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McCain’s German Spokesman: “It’s Also Certain That Mrs. Palin Has Summoned The Demons”

On Monday, Jane said that Sarah Palin’s career may be over now because of her inflammatory rhetoric’s being linked to Jared Loughner’s assassination attempt on Gabrielle Giffords — an attempt that severely injured her and left six others dead. A recent German radio interview with Stefan Prystawik, the German press liaison for John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, would likely be yet another nail in Palin’s political coffin, should it be translated into English for mass-media consumption.

That’s what I’m about to attempt, with my high-school German and a few online translation aids. (If any readers speak or understand German, feel free to pick over this in the comments.)

Right from the get-go, the interview’s title lets you know the score: “Es ist also sicherlich so, dass Frau Palin da Geister gerufen hat”. I interpret that to mean: “It’s also certain that Mrs. Palin has summoned the demons”, or evil spirits. The subhead translates as: “While publicist Stefan M. Prystawik believes the assassination attempt on Jewish US Politician Gabrielle Giffords was an isolated event, he sees its root cause in the nation’s right-wing political trends – and American political icon Sarah Palin.”

Prystawik’s interviewer, Friedbert Meurer, starts by asking him: “Can one dismiss this act that happened in Tucson as that of a deranged man, or was it a political assassination attempt?” Prystawik’s response: “Well no, not totally. It’s already apparent that the main cause lies with the extremism and psychic (he probably meant “psychological”) instability of the perpetrator, but on the other hand it is certainly already known that the environment for such actions was first — I will not say that the environment made it possible, but at minimum it certainly diverts the thought currents of extremists towards such deeds.” Upon prodding by Meurer, Prystawik mentions “der rechte Rand” — the right edge, fringe, or wing — as being behind this environment, or “Umfeld”. . . .

Meurer then brings up Sharron Angle and her notorious call for armed insurrection against Washington, and asks how it can be possible for her to say this; Prystawik replies that the First Amendment protects such speech, but also states that there are limits to this protection. He also mentions that while it’s certain that Loughner acted alone, and that he wasn’t an official member of any anti-Semitic, white-supremist or other similarly wacko group, “Yet that (sort of motivation) is what likely drove the perpetrator, it was what he felt called upon to do.”

Meurer, after mentioning that the anti-Semitism accusation came up because Giffords is Jewish, then brought up the subject of Sarah Palin: “Two things about her. On her Facebook page she has Mrs. Giffords’ congressional district marked with crosshairs and perhaps one still has in one’s ear how endlessly often she in the campaign for November’s election declaimed ‘Don’t retreat, reload!’ What sorts of effect could such phrases have?”

Prystawik responds: “Yes, (they could have) naturally deadly effects, especially on those persons who don’t see them in their metaphorical sense, but as calls for direct action. In hindsight this of course is just horrible…. It’s just that here this call to (incitement to?) violence — specifically her marking of the congressional districts with crosshairs — one certainly mustn’t overinterpret (read too much into it), that’s commonly done when something becomes spotlighted like this. One can question the taste of it. In short: It’s also certain that Mrs. Palin has summoned (or wakened) the demons, that one possibly can no longer banish (“rid one’s self of” is the literal translation) from the place. That’s for certain.*

Essentially, she’s let the genies of violence and hatred out of the bottle, and they’re probably not going back into it.

Meurer then asks Prystawik about McCain’s choice of Palin, a choice made to please the right wing (“den ‘rechten Rand'”) as McCain was known as being a moderate Republican up to that point, and if their relationship was a good one. Prystawik replies that it was a good relationship, and that it was part of McCain’s trying to bring the far right and more moderate Republicans and conservatives together, with the idea of hopefully controlling the right-wingers sufficiently to prevent what just happened (namely, the assassination attempt on Gabrielle Giffords). Meurer then asks if we can then see McCain’s effort in this regard as a failure (in other words, because it didn’t prevent the shootings); Prystawik, perhaps realizing the implications of what he’d just said, moves in my view to deflect the question by responding that it was a failure because McCain didn’t win the 2008 election.

They then close out the interview by discussing Sheriff Dupnik’s comments about Arizona having become a mecca of prejudice and bigotry, and whether Arizona differs from the rest of the US and in what ways.

To sum up: Palin let the genies of hatred out of the bottle, and they’re probably not going back into it.

*[UPDATE: Hektor points out that “an der Stelle” is most likely dative, so that it means “to the place” — in other words, she’s summoned the genies and they probably can’t be put back into their rightful place, which fits with the Sorcerer’s Apprentice theme of the apprentice not being able to control, much less banish, the entities he’s summoned.]

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