When accused of ethical wrongdoing, most public figures immediately adopt a strategy of denial. The more aggressive among them may even slander their accusers or discount the integrity of the investigative body altogether.
Where Sarah Palin deviates from politics as usual, however, is the strategy she adopted once she was found guilty of unethical behavior when she was the governor of Alaska.
The governor has apparently decided to stride boldly ahead with one key lie: that the Troopergate report (the one which, in fact, found her guilty of abuse of power) cleared her of any wrongdoing.
Campaigns should not be able to operate on blatant lies and false accusations of media bias.
Of the report, which again found her guilty of violating the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act by pressuring a state troopers dismissal on personal grounds, the potential vice president had this to say: Well, Im very, very pleased to be cleared of any legal wrongdoing ... any hint of any kind of unethical activity there, very pleased to be cleared of any of that.
This technique of using bold-faced lies to distract the voting public in the final run-up to the election is nothing new on the part of the McCain-Palin campaign.
This campaign is banking on what it perceives to be the collective stupidity of the American people. By telling Americans what to believe even when simple facts dictate the complete opposite they hope to ever so bluntly pull the wool over Americas eyes.
This political season has been rife with acts of deceit on all sides.
Obama and McCain mostly through their veep surrogates have both found plenty of dents in each others records, and both campaigns have been guilty of an aggressive sort of mudslinging.
But McCains campaigning and Palins willingness to proliferate bold-faced lies may be unprecedented.
Perhaps the best example of this development is Palin herself. When the McCain camp chose her as the Arizona senators running mate, they were undoubtedly attempting to collect at least some of Hillary Clintons would-be voters.
The McCain camp essentially told American women that they found them daft enough to vote for anyone with breasts, regardless of their lacking qualifications and backward policies.
Once the Alaska governor entered the race, however, she quickly picked up another form of cliched, ignorant political behavior: hating on the media.
The media (a phrase only exceeded in ambiguity by Sarah Palins family values) is a dangerous thorn for politicians like Palin, not because they are Republicans or Joe Six-Packs, but because they run campaigns bent on falsehoods.
Of course Sarah Palin would hate the media when its pesky journalists expose her lies. Or her record as a maverick flimsy at best, and non-existent on a clear day.
But instead of accepting the errancies of her involvement in the firing of a state trooper, she blasts the liberal elites in the Washington, D.C. media conglomerates.
Which is ironic, because it is hard to count journals such as The Anchorage Daily News and The Salt Lake City Tribune (the latter of which ran the report findings under the headline Abuse of power: Investigation of Palins raises troubling questions) as establishments of liberal elitism. Yet, one supposes they must have caught that God-forsaken media bug.
When reporters confronted her about the basic, fundamental deceit that had been uncovered, she gingerly replied, Youve got to read the report.
Mrs. Palin, if there is one thing the mainstream media does when reporting on a story, its read the report.
Onewriter for The Atlantic Monthly took her up on her challenge. His conclusion? Unable to get the best of Alaskan investigators, she is trying to get the best of American reading habits.
The writer, Conor Clarke, found that the reports findings were as such: Palin is lying outright when she claims the report found nothing unethical.
So while the report did say she was cleared of legal wrongdoing, violating ethics laws is is a violation of the public trust. And hardly a clean record. Or maverick-y.
As gingerly as she told debate moderator Gwen Iffel that she would not answer as the liberal media would like but as America wants her to, so too did Palin sidestep this latest disaster. When reminded that the report found her guilty, Palin responded by saying, I think that youre always going to ruffle feathers as you do what you believe is in the best interest of the people whom you are serving.
Governor Palin, you do not serve the best interest of any people when you violate ethics to avenge your sisters divorce.
It is time this nation, this generation, tells politicians that they cannot just create a reality for themselves outside the boundaries of truth and ethics. Politicians live in this world and should start being held accountable for their actions in it.