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It's The Loyalty, Stupid.

This is absolutely priceless.

Answering the question: Is there anything a Republican can't rationalize in pursuit of partisan advantage?

As noted above, to function effectively, a chief executive must work through and therefore be able to trust and rely on her subordinates. After Palin was elected mayor, she inherited the previous administration's staff and department heads; she may have wanted, reasonably enough, to establish that she was in charge and that the department heads would follow her administration's policy. She may have wanted to know, that is, if they were loyal. She may have asked them questions probing whether this was so. The now-famous "rhetorical question" (famous in the sense that it was asked, but no one seems to recall exactly what the question was) she asked Emmons, the library chief, perhaps went something like this: "I need to know that you're going to implement the decisions that I've made, even if you don't agree with them. Suppose I asked you to do something just unthinkable - suppose I asked you to get rid of all the Harry Potter books, for example. Would you be willing to do it?" Emmons evidently said that she'd rather quit (although it obviously doesn't follow from that preference that she was fired because she wouldn't ban certain books).

If that's a fair reconstruction, then the incident may have been (to borrow one of Justice O'Connor's preferred pejoratives) unattractive, but it becomes understandable and it certainly wasn't "seeking to ban books." We have a situation with a new mayor of a fast-growing frontier town getting a feel for office. No books were banned, and there's no direct evidence that Palin ever intended to ban them. We already know that the left either doesn't understand the concept of a rhetorical context or they think Palin doesn't. At very least, while this isn't by any means the sort of debunking we've offered before, it posits theory of events fits the facts adduced thusfar, and doesn't superimpose extraordinary motivations onto the actors as the more outlandish claims do. All this should make us highly skeptical of the critics' claims.

So, you see, it's okay that Palin asked the librarian whether she would theoretically allow the mayor to censor books. Because it was just a loyalty test.

So, um, police chief, if I . . . purely theoretically . . . asked whether you'd round up all the Jews if I asked you, would you be able to do that for me?

No?

Then I'm sorry, I'm going to have to let you go for disloyalty.

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“It's The Loyalty, Stupid.”

  1. Blogger Simon Says:

    Well, Michael, the first thing to note is that you omitted from your quote my explicit point that I was offering only a theory of what might have happened. The second is that while there may be a valid criticism of Palin in this story, that doesn't change the fact that the criticism made by Palin's critics doesn't hold water. You can call that rationalization if you like, but so far as I can see, it casts the "book banner" allegations onto the ash tray of history - along with all the other distortions, innuendos, half-truths, overstatements, misrepresentations and outright fabrications that have been hurled at Palin by her critics since 8/29. Every single one of those allegations has turned out to be insubstantial, and this one is no different.

  2. Blogger Michael Reynolds Says:

    I don't know the facts of the case any more than you do, Simon. I am responding to the fact that you'd make such a transparent argument.

    Would you have ever made this argument if Palin were a Democrat? No. Of course not.