David Kernell is the son of a state legislator from my home town. I met him at the pool of the Memphis JCC when he was two years old, while his dad and I discussed politics. We also happened to have lunch a couple of times, when his dad, State Rep. Mike Kernell brought his kids to the natural foods café I frequented.
Sarah Palin is the former governor of Alaska and former vice-presidential candidate. She perceives herself as a martyr, victimized by a heinous invasion of her privacy. And she suffered unknown distress, as did her daughter Bristol , formerly known as America ’s teenage girl role model.
For all the damage he actually caused, young Kernell should have been prosecuted for misdemeanor criminal mischief and given probation. But because of the sensationalism surrounding anything associated with Palin, he became a target of a political witch hunt. Honestly, they wanted to put the kid away for 15 years for an ill-advised college political stunt? G. Gordon Liddy deserved 20 years for his role in the Watergate break-in, and got off with 4 ½. Fortunately, Kernell was given a one-year sentence, and may serve it in a half-way house.
Lost in all this is why a high-level political candidate maintained an e-mail account with a service so public and hackable as Yahoo. So Mama Grizzly raised up and growled, and the political minions fell in line. And then I gagged . . . when I read this post-trial comment from Palin: “As Watergate taught us, we rightfully reject illegally breaking into candidates’ private communications for political intrigue in an attempt to derail an election,”
Kernell’s cyber mischief is far removed from anything remotely connected with Watergate. That involved a well-orchestrated conspiracy emanating from the White House, and carried out by professional thugs hired by highly placed Republican operatives. It involved Attorney General John Mitchell, and interference with the FBI by the CIA to protect Nixon. The Watergate burglars were paid for what they did, and had $1,000’s in cash on them when they were caught. Their intent was to plant listening devices throughout Democratic Headquarters at the Watergate, so they could monitor the conversations and activities of their opponents. They were organized by Liddy, who was rightfully sentenced to 20 years in prison, but wrongfully pardoned after 4 ½ years, in a fit of misplaced, bi-partisan giddiness by Jimmy Carter.
Palin displayed mere hubris, when she was reaching for righteous indignation. The problem is that she has no claim to the latter. Indeed Sarah Palin comes from the political tradition of Liddy and the Watergate burglars – in fact, there is a direct lineage. Had she stayed on as Governor of Alaska, instead of resigning with 18 months left in her term, she would be employing a staff of criminal attorneys to fight off “ethics” charges, instead of touring the country promoting her erroneous version of American History. The woman trades on lies in her campaign to whip the unwashed masses into a frenzy to “take back our country.” The country was never taken away from these people. But they’ve been told that over and over by Liddy, Rush Limbaugh and Palin on her barnstorming tour. Why? Because this tactic best assures the maximum obstruction for Obama’s agenda of SERIOUSLY taking back this country.
Liddy has behaved like a fascist operative at various times in his life, while in the employ of the FBI and Nixon Administration. Now he is a hero to right-wing radio. Palin behaved like a fascist as Mayor of Wasilla and governor of Alaska . To wit: She demanded the resignations of local government employees, who had been loyal to the former Mayor, including the police chief. This was done as a litmus test to make sure they all supported her. Somehow, I never thought of a police chief as a partisan position. Her draconian personnel actions have resulted in lawsuits for wrongful termination and 1st Amendment violations. She has dismissed and derailed the careers of many good state employees supposedly for performance related issues, but in reality for not fitting her definition of “team player.” (Suck up) As a public official she has used threats of termination to control and intimidate political opponents and control how the local government dispenses information. That’s an element of classical fascism.
Palin travels the country decrying the “pork” politics of Washington, while actively engaging lobbyists for that very task. Mama Grizzly likes her pork chops too. She also likes her revisionist history. David Kernell is no Gordon Liddy, but Sarah Palin comes pretty close.
Scott Prostermanis a music, film and dance historian in Berkeley. He worked as a disc jockey in Pittsburgh and Memphis, where he grew up and where it all began. He was born in the 50s, grew up in the 60s, thrived in the 70s, barely survived the 80s, and re-grouped in the 90s.