RFK Jr. comments on Sarah Palin's book list

Fascist writer Westbrook Pegler, an avowed racist who Sarah Palin approvingly quoted in her acceptance speech for the moral superiority of small town values, expressed his fervent hope about my father, Robert F. Kennedy, as he contemplated his own run for the presidency in 1965, that "some white patriot of the Southern tier will spatter his spoonful of brains in pubic premises before the snow flies."

Following the Palin acceptance speech New York Times columnist Frank Rich provided an analysis of the political significance of quoting Pegler. Mr. Rich noted that "Pegler was a rabid Joe McCarthyite who loathed F.D.R. and Ike and tirelessly advanced the theory that American Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe (“geese,” he called them) were all likely Communists." He suggested that Palin's use of a quote from "once powerful right-wing Hearst columnist Westbrook Pegler" was intended to send a subtle but unmistakable signal to far right wing supporters.

We are not necessarily individually guilty of the crimes or offenses of the writers we admire. On the other hand, some people deserve NOT to be encouraged, and either to be shunned or to be mentioned or quoted only with qualifiers that point out that not everything the writer has said or done is worthy of admiration. Without knowing more about the depth of Palin's admiration for Pegler (and frankly, having heard other things about and from Palin causes me to wonder how much she's even read Pegler or whether some "handler" simply gave her a line to use) I have some trouble tarring her with the "Pegler-spattered brains brush".

On the other hand, running for presidential office is serious business and that warrants one being careful about what one says, especially with everybody hanging on every word, looking for slip-ups (slips-up?). I'm willing, on reflection to revise somewhat my previous comment that this Pegler business qualifies Sarah Palin as an f'ing crazy whacko. I still think she's a whacko though, for other substantive reasons.

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