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Palin should cut the hypocrisy

By Roland Martin, CNN Political Analyst
  • Roland Martin: Sarah Palin's falsity shown by her different reactions to use of "retard"
  • Martin: President Obama's chief of staff uses word, and Palin demands his resignation
  • Rush Limbaugh calls liberals "retards," and Palin defends him, Martin writes
  • Martin: She slams teleprompters but uses crib notes; she hates media but works for Fox

Editor's note: Roland S. Martin, a CNN political analyst, is a nationally syndicated columnist and author of "Listening to the Spirit Within: 50 Perspectives on Faith," and the forthcoming book "The First: President Barack Obama's Road to the White House." He is a commentator for TV One Cable Network and host of a one-hour Sunday morning news show.

(CNN) -- Sarah Palin's most ardent supporters in "real America" love to suggest that those of us who don't buy into her shtick fail to grasp why they love her, citing her realness, plain-spokenness and whatever else they can conjure up.

Folks, nice try, but as a native Texan, I've seen many politicians and wannabes over the years who had charm, wit, charisma and a twinkle in their eye.

Anyone who has listened to the best football coaches the Lone Star State has to offer will tell you that they can persuade a mother and father to send their boy to hell to fetch a glass of ice water and bring him home a better man. They could teach a politician or two how to connect with average Americans.

You want a media darling politician with substance? Try the late Gov. Ann Richards, a woman who could cut you deep and beam ear-to-ear with her motherly smile. But unlike Palin, she had a host of strong ideas in her head that actually made sense and appealed to a cross-section of folks.

So [Rahm] Emanuel and [Rush] Limbaugh used the word 'retard'... but only Rahm was wrong?
--Roland Martin, CNN political analyst

Former Rep. Charlie Wilson, who died this week, was a smooth-talking Texan who loved to party hard. But when it came to politics, he knew how to get things done. The media loved him because he could sit with you and enjoy a beer over barbecue, give them a hilarious quote or two, and explain foreign policy better than Henry Kissinger.

Why haven't I cottoned to Palin? Because she portrays herself as a straight-talking politician who wants to lead a movement in the "Lower 48th" -- but is nothing more than a political celebrity willing to cash every check she can grab.

What truly exposed her for me? It was the ridiculous way she reacted in opposing ways last week to two political heavyweights who used the word "retard."

When it was reported that President Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, told a group of liberals that they were "f-----g retards" for threatening to run ads against fellow Democrats who weren't jumping on the health care reform bandwagon, Palin demanded his resignation.

As the mother of a child with Down syndrome, Palin has often used her bully pulpit to demand respect for the mentally challenged. Nothing wrong with that. It is an issue that is close to her heart, and she should be a fierce advocate for them.

Yet when one of her biggest supporters, conservative radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh, also castigated liberals by calling them "retards," Palin provided him cover, even trying to explain away his comments.

In an interview with Fox News Channel's Chris Wallace, she said Limbaugh was using satire, while Emanuel was blasting those who disagree with him. But anyone who can read or listen could hear Limbaugh calling folks he disagrees with the same. Palin even went further, agreeing with Limbaugh that liberals are "kooks."

So Emanuel and Limbaugh used the word "retard" to describe folks they disagree with, but only Rahm was wrong? Yep, that's how it is in Palin's world. The advocate for the mentally challenged was quick to pounce on someone she disagrees with politically but defended her patron saint, Rush.

Sarah, when you hold yourself up as a fierce protector of the mentally challenged, politics shouldn't enter into the equation. Either you criticize everyone who uses a word that you consider a slur, or you come across as a crass politician who is afraid to offend your chief booster.

Maybe you ought to listen to your spokeswoman, Meghan Stapleton, who thought you cared about the mentally challenged when she sent this e-mail to about Limbaugh's comment: "Gov. Palin believes crude and demeaning name-calling at the expense of others is disrespectful."

But knowing that wouldn't sit well with Rush, you backed off and gave him cover.

If you were true to your cause, you would have demanded an on-air apology from Limbaugh and scolded him for using the word. Instead, you showed your true colors.

Sarah, I haven't bought into your fake "I'm-a-real-American" persona. You slam the president for using teleprompters, but write crib notes on your hand to remember basic beliefs that should be easy to regurgitate.

You decry the "lamestream" media, but you bask in its glory and have joined its payroll as a Fox News contributor, even having the network build a studio in your home. Talk about media elite.

You give a speech riddled with falsehoods about the president and national security, and then try to shrug them off as the "lamestream" media attacking you.

You don't fool me, even as your legion of fans considers you the second coming of President Reagan. You quit on the people who elected you to become a political celebrity, which your presidential running mate blasted then-Sen. Barack Obama for doing.

You had the opportunity to show everyone that you're willing to take on anyone who crosses the line against those who are mentally challenged, and you failed.

Please, make as much money as you can. Paraphrasing comedian Martin Lawrence, ride this train until the wheels fall off. But please, cut the crap. You're a crass politician with no true conviction. Your actions have shown that.

The opinions in this commentary are solely those of Roland Martin.