not like this..."

WALLACE: Wait, where is — wait, wait. Where is he saying sit down and shut up?

PALIN: In a general — just kind of his general persona, I think, that he has, when he's up there at a — I'll call it a lectern — when he is up there and he is telling us, basically, "I know best. My people here in the White House know best, and we are going to tell you that yes, you do want this essentially nationalized health care system." And we're saying, "No, we don't."

And the messages are not being received by Barack Obama. So I think instead of lecturing, he needs to stop and he needs to listen on health care issues, on national security.

This perceived lackadaisical approach that he has to dealing with the terrorists — we're saying, "That concerns us, and we're going to speak up about it. And please, don't allow this persona to continue where you do try to make us feel like we need to just sit down, shut up and accept what you're doing to us."

This is painful to even read. So, she said Obama said “sit down and shut up,” but when challenged on it, could not name one time the president said that. Or her answer when she was on Glen Beck’s TV show.

BECK: Who is your favorite founder (as in founding father)?

PALIN: You know, well, all of them because they came collectively together with so much diverse.

BECK: Bull crap. Who is your favorite?

PALIN: So much diverse opinion and so much diversity in terms of belief, but collectively they came together to form this union...No, and they were led by, of course, George Washington, so he's got to rise to the top. Washington was the consummate statesman.

Beck is a fanatical supporter of Palin, but yet he calls her answer “bull crap!”

A final point on Palin and the media. I can guarantee that most of you have never heard or read about the horrible thing Chris Wallace (FOX News) said about Palin last Thursday on Don Imus’ radio show.

Imus: When you interview her, will she be sitting on your lap?

Wallace: One can only hope.

I think this was totally disgusting and Wallace should have been suspended by FOX. But, more importantly, why did Palin not call Wallace on the carpet for such a denigrating remark? Where were all the feminist groups? This is exactly why no one takes Palin seriously. She will rant and rave about stupid issues like the word “retarded,” but on an issue that all Americans would have supported her on, she says nothing!

Silliness seems to follow Palin wherever she goes. Saturday night she gave her long anticipated speech at the Tea Party convention (for a reported $ 100,000). But, the only thing people are talking about is the fact she had notes scribbled in the palm of her hand. This, in and of itself, would not have been a big deal, except for it perpetuated the caricature of her as a dunce. During this speech she railed against Obama using a teleprompter, while she was reading from her prepared remarks (and referring to the palm of her hand during the question period).

She is a walking contradiction. These contradictions always become the topic of discussion within the media, thereby taking away from any message she may be trying to communicate.

At this same convention, former Congressman Tom Tancredo gave a scary, dangerous, incendiary speech that was right out of the 1950s. In his speech he said, “…people who could not even spell the word vote or say it in English put a committed socialist ideologue in the White House. His name is Barack Hussein Obama…..”

The danger here is that not one Republican official has denounced this speech! It’s ironic that this speech was given during Black History Month, of all things. I am stunned that Michael Steele has said nothing, being the first Black to head our party. I get all sorts of silly emails from his director of coalitions, Angela Sailor, but on a substantive issue like this, she remains totally silent.

Republicans, here’s a lesson you will learn, you play with fire you are going to get burned!

Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-public relations/government affairs firm. He is also a contributing editor for ExcellStyle Magazine (
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