Yet another ethics complaint against Sarah Palin has been dismissed. The particular complaint filed by Anchorage resident Andree McLeod* alleged that Palin’s acceptance of her governor’s salary while running as McCain’s VP candidate was illegal. McLeod’s sixth (and final) complaint was filed a week before Palin’s resignation and charged the governor with failure to disclose gifts in a timely manner. Palin cited the strain and cost of fighting these ethics complaints as some of the reasons behind her resignation.
The ethics charges against Palin displays the power of lawfare. The term was first used in the book Unrestricted Warfare published in 1999 by two colonels in the Chinese People’s Liberation Army. It’s essence is defined by Charles J. Dunlap Jr as “the use of law as a weapon of war.” One of the key guerrila tactics from Sun Tsu through Lenin, Mao and most recently al-Qaeda is to use one’s enemy’s own resources against them. When Khalid Sheik Mohammed was captured, one of the first things he did under questioning was laugh and demand to speak to his lawyer. Luckily for hundreds of Americans, Mohammed was waterboarded instead and divulged plans for a large scale terrorist attack.
al-Qaeda continues to train its operatives in the usage of lawfare. Jihadists are taught to demand legal representation or protection by the Geneva Convention, even though as enemy combatants who do not wear uniforms to blend in with non-combatants they are accorded no legal rights nor protection under the Geneva Convention. Jihadists in Europe and Canada have learned to use hate-speech laws to silence their critics while continuing to work to overthrow the societies protecting them. These actions only make sense when the law is viewed as yet another weapon at the terror group’s disposal, no different than a bomb, a gun or a fully loaded jet liner.
While the war between Democrats and Republicans is of an entirely different nature than between Western Civilization and the Islamofascists, lawfare is still a powerful weapon. The smearing of Sarah Palin stands as one of the lowest concerted political efforts since the Right attacked Hillary Clinton in the Bill Clinton administration. The Right’s smear campaign against Hillary Clinton eventually backfired by strengthening her position in her party. Palin may benefit similarly although it’s too early to predict.
Sarah Palin offended Leftists by refusing to fit the stereotypes imposed on conservatives and the Republican Party. These stereotypes define the GOP as being composed of white men, either wealthy – as in the case of the pro-business wing of the party – or uneducated, the so-called ”NASCAR crowd”. In their view women can only achieve power through membership to the Democratic Party and support liberal causes – and must do so by sacrificing her family. In order to support this view, the Left built a straw man (or rather, a straw woman effigy) out of Palin, where her looks and intelligence are regularly questioned in a way that had the target been female Democrat cries of sexism would be raised from all liberal quarters.
Regardless, the tactics used by the Left abetted by “Republican” (as late as 2002 McCleod listed herself as “non-partisan“) Andree McCleod worked. Palin is out of office – at least temporarily, and her martyrdom at the hands of the leftist press stands as an example of what can befall other women who refuse to pursue power as anything but liberal Democrats.
On July 22, 2009 Navy Cmdr. Jeffrey D. Gordon sent a 3 page letter to Miami Herald Executive Editor Anders Gyllenhaal accusing Herald reporter Carol Rosenberg of sexual harrassment for making “’abusive and degrading comments of an explicitly sexual nature’ against Gordon and others at Guantanamo Bay and Andrews Air Force Base.” Although the complaint was not submitted to federal authorities, it does show liberals that the laws that they have created can be used against them.
Conservatives have an ideological problem with lawfare: it requires bad laws decided by activist judges. They may shun it because they tend to be on the receiving end of it more often than not.
Are Conservatives willing to do what it takes to win? Are their ideals worth fighting for? If the answer is “yes” to both questions, then Conservatives need to overcome their distaste for lawfare and begin to use it. Ethics complaints should be lodged against key Democrats in states that have similar laws to Alaska. Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Henry Waxman should all be “Palined” (“imPalined”?) as should be key members of the Obama administration like Rahm Emmanuel. Any Democrat that sings with the Obama/Pelosi chorus and represents a state with similar ethics laws as Alaska should be targeted for a complaint pasted together like an ad-lib from an Andree McLeod complaint against Sarah Palin.
Lawfare is an ugly weapon but politics is a dirty business. Conservatives must use every weapon at their disposal if they truly desire to save America by retaking Congress and eventually the White House.
——* For a detailed history on McLeod’s obsession with Palin, see this piece by AlaskaPride.