Palin and the Pledge

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As other bloggers have noted, Sarah Palin seems not to be a keen student of American history, as evidenced by this answer in a questionaire during her 2006 race for governor in Alaska:

11. Are you offended by the phrase “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance? Why or why not?

Palin: Not on your life. If it was good enough for the founding fathers, its good enough for me and I’ll fight in defense of our Pledge of Allegiance.

You have to admire the gusto with which Palin aligned herself with the Founding Fathers in spirited defense of the Pledge and the “under God” phrase, despite the fact that both were written long after the founders (and the framers, for that matter) were dead and buried. My guess is she was conflating one conservative conviction, adherence to “original intent” when interpreting the Constitution, with another, the belief that the separation of church and state has gone too far. If so, her confusion is not limited to the history of the Pledge.

In all fairness, it’s important to remember that such questionaires are sometimes “answered” by campaign aides, not the candidates themselves. But Palin’s answers seem to have the voice of the candidate; they’re much more colorful than those of her opponents. Either way, the result suggests that campaigning in Alaska is not exactly trial-by-fire preparation for the Big Show.

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