…Is the problem with Palin that she uses inflammatory language far too loosely given her position of responsibility? Of course, evocation of “enemies, punishing, kicking ass, relegation to backseat, knives, guns, getting angry, getting in their face, hostage takers, trigger fingers, and tearing up” does not suit a national public figure and former vice presidential candidate. Oops, those allusions were Barack Obama’s, not Sarah Palin’s.
Well, then, confess it — Palin has a disturbing tendency to blurt out dumb, even wacky things — a sort of window into her Wasilla vacuity that daily reminds us why she simply is unfit for higher office. Remember when she claimed that the images of Berlin’s Victory Column were photo-shopped phallic symbols? Didn’t she muse about a radio talk show host being blown up “Mr. Big”-style with a CO2 pellet to the head? Sorry again, that was the New York Times’ esteemed columnist Bob Herbert and MSNBC’s Chris Matthews.
Fine, but she thought people in Austria speak some weird language called “Austrian” and she pronounces “corpsmen” “corpse-men” as if soldiers were some sort of walking dead, and she thinks there are 57 states, and she … sorry, all that and much more was Barack Obama’s, and they were slips after a weary day’s work, not “deep” reflections of reality.
OK, I think what many people don’t like about Sarah Palin is her tendency to oh so subtly emphasize race — as in her celebration of a largely white anti-government Alaskan culture. That isolation makes her especially inept anytime she must deal with the multicultural, multiracial reality of the lower 48 states. Do we remember in the campaign when she said of Obama — “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man”? Excuse me, that gem was from Senate veteran, eastern-seaboarder, and now Vice President Joe Biden.
Well, what I meant to quote was Palin’s ridiculous description of Obama as a “light-skinned African American,” one “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.” OK, sorry again, that was the work of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
But maybe the rub is Palin’s complete lack of bipartisanship. Did she not as an Alaskan politician have the most partisan voting record in her various offices, or duck issues by serially voting present? Got me again — that was Barack Obama in the state legislature and as a U.S. senator.
But at least admit her political extremism is deleterious to the commonwealth, especially her tendency to go over the top in demonizing enemies with inappropriate and hurtful language. Don’t we remember how she tarred the incumbent administration with the loony charge of “Nazis” or “digital brownshirts”? I apologize again — that stuff came out of the mouths of former U.S. Senators Robert Byrd, Al Gore, and John Glenn.
Well, then, there’s Todd and his strange Alaskan paranoia and his anti-government excess that almost sounds anti-American. Remember when he not long ago just lost it and shouted out that our America “was downright mean” and that America was always “raising the bar” on the Palins? And remember Todd’s unfortunate boast that his Sarah “is one of the smartest people you will ever encounter who will deign to enter this messy thing called politics.” Then, to top that braggadocio off, ol’ Todd blurted out: “For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country.” Scary, militia stuff no doubt.
Sorry again, that was First Lady Michelle Obama.
We could go on, but you get the uncivil picture. The popular hatred of a self-described elite culture toward Sarah Palin is almost inexplicable — whether expressed in Andrew Sullivan’s unhinged efforts to suggest Palin faked her fifth pregnancy, or David Letterman’s slur that she seemed a “slutty flight attendant” and her 14-year-old daughter “was knocked up by Alex Rodriguez,” or CNN guest host Kathy Griffin’s crudity that her next target was the teenaged Palin daughter: “But I think it’s Willow’s year to go down.”
So why the war against Palin, when Palinisms are not demonstrably different from Bidenisms, Obamaisms, or Goreisms? Uppity-ness I suppose is the short answer. In the binary world of a Sullivan, Letterman, or Griffin, or in the larger culture of network news, NPR, PBS, the New York Times and Washington Post and their columnists, and the weekly newspapers like Time and Newsweek, Sarah Palin is apparently all that they are not.
In such a metro, hip, in-with-it culture, one is supposed to have a thinking-man’s or artiste’s billet of some sort in Washington or New York (that it often comes from nepotism, insider networking, or marriage matters little). Being a mom of five children flies in the face of the demography of yuppie careerism, abortion, and the gay world. Cross-country skiing is OK; snowmobiles polluting the atmosphere and gashing the Earth are not. Credentials matter much: University of Idaho and sports journalism are not polar, but planetary, opposites of Yale and law. Wasilla is to the Upper West Side or Chevy Chase as Uranus is to planet Earth. And how can it be fair that Sarah Palin seems stunning after five children when so many in the DC-NY corridor after millennia on the exercise machine and gallons of Botox are, well, “interesting looking”?
If one is going to drop one’s “g’” and talk to the folks, then do that with Barack Obama’s “Negro dialect” when he “wants to,” not her 24/7 authentic NASCAR/Fargo patois. The former is fake and ephemeral and for liberal purposes and so OK, the latter is real and permanent and often Tea-Partyish — and so scary…
And James Taranto, of the Wall Street Journal Online, diagnoses Palinoia.