Inexplicably enough, Sarah Palin, a sorta-politician who ran a state for a little while and participated in a miserable failure of a presidential campaign five years ago, is in the news again. This time, it’s thanks to MSNBC host Martin Bashir, who took issue with Palin’s jaw-droppingly boneheaded comparison of slavery and the national debt. In doing so, he deployed an ill-advised metaphor of his own, setting off a firestorm of criticism and, ultimately, his own resignation yesterday. Bashir’s comments were a major screw-up, of course, and more on that later. But what no one’s asking is the more obvious question: why are we listening to a know-nothing, powerless partisan hack like Sarah Palin in 2013 to begin with?
Let’s take a walk back, for context. Last month, the former governor, speaking at an Iowa fundraiser, said this of the federal debt: “When that money comes due – and this isn’t racist, but it’ll be like slavery when that note is due. We are going to beholden to the foreign master.” As anyone who follows @YesYoureRacist knows, tossing in a halfhearted “this isn’t racist” preamble to an offensive comment and inaccurate analogy doesn’t magically, automatically neutralize the rest of us from noting that, no, it actually is racist to compare the systemic enslavement, brutalization, rape, and murder of literally millions of people to our current patterns of financial borrowing.