politics & history 13 Social Studies Facts Sarah Palin Got Wrong  

Kel Varnsen
258.5k views 13 items Embed
Infamous for her verbal slips and gaffes, Sarah Palin - author, pundit, governor, candidate, grizzled mother or what have you - has often been in trouble with the press for massaging the truth. Of course, there are the outright accusations that Palin lies, including Andrew Sullivan's ongoing, dogged and not-uncreepy investigation into her claims to be Trig Palin's mother. Those are interesting, sure, but they get all the press.

Far more intriguing are just the Sarah Palin goofs and mistakes. The small things that most Americans really should know that she seems to consistently get wrong. It's like she skipped out on all her social studies classes at Wasilla High. Possibly to knock back PBRs with Todd and talk about which girls are putting out. We can't be sure about all Sarah Palin bloopers and blunders, but hopefully they all didn't make it to wikipedia (for her sake).

What are the biggest Sarah Palin mistakes ever? What follows is an incomplete but hopefully still compelling account of Sarah Palin's errors when it comes to history, geography and government. And probably grammar.
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The White House Has a Department of Law

The White House Has a Departme... is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list 13 Social Studies Facts Sarah Palin Got Wrong
Photo: via Wikimedia

In 2009, Palin resigned from her position as Governor of Alaska amidst a variety of scandals and ethical complaints. She claimed to be acting in the best interests of her State, allowing the public's business to continue without the distraction of all this controversy.

This, of course, raised the question of what she would do as President, should a similar situation arise. (A President Palin certainly wouldn't be the first sitting Commander-in-Chief to face an ethics investigation.) When the question came up on "Good Morning America," Palin told ABC News' Kate Snow:

"I think on a national level your department of law there in the White House would look at some of the things that we've been charged with and automatically throw them out."

Say it with me now...There is no such thing as the White House Department of Law. You'd have the same amount of success forwarding the complaints to the Ministry of Silly Walks.

The First Amendment Defends Against Media Attacks

The First Amendment Defends Ag... is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list 13 Social Studies Facts Sarah Palin Got Wrong
Photo: via Wikimedia

During the 2008 campaign season, Palin did an interview on conservative talk radio station WMAL. At the time, Palin had been criticizing presidential candidate Barack Obama for associating with radicals like the Reverend Jeremiah Wright and former Weatherman Bill Ayers. Specifically, she said the following:

"If [the media] convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning, for me to call Barack Obama out on his associations then I don't know what the f*ture of our country would be in terms of First Amendment rights and our ability to ask questions without fear of attacks by the mainstream media."

It's a bit complicated. Let's unpack. Basically, the media is trying to convince everyone that Sarah Palin is running a negative campaign, for the sole reason that she is running a political campaign, and is being relentlessly negative. (Unfair!) But the media's portrayal of her campaign is not just unfair...it is making her afraid to speak her mind, such that it is equal to a violation of her Constitutional right to free speech.

But the First Amendment doesn't protect Americans from being criticized for speaking. (And thank goodness, as that would make "The Daily Show" far less entertaining.) All it does is say that the US government can't make certain kinds of speech illegal. (Obviously, there are limits to even this principle, such as the famous "yelling fire in a crowded theater" example, but for our purposes, this is how it works.) And since no one is threatening to make it illegal to imply that Obama consorts with terrorists from the '60s, there is no immediate threat to Sarah Palin's First Amendment rights.

New Hampshire is in the Northwest

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Is it unfair to include this error, which could easily be just a slip of the tongue rather than a pernicious misstatement or a falsehood borne of ignorance? Probably. But it's a geography fact, and Sarah Palin got it wrong publicly. Plus I like 13 list items more than 12. So it stays!

During a 2008 campaign stop in Laconia, New Hampshire, Palin elicited some boos and jeers from the crowd when she referred to the Granite State as part of America's "Great Northwest."

No, wait, check that...reverse it...

Afghanistan and the US are Neighbors

Afghanistan and the US are Nei... is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list 13 Social Studies Facts Sarah Palin Got Wrong
Photo: via Imgur

This one is just flat-out puzzling. At a fundraiser in San Francisco in October of 2008, Palin paused to praise and honor the US troops currently deployed in Afghanistan. She said:

"They are also building schools for the Afghan children so that there is hope and opportunity in our neighboring country of Afghanistan."

As she was presently in San Francisco, as opposed to, say, Islamabad, one can be forgiven for assuming she was referring to the United States. Which clearly does not border Afghanistan, unless Mexico and Afghanistan decided to quietly switch places and not tell anyone. (Be honest...this is not a bad screenplay idea...)