Salon.com reports that, in a Republican rally on Saturday in Nevada, Sarah Palin continues to make reference to things that, elsewhere, have been debunked as falsehoods:
In her 20-minute stump speech, Palin reprised the greatest hits of her Republican National Convention speech. She presented herself as a reformer, insisting the “good old boy network of lobbyists” had no place in Alaska. She promised to end corruption in Washington, lower taxes and increase domestic drilling, inspiring chants of “drill, baby, drill” from the audience. She delivered her “thanks, but no thanks” riff about the Bridge to Nowhere, and the claim that she’d put Alaska governor’s jet up for sale on eBay. Never mind that these parts of her record have been debunked by news agencies and bloggers, as the Bridge to Nowhere was dead before she killed it, and that luxury jet didn’t actually sell on eBay. Pledging that a McCain-Palin presidency would “shake up Washington” and “end corrupt practices,” she drank in the adulation of her throngs of supporters, a sharp contrast from her discomfort last week fielding Charles Gibson’s questions.
In other words, within the bubble of her party’s base, among the faithful, she feels free to lie, trusting that the facts about her record have not come to their attention—or if they have come to their attention, that her loyalists won’t trust the sources, and so they won’t believe the facts, or will be indifferent about knowing them.
These anti-rational, “alernative reality” habits of mind, and the encouragement of such crass collective chants as “drill, baby, drill” that cynical Republican strategists are cultivating (and exploiting) in people, could easily mutate, over the next generation, into an American form of populist authoritarianism, akin to Putin’s Russia.
Or maybe it already has.