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Poor Sarah Palin; she just can’t help it!

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By Rick Howell

If there are two things in our nation that deserve each other, it’s gotta be Sarah Palin and Liberty University.
    Apparently, LU doesn’t hold great intellectual standards for the people it invites to speak. Thus, Sarah Palin will always be welcome.
    Ms. Palin (no, wait a minute; that’s Mrs. Palin. “Ms.” would be too feminist, wouldn’t it?) spoke recently at the school’s final “fall convocation.”
    She was there promoting her latest book (does anyone ever really read those?), and trying to stir up the annual “War on Christmas” nonsense that religious conservatives love to proclaim.
    As usual, Palin added nothing relevant to the nation’s political discourse. Even the coverage of her appearance in the Lynchburg newspaper could only be described as a bare bones effort. I bet the reporter even hated to go.
    “There is definitely a war on Christmas,” she said. Okay. We’ll take your word for it, Sarah. But she gave no evidence of that in her talk; at least none that was reported in the story.
    I don’t know what’s in the book, and I’d rather perish than actually have to read it, but every liberal I know is involved in causes much more profound than trying to take down Christmas, or, as the religious right says, “take the Christ out of it.”
    This stuff started a few years back when some people began to object to the use of the term “X-mas.” But that word was invented by advertisers, who were trying to shorten the longer word, Christmas, for the purposes of fitting it into newspaper and billboard ads.
    But now, if you dare to say or write “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas,” people like Palin think you’re in league with the devil. It’s every bit as ridiculous as it seems.
    But the real subject here is Palin herself and the fading brand that she represents, even though it’s one that has made her very rich. (And, after all, isn’t wealth what conservatives really believe in?)
    John McCain – because he’s a nice guy – will never admit the regret he must feel at elevating this person to a national stage. I’ll try to say this as politely as I can: She’s just not very bright, and she’s proven it over and over again.
    The 2009 book, “Game Change,” detailed how utterly horrified McCain’s advisers were when they finally sat down with Palin – after she was chosen for the ticket – and realized how clueless she was about basic political and historical facts.
    For example, she knew about “Roe v. Wade,” the Supreme Court case that legalized abortion rights (no surprise, huh?), but as for “Brown v. Board of Education,” the 1954 decision that set out to end school segregation, she knew nothing.
    The book details how McCain’s aides spent days in a hotel “briefing” her on the most basic facts of American politics and history. Then came the interview with Katie Couric, where her ignorance was publicly displayed.
    Conservatives blamed Couric and “liberal CBS,” rather than admit that their vice presidential nominee was a dunce.
    This raises a question: Why would American conservatives – and Liberty University – continue to promote this person when her lack of knowledge is so obvious?
    MSNBC’s Chris Matthews has speculated that maybe certain conservatives like the fact that Palin is ignorant, and that maybe they’re even proud of it.
    Perhaps it’s a way of saying that when you have your guns and your religion to cling to, who needs intellect?
    But if LU takes its “higher education” goals seriously, then maybe it ought to stop inviting Palin.
    She can’t help herself; but you’d think a university could.

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Rick Howell, a Bedford native, can be reached by e-mail at RickDem117@gmail.com.