Tuesday, July 07, 2009

A stake through the heart

Yesterday's post on Sarah Palin sort of proved its own point. The idea was not that Sarah Palin will - or even should - become the GOP Presidential candidate, but that she represented something that conservatives want and liberals fear. Call it the Great Female Hope - a woman who would embody the values espoused by social conservatives with the chops to play at the national level.

Palin didn't have the chops - at least not in 2008 - although she was hardly the moron she was portrayed to be. She did poorly in interviews with Charles Gibson and Katie Couric. She delivered a killer convention speech and bested Joe Biden (who has said at least three stupid things for every one from her)in their debate. She was insufficiently informed and did not have a clear economic message. She often drowned questions in evasions (as does Obama and most other politicians) but wasn't as good at making it sound like she had really said something. Whether or not she could change that for a run in 2012 or 2016 is unclear.

But quite apart from the merits of Palin, the vitriol heaped upon her was extraordinary. David Kahane, in a piece today on National Review, put it this way:

And so the word went out, from that time and place: Eviscerate Sarah Palin like one of her field-dressed moose. Turn her life upside down. Attack her politics, her background, her educational history. Attack her family. Make fun of her husband, her children. Unleash the noted gynecologist Andrew Sullivan to prove that Palin’s fifth child was really her grandchild. Hit her with everything we have: Maureen Dowd of the New York Times, taking a beer-run break from her quixotic search for Mr. Right to drip venom on Sister Sarah; post-funny comic David Letterman, to joke about her and her daughters on national television; Katie Couric, the anchor nobody watches, to give this Alaskan interloper a taste of life in the big leagues; former New York Times hack Todd “Mr. Dee Dee Myers” Purdum, to act as an instrument of Graydon Carter’s wrath at Vanity Fair. Heck, we even burned her church down. Even after the teleological triumph of The One, the assault had to continue, each blow delivered with our Lefty SneerTM (viz.: Donny Deutsch yesterday on Morning Joe), until Sarah was finished.

My point was not about Sarah Palin as much as it was about the reaction to her and what it tells us. Much the same lesson can be learned from the unreasoned hatred of Clarence Thomas and the smear job on Miguel Estrada. Let's design a different Sarah - same women, same history but a degree from Harvard and better prepared for a national run. Such a woman would threaten to be, like Obama, the much-vaunted "transitional figure" (which really means nothing more than she'd tilt the electoral calculus).

As I said, Sarah Palin was not that woman in 2008. As I said, she may never be. But the comments largely consisted of more Sarah bashing. Part of that is joy through snarkery but part of it reflects the notion that, if she's down, she must stay down.


Anonymous said...

To make comparables of Sarah Palin and Miguel Estrada is astonishing. Miguel Estrada is a distinguished appellate lawyer, and, like Rick, a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School -- an honor he achieved from a very humble start as a poor immigrant from Honduras. The partisan machinations that led to his not being confirmed as a court of appeals judge were inexcusable. Sarah Palin, on the other hand, has been shown to be an idiot by her own words and actions. Estrada was treated very unfairly. Palin got what she deserved, in spades.

Anonymous said...

She's a quitter when things get tough. She's a whiner when things get tough. She is thin-skinned and has an ego the size of Alaska. She twists facts to suit her own purpose. As Anon 8:05 says, she got what she deserved.

illusory tenant said...

"Unleash the noted gynecologist Andrew Sullivan ..."

Sullivan's fascination with Palin's pregnancy arguably bordered on the obsessive. But he also documented a whole (continuing) series of Palin's bald lies, which occupy an entirely separate category from, for example, Biden's "stupid things."

In any event, Sullivan's larger point, which is entirely legitimate and less than gynecological, was McCain's cynical recklessness in choosing Palin as his running mate.

But leave it to the NRO to obsess instead on Sullivan's obsessions.

krshorewood said...

You put someone out there so patently deficient you really invite bashing don't you?

To let this thing (the issue of her competence) just lay there would be to endorse it.

Again Rick, you are a smart guy. To persist in the notion that somehow she is due respect -- as a politician -- belies your intellect.

Her whole career has been one cheap dare to the opposition to say something, and then get chastised by her supporter for that something being said.

Anonymous said...

Give it up Rick. The liberals here won't and don't want to get the point of your posts (except for IT who tried). It is the same thing we saw with W; their hatred runs too deep.

illusory tenant said...

Thanks, Anon. But I get the professor's point. It's that "liberals fear Sarah Palin," or else "liberals fear what Sarah Palin might have become" (whatever as-yet-unexplained thing that would be, and whoever those "liberals" are).

For evidence of the said fear he's provided the results of investigative techniques akin to necromancy or dowsing and more recently a handful of anonymous comments to his post yesterday, which this morning he's claiming "prove his point."

But if he insists on believing liberals are motivated purely by hatred and terror, then so be it, because the main objects here are a contribution to the legend of Palin's martyrdom and the studious avoidance of her general competency.

gnarlytrombone said...

The liberals here won't and don't want to get the point

I take offense, sirrah.

I'm a big fan of counterfactual conditionals, given my long campaign to convince my wife that I'm the fittest man in North America but for all the Big Macs.

Anonymous said...

You are OK gnarly. Have you tried any of their angus burgers? I can't wait. Angus...mmmmmm.

Anonymous said...

It is unbelievable the complete lack of knowledge Palin has--anyone want to attempt where she got the "Department of Law" that protects POTUS?

illusory tenant said...

"To make comparable Sarah Palin and Miguel Estrada is astonishing."

But that was Patrick McIlheran's favorite part! These threads are a hoot. Keep 'em comin'.

3rd Way said...

In one respect your defense of Palin is exactly what is going to keep this “great female hope” from stepping up. Reinforcing this myth that Palin is an innocent victim of misogynist invective could keep conservative women from entering the political realm out of fear of being unfairly targeted because of their gender. The cynicism of John McCain in picking someone clearly not ready for the national stage is the only thing that can be blamed for the scrutiny Palin has endured (of course there were unfair jabs leveled at her, but nothing worse than what was thrown at Obama(ahem… Rick)). Failure to acknowledge the recklessness and cynicism of McCain picking someone so obviously unprepared for the job he tried to give her is only going to postpone the emergence of this “great female hope” you are longing for.

gnarlytrombone said...

For this meme to really take off we need a pithy aphorism. Like, "Libs hate the manifestation, not the man."

Anonymous said...

Personally - with the bang-up job that all the Ivy-league law degrees have done to this country, having a Harvard or Yale law degree should immediately disqualify you from holding office.

But they really think they are that special that all the rest of us rubes should just do what they say. Just ask them, they'll tell you.

And to Anony 12:16 - please explain where Obama's 57 states are.

3rd Way said...

having a Harvard or Yale law degree should immediately disqualify you from holding office

or from running a blog

Rick Esenberg said...

Actually, IT doesn't get it all. It's not simply what Sarah Palin could become - it may be that she just doesn't have it in her - but the idea of a conservative, pro-life woman who could connect with people who don't have a snarky sense of urbane sophisication. The mere idea of that must be destroyed much as it is impossible for the left to concieve of Miguel Estrada or Clarence Thomas.

Of course this doesn't mean liberals are "motivated by hatred and terror." The fact that one fears something politically dangerous is not tantamount to that. Conservatives might fear a socially conservative economic progressive, but the Democrats will never run one.

illusory tenant said...

Ah. So it isn't necessarily Sarah Palin herself that liberals "fear" and "hate," it's the mere idea of what Sarah Palin supposedly represents — yet may fail ultimately at personifying — that liberals "fear" and "hate."

And the difference is?

"It is impossible for the left to conceive of Miguel Estrada or Clarence Thomas."

Seriously, where do you come up with this stuff?

By the way, Andrew Sullivan has just set aside his flagon of liquor amnii long enough to aggregate Sarah Palin's litany of falsehoods and misrepresentations.


Although he missed at least one.

Clutch said...

And so the word went out, from that time and place: Eviscerate Sarah Palin like one of her field-dressed moose. Turn her life upside down. Attack her politics, her background, her educational history... [snip remainder of silly gabble]

Goodness, no. The word went out? From, like, Liberal Headquarters, which actually now turns out to include Republican Headquarters? Astonishing. But I suppose the word must have gone out, all right. Because God forbid that a candidate for the highest offices in the land should be attacked for her politics, of all things. Or her background and education. As if what you, umm, believe, or know, and have done should somehow be relevant to the election!

Anonymous said...

Boy, Obama had a slip of the tongue many, many months ago and that's the best that Anon 1:06 can come up with? Geez.

gnarlytrombone said...

It's the difference between a horse and hoarseness, dummy.

John Foust said...

If "Snarky Sense of Urbane Sophisication" was a band, I'd buy their album.

krshorewood said...

She couldn't stand the heat. She got the hell out of the kitchen.

Anonymous said...

I think the sheer number of comments on these two posts proves Rick's point.

illusory tenant said...

"I think the sheer number of comments on these two posts proves Rick's point."

Especially as each is palpably seething with hatred and sheer terror.

[/urbane sophistication]

Anonymous said...

Rick -- I kinda sorta get your overblown philosophical point. What's weird is that it has nothing to do with Palin.

You fetishize her and build her into some metaphor or symbol - which you then proclaim is how "the left," again whatever that means, and others see her.

She is a failure and an entertainingly embarrassing dufus. The fact that she has an attitude about it makes it more entertaining but not more interesting.

The fact that this is the image reflected in the media or held by many does not mean there is "hatred" or "fear" or that she represents something important. It simply means she's a joke with an attitude who jumps into the spotlight to unravel repeatedly. What's the big deal?

Anonymous said...

"Especially as each is palpably seething with hatred and sheer terror.[/urbane sophistication]"

OK, it just seems funny that anything relating to Palin brings the lefty bloggers out in droves. Rick speculates this is motivated by fear and you guys climb all over yourselves to deny it. Methinks the liberal doth protest too much.

illusory tenant said...

"OK, it just seems funny that anything relating to Palin brings the lefty bloggers out in droves."

Well, the "lefty bloggers" follow politics and nobody's denying Palin is a political curiosity and a source of considerable entertainment.

As are her apparent supporters and their bizarre rationalizations.

The point is, Esenberg doesn't know what motivates people and his charges of "hate" and "fear" are equally groundless as the charges that this Dooley fellow is a "racist."

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