Monday, July 6, 2009

More on the 'Mystery of Sarah Palin'

The New York Times reports, "Legal Bills Swayed Palin, Official Says" (via Memeorandum).

That makes sense. There is no comparable episode of political demonization in recent American history.

Recall yesterday, Violet at The Reclusive Left went a long way toward capturing the left's partisan hatred of Sarah Palin (see, "
Feminists and the Mystery of Sarah Palin"). Her case was objectively clear. But that didn't stop Barbara O'Brien from attempting a decidedly whacked Buddhist pop-psychology denial of Palin derangement syndrome, "Projections, Hallucinations, and Sarah Palin":

Many on the Right took offense at the assumption that she left the governorship because she was about to be hit with criminal charges. Frankly, that assumption gave her credit. It ascribed a solid, grown-up (if not pretty) reason for bailing out on the governorship. If she is not leaving for any reason other than what she gave in her speech — good luck finding a reason in that incoherent mess of a speech — then she’s a ditz. With sprinkles, whipped cream and a cherry on top.

Whether she’s “dumb” I cannot say. She probably does have considerable native intelligence or she wouldn’t have gotten as far as she got. However, she shares with our recent president George W. Bush a pathological incuriousity about the world. During the 2008 presidential campaign she revealed more than once that her knowledge of how the federal government works, including
what a vice president does, barely rose to the level of “superficial” ....

As for the real Sarah Palin, she may be neither stupid nor corrupt. My suspicions are that the adulation of the extremist Right has unhinged her, and brought out the worst in her, and had she not come to the nation’s attention she would simply have been a reasonably average governor of Alaska. If I’m right, the best thing she could do for herself is to drop out of public life and try to remember who she is.
There's really not much new in that, but interesting to see the comparison to G.W. Bush. Charles Krauthammer might have some real psychiatric insight in to that.

But we do see a bit of a novel attack on Sarah Palin in
Freddie deBoer's pleading economic resentment this morning. Freddie is responding to Ross Douthat's argument that "Sarah Palin represents the democratic ideal — that anyone can grow up to be a great success story without graduating from Columbia and Harvard." Freddie screams in exasperation, "are you kidding me?":

So why does Ross say it? I imagine it has to do with this strange notion that we have floating in our national consciousness, that there are cultural cues which can somehow trump the financial realities of class. Yes, there are codes that we use to vaguely stratify people that aren’t based entirely on net worth or income. But they only work alongside good old fashioned monetary elitism. Ask anyone from a fallen house of aristocracy or some previously wealthy entrepreneur laid low. The right clothes, an accent and swagger can’t actually make up for not having the coin. It’s a consistent failure of American insight, or an artifact of the hyperactive American imagination, that we suppose that values can outmuscle value. In the actual day to day work of their lives, in what they actually do and the problems they experience and what they do and don’t have to worry about, I’d wager the Palins have much more to do with some affluent liberal black family from Bedford Stuyvesent than they do an impoverished white conservative Appalachian family. Not being able to afford medicine when the baby is sick can’t be duplicated with cultural cues. Being short when property taxes come due can’t be shared due to overlapping ideology. Having to choose between the phone bill and the food bill is the kind of shared experience that creates a fraternity religious affinity can’t begin to approach. We like to pretend that it’s not true, but in this country the bottom line is the bottom line.
Actually, I really do think Ross Douthat's making primarily a cultural argument.

I mean, who can forget how many times Sarah Palin was excoriated for her working-class eduational credentials? For example, "
Sarah Palin Revels in Being Unqualified," and "Sarah Palin’s College Daze." But see also, a little more broadly, "The Scariest Thing About Sarah Palin Isn't How Unqualified She Is - It's What Her Candidacy Says About America."

But, natually, Freddie deBoer represents the best in hard-left economic class warfare. Recall
his comments after last month's Ricci decision on affirmative action:

I am afraid for my country. This country has a permanent black underclass; Hispanic economic mobility is not much better. Decades of affirmative action have done little to fix that. Now, we appear ready to abandon those attempts to level the playing field entirely. Of course, principles and ideals are important. But my question is open, and I apply it to the most thoughtful opponents of affirmative action and the most rabid and unthinking alike: what are the effects, for our country, of a permanent racial achievement divide? And can we reasonably expect to maintain a peaceful and just society with such a gap between the races?
It's hard to respond to that kind of utter wailing (seen in both of Freddie's essays, actually). His writing is a good indication of how enraged leftists become at a traditional woman like Sarah Palin. That resentment stems from a hatred of the rugged individualism and self-sufficiency she represents, and how she reflects the best in American conservatism.


Reaganite Republican said...

What I'm thinking is that Palin’s move puts yet more pressure on Obama to finally get some results, as the soaring rhetoric isn’t hypnotizing the plebes like it used to.

Last week Helen Thomas, Colin Powell, and Warren Buffet all turned on him. Polls are looking droopy for The One lately.

And Obama’s porkulus program is a train wreck, all it’s done is bump interest rates and tank the dollar. We are being laughed at by bad guys like Tehran, Pyongyang, and Al Qaida who amazingly turned-down Barack’s friend-requests.

Palin could trounce him in 2012, when Americans would vote for the Gipper-in-Heels in droves- while begging for lower taxes, free enterpise, a defense posture with some backbone… an end to the radical, anti-American nightmare we’ve got now.

Go get ‘em Sarah-