Thursday, November 6, 2008


[By Michael Leddy.]

Terrifying too.

Bill O'Reilly's response: "You can tutor people, and you can get people up to speed." Yes, if you are teaching an elementary-school geography class.

Sarah Palin hasn't exactly denied not knowing that Africa is a continent and not a country (or that Canada, Mexico, and the United States are the countries involved in NAFTA):

"That's kind of a small, evidently bitter type of person who would anonymously charge something foolish like that, that I perhaps didn't know an answer to a question."
Yes, you'd have to be pretty small to find it disconcerting that someone ready to assume the presidency doesn't know that stuff. Details!

I wonder whether Palin's various colleges will be awarding honorary degrees any time soon.

[Update, November 8: A further Palin non-denial:
“If there are allegations based on the questions or comments that I made in debate prep about NAFTA and about the continent versus the country when we talk about Africa there, then those were taken out of context."]
[Update, November 12: An explanation:
"So we discussed what was going on in Africa. And never, ever did I talk about, well, gee, is it a country or is it a continent. I just don't know about this issue. So I don't know how they took our one discussion on Africa and turned that into what they turned it into," said Palin.

"I don't know, because I remember the discussion about Africa, my concern has been the atrocities there in Darfur and the relevance to me with that issue, as we spoke about Africa and some of the countries there that were kind of the people succumbing to the dictators and the corruption of some collapsed governments on the continent, the relevance was Alaska's investment in Darfur with some of our permanent fund dollars, I wanted to make sure that that didn't happen anymore."
Note: "I wanted to make sure that that didn't happen anymore." During the vice-presidential debate, Palin claimed to have called for divestment of Alaksa's Sudan-related investments. That claim, as ABC News pointed out, is contradicted by reality. The Palin administration had in fact killed a bill requiring such divestment.

Note too: "investment in Darfur." Sudan, not Darfur, is a country.]

comments: 7

Chaser said...

I'm sort of hoping she fades into obscurity.

As I say to my students when I make them show Iraq on a map: "If you are going to be at war, you should at least know where the other country is.It's only polite."

Michael Leddy said...

I'm hoping for that too — not a self-appointment to the Senate should Stevens be expelled.

It's very interesting to teach Gilgamesh, pull up a map, and watch as students figure out where Mesopotamia is.

macon d said...

gads, that syntax! fascinatingly torturous. that would be one benefit of a senate seat for her--we'd get to keep hearing that. it's like listening to outsider music. shooby taylor, for instance.

Lee said...

Perhaps you ought to remember that Obama once complained we don't have enough Arabic-speakers in Afghanistan (where Arabic isn't spoken), suggested that the Russian invasion of Georgia could be settled in the UN Security Council (where Russia has a veto), or closer to home, in May 2007 after the tornadoes said, 'In case you missed it, this week, there was a tragedy in Kansas. Ten thousand people died -- an entire town destroyed.' The death toll was 12.

Michael Leddy said...

I've never heard Shooby — thanks, Macon. He sounds a bit like Slim Gaillard, but crazed.

Lee, I agree, everyone makes mistakes, has brain glitches, screws up facts. But the Africa bit — which is said to involve a further confusion on Palin's part about whether South Africa was a country or a region of "Africa" (i.e., the country) — seems a matter of basic cultural literacy that's missing.

Genevieve Netz said...

I never believed this story, and it turns out my instincts were correct. The NY Times reported yesterday (along with a host of other newspapers) that Martin Eisenstadt, the "senior McCain advisor" and "senior fellow at the Harding Institute" who "leaked" this story is just a long-term hoax. He was invented and given a blog and a documentary by a couple of filmmakers.

It is sickening that most of the press and many bloggers were so willing to swallow the bait.

Michael Leddy said...

But the Times article says this: "The pranksters behind Eisenstadt acknowledge that he was not, through them, the anonymous source of the Palin leak. He just claimed falsely that he was the leaker — and they say they have no reason to cast doubt on the original story. For its part, Fox News Channel continues to stand behind its story."