Now I want to say up front that I’m not a big fan of Sarah Palin. I would not vote for her for President. Although, maybe in a de facto way I sort of did when I voted for McCain. Had he been elected I would have prayed mightily for his good health and safety. However, I’m glad Sarah is part of the American political scene. She certainly is a colorful character and what I find absolutely fascinating about her is the degree to which she drives the libs nuts. And not just a little nuts but big over the top bonkers nuts. The reaction she provokes says something very significant about her critics.
The blood had not yet dried at the Tucson massacre scene two weeks ago when N.Y. Times pundit Paul Krugman was trying to cast some responsibility for a lunatic act to her, Fox News and the Tea Party movement. In addition to writing a newspaper column Krugman teaches at Princeton and has won a Nobel Prize in Economics. Obviously, circumspection and logic are not qualities needed to succeed in Ivy League academia or impress the Nobel committee.
Krugman’s pronouncement was just the first and most egregious about the Tucson slaughter. A firestorm from the very biased leftwing media followed in the ensuing week. However, as the days passed, and as it became increasingly clear that this act was perpetrated by a lone lunatic, who if he had any political leanings at all were likely leftward, the rhetoric shifted from casting outright blame to implicating our divisive political climate on the inflammatory language of conservative talk radio.
I have read around a dozen liberal op-ed pieces and blogs on RSN and have heard a few pundits opine on the news channels. Pretty much all of them at some point or another bring up Sarah. Their favorite example is some political map with crosshairs focused on districts that the Tea Partiers wanted to take back from the Dems. One of those districts happened to be Gabby Giffords’ in Arizona. That connection is so unbelievably lame that one would think that those making it would in retrospect be embarrassed–but I suspect not. The “Sarah Effect” is so powerful it apparently turns “brilliant” people into blithering morons.
So just what is it about Sarah that makes some people lose decorum and common sense? One TV talking head said that it was because she doesn’t back down. She’s a fighter. She doesn’t apologize, she hits back. I think her critics would like to think she’s too dumb to know when she’s been put down. After all, she’s just a moderately educated housewife and mother. The fact that she’s rather hot-looking is part of it–she could be more easily forgiven if she looked like Hillary or maybe Madeline Albright. Anyway, she should know her place and defer to the big boys. Sexism and elite-ism are likely part of the equation. There’s also the wimp factor. Quiche eating males don’t generally like tough babes.
Sure she’s said some dumb things. But so has Obama. The liberal media gave him a pass when he kept mispronouncing the Marine Corpse and the Peace Corpse and when he mentioned that this uncle had helped liberate Auschwitz. Well, I suppose his uncle could have been in the Russian Army. So the media gives Obama some grace but not Sarah. She probably made a mistake in having her family be the subject of a “reality” show based on Alaska. even the previews looked tacky–but that’s another topic.
I think one thing Sarah does is uncover thoughts and feelings from the unconscious that people are uncomfortable with in themselves. Generally speaking people react most strongly to qualities in others that they loathe in themselves. Or as Shakespeare said about Sarah’s critics “methinks they doth protesteth too much.”
Sarah is so middle-American. She reminds me of people in the small town in which I grew up. She could have lived just down the street; her voice has that sort of twang. She went to several small colleges including a community college. She espouses a naive sort of patriotism that likely reminds her overly educated detractors of a time in their lives when they were still true believers–before they had the sophistication of an Ivy League education. And just maybe some of her critics don’t like being reminded of their roots–roots in a country that was unapologetically pro-American; a country that believed in mom, apple pie and the 4th of July, where the good guys always won and a Downs syndrome baby was not a choice but a blessing.
It is truly irritating to be reminded of hope in this the most cynical of eras.