As the right-wing hysteria over the proposed Islamic center in New York gathered strength, conservative maven Sarah Palin lent her own Shakespearean creativity to the effort last month by asking the Park51 developers to “refudiate” their plans, citing the “catastrophic pain” caused by the 9/11 attacks as “too raw, too real” for an Islamic center. On Fox’s On the Record Monday, Palin reprised that sentiment in admonishing President Obama for his stance, saying the center “is an insensitive move” that “feels like a stab in the heart to, collectively, Americans who still have that lingering pain from 9/11.”
In echoing the right-wing talking point, Palin insists that sensitivity should supersede the freedoms established by the 1st Amendment. It is curious, then, that Palin should completely forget that principle when defending Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s racist rant on the N-word directed at a black woman caller last week. Taking again to her Twitter followers, Palin blamed “Constitutional obstructionists” for unfairly silencing Dr. Laura, thus removing her 1st Amendment rights. She told Dr. Laura, “don’t retreat…reload!”:
As the American Prospect’s Jamelle Bouie points out, Dr. Laura’s entire tirade this week “drip[ped] with racial animus.” Not only does Dr. Laura use the N-Word 11 times in five minutes to dismiss a caller’s concerns about the word, she uses a racist joke to prove she’s not racist, resents that only “black guys” can use the N-Word, and admonishes her caller for being “hypersensitive about color” and lacking “a sense of humor.” As Bouie says, “Dr. Laura isn’t known for her sensitivity, but this is an impressive display of raw racial resentment.”
So, in asking Dr. Laura to “reload” on such vitriol, Palin is “refudiating” the social sensitivity banner she continues to wave at Ground Zero Islamic center supporters.
Salon’s Joan Walsh recalls that Dr. Laura, in reaction to Palin’s Vice-Presidential nomination in 2008, was “stunned” and “extremely disappointed” by the pick. “But really, what kind of role model is a woman whose fifth child was recently born with a serious issue, Down Syndrome, and then goes back to the job of Governor within days of the birth,” said Dr. Laura. “I am haunted by the family pictures of the Palins during political photo-ops, showing the eldest daughter, now pregnant with her own child, cuddling the family’s newborn.”