Outrage ensued this week after Sarah Palin posted a home photo of her son Trig, a six-year-old with Down Syndrome, using the family dog as a step stool to reach the kitchen sink. The dog seemed unbothered, which placated some people but further outraged others who saw its response as evidence of routine canine abuse. The former vice-presidential candidate and governor of Alaska obviously failed to see the harm. After all, Palin posted the photo herself. (These aren’t hacked photos of secretive animal abuse in the Palin basement.) More than 65,000 of Palin’s Facebook fans agreed that Palin’s message–about Trig’s self-sufficiency and problem solving–was inspirational.
What most people don’t know is that Palin used the same technique to keep an eye on Russia when she was governor. In 2008, pundits were skeptical of candidate Palin’s foreign policy credentials. Palin responded by saying of Russia: “They’re our next door neighbors. And you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska.” The statement brought her wide ridicule–and a stinging Saturday Night Live sendup–at the time. But now in hindsight it’s clear Palin shouldn’t have been mocked. The view is better when you’re standing on the back of a Labrador Retriever.