Sarah Palin has always taken a strong stand against bullying, except, it seems, when it comes to her political opponents. Making fun of Gov. Chris Christie's weight, Palin said, is understandable because his appearance has "been extreme." "It's hard for some people not to comment on it," she continued, somehow speaking despite having her foot in her mouth.
CNN's Jake Tapper was asking Palin about the role of appearance in political campaigns — a valid point on which Palin can share expertise. And at first, Palin responded as you'd expect. For both her and Hillary Clinton, attacks on appearance are par for the course. Palin suggested that it was unavoidable, and the best thing to do is "thicken your skin" and "march forward." Clinton was "mistreated when it came to appearances," she said, which men don't seem to hear about. Tapper pointedly asked about Christie.
"That's because it's been extreme. OK? So it's hard to — it's hard for some people not to comment on it."
In the — cringe-inducing — video, you can see the moment at which Palin realizes she's said something she shouldn't have. It's the part where her shoulders start to shake as she struggles to exit the hole she's dug. (See GIF at left.)
As part of her book tour, Palin's been doing a lot of interviews, weighing in it and other issues of the day. On Monday night, she went to Hannity, where she made clear her feelings about Christie. Politico excerpts:
"I think it was unnecessary to literally be embracing Barack Obama at the time … when it came to that campaign season,” Palin said before once again raising the issue of where candidates stand on the planks of the GOP platform, without directly naming Christie.
"Anyone on the GOP ticket who could support these policies of Barack Obama’s when it comes to granting amnesty to illegal aliens, for instance, or thwarting our Second Amendment rights or growing national debt. Any GOP member who would go that direction instead of standing strong on the planks in our platform, I question their commitment to the free markets and the freedom that has made America such an exceptional nation..."
Palin doesn't like Christie. She doesn't like his candidacy. So, if you happen to notice that he's overweight, so be it.
Hey bully, on behalf of all kids whom you hatefully mock in order to make yourself feel big, I hope one flattens your lily white wimpy a#*.— Sarah Palin (@SarahPalinUSA) June 13, 2013
What makes this moment particularly uncomfortable is that Palin has repeatedly used the accusation of bullying against her opponents. When Bill Maher insulted her son Trig, Palin called him a bully and hoped that he'd get beaten up, as at right. When Kathy Griffin insulted Palin in 2011, the former Alaska governor called Griffin a "50-year-old bully" — an interesting mix of anti-bullying and bullying. Earlier this year, she endorsed a book called Bullies written by Breitbart's Ben Shapiro, about how liberals pick on conservatives.
I’ve witnessed the left’s bullying behavior up close and personal when it’s been directed at those so close to me. And, of course, I’ve seen how nasty it can be for other conservatives as well.
Especially the ones with extreme weight issues.