If you were watching MSNBC moments ago, you may have noticed some Olympic-class logical contortions performed by Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s spokeswoman, Meg Stapleton.
Norah O’Donnell asked Stapleton to explain why, when Palin was asked to name a Supreme Court decision she disagrees with, she didn’t simply point to the Exxon Shipping Co. vs. Baker (PDF) ruling.
That decision was handed down just three months ago, directly affected her state and, most important, she said she disagreed with it at the time! The ruling greatly reduced the punitive award Alaska will receive from Exxon for the oil company’s negligence in the 1989 Valdez oil spill.
From The Juneau Empire, the day after the ruling:
“I am extremely disappointed with today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court,” Palin said. “While the decision brings some degree of closure to Alaskans suffering from 19 years of litigation and delay, the court gutted the jury’s decision on punitive damages.”
Palin added, “It is tragic that so many Alaska fishermen and their families have had their lives put on hold waiting for this decision. My heart goes out to those affected, especially the families of the thousands of Alaskans who passed away while waiting for justice.”
Palin said the decision today undercut one of the principal legs of deterrence for those engaged in maritime shipping in Alaska waters. She called on state and federal agencies to be vigilant and firm in regulating such activities.
Anyway, that’s the background. Here’s what Stapleton just said:
“I think what she’s doing is she leaps ahead and anticipates the next question. In this case, I think, obviously she’s very well familiar with Exxon Valdez. Not only that, it impacts her family. It impacts every single Alaskan, and so she is very familiar with it. I think she just starts getting to, ‘OK, so I bring up Exxon. What’s next?’ And she starts then getting into this battle in the weeds. So, I think, she is working her hardest to answer the questions, at the same time that she’s also jumping ahead and jumping to the next question, before she’s answering the first.”
In case you missed that, Stapleton said that Palin is so astute — she knew this case so well — that she had already moved on to the next question in her head.
OK, fair enough. Let’s just have another look at that video and see if it looks like Palin had already moved on in her mind.
Hmmmm…Yeah, I’m probably going to have to go ahead and disagree with you there, Meg.
But I will give you an ‘A’ for creativity.