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Palin's Paul Revere Comment and Weiner's Wiener Photo - Different Levels of Stupid

By June 7, 2011

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"Stupid is as stupid does," or so the saying goes. But stupid -- like anything else in life -- is less an on-off switch than a rainbow of grey areas. There are levels of stupid which make us laugh, gasp, and want to throw things at the TV/computer screen. You couldn't ask for a better news cycle than the current one to illustrate the thousand-and-one forms of stupid that range from "simple error" stupid to "what the hell were you thinking?" stupid. You probably already realize where this is going. Right to this week's headlines involving Sarah Palin and Rep. Anthony Weiner.

Sarah Palin's reimagining of history and Paul Revere's actions on his iconic ride is silly stupid. Hers is the simple-error type of stupidity, but in typical maverick fashion she won't admit she got it wrong and is digging in and standing her ground. Although I disagree with her, I can't help but admire her tenaciousness. Women are often accused of rolling over...capitulating too easily...taking the blame even when they're right. Palin's political wardrobe is entirely Teflon-coated. She takes no blame  and won't acknowledge flashes of ignorance. She fights with a smile on her face and is never at a loss for words, even when they don't come together in complete sentences. Those qualities may not make for a great presidential candidate, but she's one strong woman -- a trait I have to give her credit for.

Silly stupid is not a crime. It's more entertaining than harmful.

In comparison, Rep. Anthony Weiner and his "sharing" of photos of various parts of his body with women online is crazy stupid. Crazy as in "hello, are you looking to end your political career in an epic sustained bout of self-delusional behavior that can only result in a major episode of crash and burn?" stupidity.

Like former New York governor Eliot Spitzer before him, we're asking, "What was he thinking?" (And like Spitzer and NY Rep. Chris Lee who also photographed himself and sent out inappropriate photos, Weiner truly seemed to believe he could get away with this nonsense.)

Let's be frank here. Men in public office appear to cheat...a lot. Women in public office don't...or rarely do...or are almost never caught.  I'd like to believe it's because elected women don't possess the time, interest, inclination, or stupidity to cheat at the same level with the same impunity. Maybe that's because only 16% of Congress is female. But I'd hazard a guess that even if Congress were 50% women, the majority of infidelity would involve male members. (Don't say anything about that pun. Let it lie.)

So if stupid is as stupid does, does that make all stupidity the same in terms of cause and effect? Not in my book. I don't love that Palin is rewriting history, but it's not hurting anyone other than herself. Weiner is hurting people - his wife, his family, his constituents, the Democratic Party if he remains in office and election time rolls around.

He says he committed no crime, but when initially confronted with the evidence he lied, dodged questions and avoided giving direct answers when asked "Was that underwear photo of you?" That, my friends, is a on-off switch. Yes or no. Didja do it, or dincha?

Did he really think he could squirm away from this one? That's stupid. That's breaking the people's trust. That's belittling us by assuming we're as stupid as you and that we'll believe your song and dance.

Maybe sexting isn't "cheating" in his book. But any man (or woman) who does stupid stuff and knows full well when he skirts what's legal and what's acceptable is clearly looking to get away with everything he can, and that's not a platform I've seen any candidate successfully run on. If a no-confidence vote were held tomorrow, you don't have to be a Mensa candidate to know that Weiner would lose his seat.

The fact that his stupidity is non-criminal is no excuse for him to continue to hold office. He needs to "man up" and acknowledge that chatting up 6 women and photographing himself and parts of his body in various stages of undress is proof he's not doing the people's business. He needs to step down.

You know what's the stupidest thing of all in this carnival sideshow of stupidity? That it has become a partisan issue with each side pointing fingers and saying how debauched the other side is. Full disclosure -- I'm a Democrat -- but when my 17-year-old daughter Em and I were watching last week's interview with Rep. Weiner, we were stunned by his refusal to acknowledge whether or not the "underwear photo" was of him.

And when Em asked, "Why doesn't he just say it's not him? If he were innocent, that's what he'd say, wouldn't he?" I couldn't disagree with her. It was obvious something was going on.

Infidelity exists on both sides of the aisle, as does a poor grasp of US history. It would be stupid to blame party politics for the actions of either individual, just as it would be stupid to see Palin's error as being on par with Weiner's internet dalliance with six different women. He may have kept it in his pants, but we all saw the party that was going on down there.

And one's political party affiliation shouldn't be a reason to demonize her and give a pass to him.

Let's back off of Palin and keep the pressure on Weiner, who seems to have confused the concepts of "election" and "erection" and exposed us to far more than any of us wanted to see. I for one would be happy to see his behind, fully clothed, exiting Congress and walking away from a political career that is already down to smoke and ash.

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June 7, 2011 at 3:35 pm
(1) John Henry says:

And what did Palin say about Revere that was factually wrong?

Everything I’ve seen, including Paul Revere’s own words, has shown that she was right.

John Henry

June 7, 2011 at 3:49 pm
(2) t says:


When you’re branded as stupid simply because of your political ideology and your lack of eloquence, it doesn’t really matter to ideologues if what you say is true or not – everything you do and say is “stupid.” Did Palin nail the Revere thing 100%…no. But she was far closer to the facts than the media who howled at her supposed “dim wittedness.” But does that really matter with people so deep in the ideological tank that they’re willing to attempt artful nuances and clever distinctions between Palin’s sincere comments and Weiner’s bald face lies? Nah. When the mud falls on one side the other always tries to pull you into it with whatever they can find…right, Linda? That both Palin and Weiner are mentioned in the same article, in this context, is simply ridiculous. Anyway, I guess we know which party Linda religiously votes for.

June 7, 2011 at 4:56 pm
(3) frank says:

You think this is the first time that Palin has said something stupid. She could see Russia from Alaska. Hello, you might be a fan of hers and that is OK. But please don’t think with your emotions. Palin has nothing to offer that can help anyone except her bank account. Anthony Weiner has always fought for us. He is brave and stands up for all of us. Even republicans who are not millionaires? But Palin is for the big corporations, oil companies, and any one who will make her even richer. She is raciest and very very little informed. All she knows is to make the money while she is still in the news. Weiner is stupid. But his stupidity only hurts himself. But palin’s stupidity is making a lot of her fans stupid too? And what if Linda votes democratic, didn’t we have eight long years of republicans bringing this country down and making all of us and the rest of the world much worse off, and poorer???

June 7, 2011 at 5:36 pm
(4) John Henry says:

It was Tina Fey pretending to be Sarah Palin who said she could see Russia from her house.

Palin actually said that she could see Russia from Alaska. (This is what you said but lots of others like you repeat the Fey quote. I wanted to make sure they could understand the difference.)

And you know what? She can!

You could too if you went there.

T is right, of course. It doesn’t matter if it is true or not.

John Henry

June 8, 2011 at 4:16 pm
(5) mrs. robledo says:

I admire and respect Sarah Palin, and very proudly agree with her politics and her stands:) thanks!

June 8, 2011 at 6:03 pm
(6) FL says:

People who support Palin fall into camps.

1. Grossly superficial and highly uninformed.

2. Political operatives, who are fully aware of her diminished capacity, but also know she is fully supported by camp No.1, so they use her as a divisive wedge.

Camp 2, I get. It’s political hackery and it’s sad, but I get it.

Camp 1, I got news for you, your’re not bright, you’re not informed, you are tools, I have no respect for you, and I will never pity you. Enjoy your cancer.

June 8, 2011 at 8:10 pm
(7) Day2day says:

Palin lies, kills for enjoyment and thinks she is an informed person.Saturday, September 13, 2008
Sarah Palin kills animals for fun – creates science to fit her policy
It’s not sporting, it’s not humane, it’s not necessary… it’s like shooting fish in a barrel … and she calls herself pro-life
This aerial killing of wolves and other wildlife is BEING ENCOURAGED by Republican VP nominee, Sarah Palin. Palin’s $150 bounty for wolves can be claimed by presenting the severed foreleg of the killed wolf. This brutal savagery shows ignorance and a complete disregard for wildlife and the environment. Sarah Palin kills animals for fun, not for subsistence or food. Because of her delight in killing, she has invented science to justify it. The Republican War on Science and the Environment continues.

Contrary to reports that there is no scientific basis for wolf control, Palin has encouraged the aerial killing of wolves by offering a $150 bounty, even dispatching her state employees last July to kill 14 wolf puppies by shooting them in the head, citing a control effort to save caribou. These wolves could have been relocated, shot with tranquilizers instead of bullets. But no, blow their brains out.

Estimates of moose populations, which this need to kill wolves was based on, have turned out to be wrong. Some wildlife biologists say predator control advocates like Palin don’t even understand what wolves eat.

Alaskans say Palin’s enthusiasm for predator control fits a method of operation – how she edits science to suit her personal views.http://loosetncanon.blogspot.com/2008/09/sarah-palin-kills-animals-for-fun.html

June 9, 2011 at 10:40 am
(8) Mick says:

Linda Lowen: Maybe you think that Sarah Palin seems “silly stupid” but that would be your opinion as a character attack about her clumsy speech pattern. At least I could accept that. In terms of the Paul Revere subject she made the point correctly that a warning was given to the British regulars. You’re jumping to the conclusion that she’s making reference to the more popular (and widely misunderstood) “The British are coming” line…. It’s ironic that you, Linda, appear stupid while trying your very hardest to tear down others.

June 9, 2011 at 10:50 am
(9) whiteknyght says:

A glimpse into Palin’s domestic education policy.


June 9, 2011 at 3:19 pm
(10) FlashLash says:

Face it folks, one was inept, evasive and constantly craves our attention. The other, while standing at attention, was evasive and inept. Stupid is, as stupid IS…….always has, always will be. I’d vote for Forrest Gump or Tina Fey for that matter before either of these two DA’s.

June 9, 2011 at 6:11 pm
(11) Elphaba says:

Paul Revere’s ride was to warn other patriots of the coming of the British. I want to say John Adams, but I’m not 100% sure right now. It was done quietly, in secret, not ringing a bell. During the ride he was joined by two other men.

After the main objective was achieved, Revere and his companions elected to continue on to Concord, i think (I don’t have my notes on this with me and my paper was written about 10 years ago, so the names escape me right now) Unfortunately, Revere was captured by the British ad did not complete the ride while his companions did.

According to Revere’s own writings, this was to warn other patriots, NOT the British. The British knew where they were and what they wanted to do. Flat out, Palin was WRONG and refuses to admit it. Stubborn is as stubborn does, but refusing to admit that a mistake was made does not speak well of her.

How the British found out the American resolve was due to the conflict, not one man’s ride. No amount of revisionist history can change that.

June 9, 2011 at 11:56 pm
(12) Magret says:

I think it was the image of Paul Revere riding his horse through the town and “ringin’ dem bells” that got me to chuckling — that, and Palin’s rambling beauty queen sentence syntax so reminescent of the other beauty queen who decried that everybody needed maps.

June 10, 2011 at 1:02 pm
(13) Regina says:

I think it’s ridiculous that you compared Sarah Palin and Anthony Weiner in the same article. I didn’t see or hear Palin on Revere so I won’t comment on that. However, I have seen all the lies taht Weiner perpetrated for 10 days in his bid to save himself. What a disgrace he is to his state, to the office he holds and to this country.

I feel sorry for his wife and for you, Linda, because you appear desperate in your attempt to shift the focus off Weiner.

June 10, 2011 at 4:12 pm
(14) womensissues says:

Regina, did you even bother to read the blog post? If you did, you’d see that your belief that I’m desperate to “shift the focus off Weiner” is way off the mark. Since you’re clearly a smart woman I have to assume you only looked at the title when you decided to leave your comment.

Anyone who read my commentary can see that I hold Weiner totally responsible — I raked him over the coals, called for his resignation, said he clearly wasn’t doing the people’s business and violated the trust of the voters. And I did so days before the rank and file Democrats spoke out against him.

I also avoided mentioning his wife because she has nothing to do with his stupidity and I think it’s criminal that the wife gets dragged into these dreadful scenarios. IMHO, the wife doesn’t need your pity, she needs to be left alone and not analyzed and torn apart and dogged by the media.

Too bad you “didn’t see or hear” Palin’s gaffe regarding the Paul Revere comment; it would give your opinion more authority if you had. Palin’s stupidity was minor; Weiner’s was career-ending. I praised Palin for thinking on her feet and urged the media to back off.

Both stories appeared in the same news cycle, and his was the more significant headline – hers was just a blip on the screen. That’s the link between the two — moments of shared stupidity, and the levels at which the media and the public hold the two individuals accountable.

I enjoy the participation of readers – emphasis on the word “readers” – of this site and welcome comments that actually relate to the ideas expressed. I hope you’ll take the time to read the words I wrote — if you decide to return for a visit — as I have taken the time to read and respond to yours.

Common courtesy is essential to informed discourse, and that involves listening to what is said, not jumping to conclusions based on a headline.

June 10, 2011 at 4:49 pm
(15) John P. says:

All of you who cannot leave your sad sack mouths closed are truly in sad shape. Do something productive. I dare any of you to step out in front and try to do half the job Palin or any other person in the public eye does. You don;t have the guts. I strongly suspect you are all so into doing the congressman’s pics that you can’t think about anything else. As they say in grade school. Don’t come with problems, show up with a solution. Bunch of grumps with an attitude! You should be spanked! Grow up already…..

December 29, 2011 at 1:04 am
(16) ambutailene says:

cheap for more suprisely

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