Okay, so I think I said I wouldn’t say anything more about Sarah Palin. But this is just too provocative:

The abruptness of her announcement and the mystery surrounding her plans have fed widespread speculation. But Palin attorney Thomas Van Flein on Saturday warned legal action may be taken against bloggers and publications that reprint what he calls fraudulent claims.

“To the extent several websites, most notably liberal Alaska blogger Shannyn Moore, are now claiming as ‘fact’ that Governor Palin resigned because she is ‘under federal investigation’ for embezzlement or other criminal wrongdoing, we will be exploring legal options this week to address such defamation,” Van Flein said in a statement. “This is to provide notice to Ms. Moore, and those who re-publish the defamation, such as Huffington Post, MSNBC, the New York Times and The Washington Post, that the Palins will not allow them to propagate defamatory material without answering to this in a court of law.[emphasis mine – kevin]

He also told the Anchorage Daily News that Palin wasn’t in any criminal legal jeopardy.

Hey, dipshit governor, you’re a public official, so we can say whatever we want about you, you goat-blowing megalomaniac, you baby candy stealer, you spokesperson for construction companies who built your home in exchange for political favors, you Satanic messenger of mediocrity and defender of the great intellectual black hole. When you’re not kidnapping children in the middle of the night for your coke-crazed Alaskan separatist army, you should take time to look up First Amendment case law on the subject. Bring your so-called “lawyer” with you.

To be fair, the FBI confirms that they are not investigating Palin right now. But it is not as if ethics investigations were irrelevent to the sudden resignation (Pali acknowledged as much in her incoherent speech), so Moore’s speculation based on rumors, however irresponsible (it wasn’t; she noted that they were rumors), is still reasonable. Van Flein should know better; I suspect he’s attempting a “chilling effect” on criticism, about as effective as fighting a house fire with a blow torch.

No one knows anything, yet that never stops political nerds from talking (hello, I am a case in point), a fact of public life that smarter strategists know how to exploit for advantage. Admittedly, I am tempted to suggest that Palin is knowingly playing coy with her motives, leaving enough information gaps and contradictions to keep observers busy with the filling in and the pretzel-logic untwisting games. The publicity certainly can’t hurt future book sales, nor can the criticism help but drive her deluded sheep into her flock. Yet the incoherence of her speech bespoke someone just not that clever.

Either way, in the presence of an information vacuum, speculation is a valid activity, even if the speculations themselves are seriously off the mark.

Now: back to the War on (t)Error.

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