Comments on the many-sided Palin issue, cont.

There have been numerous entries on Sarah Palin over the last two days, relating to her resignation as governor, her reasons for resigning, why liberals hate her so much, why her supporters love her so much, her feud with David Letterman, and other issues. Comments have come in responding to all of these topics. To simplify things, the latest batch of comments on Palin have been posted in this one entry.

Terry Morris writes:

Hmm. I haven’t followed this dispute very closely. But I have a question: Does Palin actually believe that Letterman wouldn’t dare make a similar joke about someone else’s family? She must think herself pretty special if so.

LA replies:

My question is: what kind of country would make a charmless nihilistic no-talent like David Letterman a star in the first place?

Paul Mulshine writes at his blog at the Newark Star Ledger:

Usually when politicians make these speeches, they say they are resigning to spend more time with their families. And if ever a politician needed to spend more time with her family, it’s Sarah Palin.

While she was busy running the state, her daughter was busy running around with a hockey thug, a lad who later went on TV and said that he believed Palin knew the two were having sex (see this video).

That’s a family that needs attention.

Instead, Palin made it plain in her remarks that she’s got her eye on bigger things, which could only mean another run for national office.

David B. writes:

Steve R.’s analysis is the same as mine. My ex-friend Professor F. went crazy over Sarah Palin. He yelled, “That woman is the biggest insult in the history of American politics!”

Paul Mulshine writes:

I admired your restraint in responding the the reader who argued that conservatives should think highly of Palin because liberals despise her. That would count as a Moron Perspective on my blog, in that you have to be a moron to cede to the opposition the power to pick your candidates.

And of course the idea that Rudy Giuliani was in some way a conservative is also laughable. Like Palin, he was soft on immigration amnesty and susceptible to the worst of the neocon arguments about the need to have the federal government extend the American welfare state to the Mideast.

The really funny thing is that from the prespective of a moron, any criticism of Palin is seen as liberal. When I point out that she had few if any identifiable conservative positions, I get e-mails from morons calling me a liberal.

And when I challenge them, as I did in this blog post, to actually name her conservative positions, the can’t offer any.

The real issue here is that she is a narcissist, just like my old buddy Jim McGreevey. It’s all me me me me me me, as you can hear in that speech. Her entire appeal consists of getting the people in the hinterlands to sympathize with her for being detested by those very “elites” who they believe detest them. That this has nothing whatsoever to do with policy questions is irrelevant to them.

LA replies:

First, Mr. Mulshine’s “Moron Perspective Alerts” at his blog are both funny and serious.

Second, I find his summing up of Sarah Palin’s appeal to be very shrewd:

“Her entire appeal consists of getting the people in the hinterlands to sympathize with her for being detested by those very ‘elites’ who they believe detest them.”

I don’t know that it’s her entire appeal. But it certainly seems to be a major part of it.

A. Zarkov writes:

Normally I don’t comment on Sarah Palin and her critics, but last night I realized that Palin’s husband Todd seems to have quite restrained about the barrage of extreme insults directed towards his wife and daughter. In particular Letterman’s insult about his wife’s “slutty flight attendant look,” and his daughter being “knocked up” by Alex Rodriguez” should have provoked a far more angry response. At one time in America his passivity would have invited condemnation. Many husbands and fathers would have punched out (or least attempted to) David Letterman, and few people would have thought that unreasonable. Where is his outrage? Worse yet, his wife seems to be in charge of defending the family’s honor. Those thoughts led me to President Andrew Jackson. While Jackson seems to have been somewhat off his rocker, and hardly a role model, he did certainly reflect the ethos of early 19th Century America. An ethos that has all but vanished in our ruling elites.

Andrew Jackson fought 19 duels in his life, mostly over insults to his wife. The most famous being his 1806 duel with champion Tennessee marksman, Charles Dickinson. Jackson was not a particularly accurate shooter, so he was at an extreme disadvantage in this encounter. I suppose this demonstrates either his courage or foolishness. Jackson decided to take the first bullet, and it almost killed him. He then returned fire fatally wounding Dickinson. The details of the duel are given here. I’m impressed by Jackson’s stoicism in the face of a serious wound as we see from his second’s remark after the duel was over.

“My God! General Jackson, are you hit?” exclaimed Major Overton. “Oh! I believe that he has pinked me a little,” the hero replied. “Let’s look at it. But say nothing about it there,” nodding toward his prostrate victim whom Jackson intended never to learn whether he had struck him. The ball had broken two ribs and rested in the chest cavity within millimeters of Jackson’s heart so that it could never be safely removed.

Jackson carried this bullet and others in his body for the rest of his life causing considerable chronic pain. Whatever one might think of Jackson, he was certainly no whiner. In contrast Palin, like most contemporary politicians, just whines. As you point out she depersonalized the insult turning it into a political issue. I think she did this to avoid showing anger—to avoid looking “judgmental” except in the usual abstract politically correct way. Palin is obviously a liberal in the contemporary sense, and most conservatives can’t see it because they don’t understand what liberalism is. No wonder they can’t deal with Obama in an effective way.

I recommend VFR readers look at the above linked reference as it provides an interesting discussion of American political culture and the part played by duels and considerations of personal honor. In particular note the following excerpt.

From the perspective of early American political culture, the drama [the Dickinson duel] and the issue were not as pointless and trivial as they might seem. Duels separated the respectability of gentlemen from the rest of society. They engaged the larger public in a personal affair. By that means judgments could be made about the manliness and qualities of leadership that the antagonists exhibited.

I think this applies to Todd Palin—where is his manliness?

Kidist Paulos Asrat writes:

You write:

Despite the excellent points made by James and Steve, I still find the extremity of the hatred for her mysterious. Maybe their explanations are sufficient after all, but I’m just not getting it.

I honestly think it is what they perceive to be the hypocrisy. So, I think they find a conservative Republican/conservative who holds some of their own views, and still call himself a conservative Republican, repugnant.

Having said that, I agree Letterman’s jokes were off-base. Still, I am surprised at the slightly blind following she is getting just because liberals hate her, and she calls herself a Republican.

I remember trying to defend George Bush in front of vicious liberals. It was an endless exercise. At one point, I should have just said that he doesn’t really represent conservatism, and just not participated in the conversations.

I wish Sarah all the best, but so many things she has done will invariably put us in the same position that Bush has put us in, in front of liberals. I don’t want to go there again.

But, recently, I did defend her by saying that she never really chose to come into the limelight, but was more-or-less shoved into it by McCain. This was the best defense I could muster for her. Still, I expect I will be doing this constantly, if she remains in the limelight.

I do agree with Laura, Sarah’s confidence is admirable. But, this is the same confidence that is allowing her to respond to Letterman’s attacks from a feminist angle. Maybe that is the quirks of being a liberal Republican.

Steven Warshawsky writes:

The reaction to Sarah Palin’s decision to resign as governor of Alaska has convinced me that there are as many “Kool Aid” drinkers on the right as on the left. Of course, the steadfast support for George W. Bush among so many “conservatives”—after Bush proved himself hostile to almost everything that conservatives supposedly believe in—provides further evidence of this uncomfortable truth. (For example, at last week’s Tea Party Protest in NYC, a fellow protestor was complaining about the government telling us what kind of light bulbs we can use; when my wife pointed out that the light bulb legislation was passed under Bush, the woman refused to believe it. Why? Because Sean Hannity hadn’t mentioned this on his radio program. The woman then stormed off.)

What I find most striking about the fervent support for Palin is the refusal of so many people to acknowledge her obvious lack of meaningful political experience and achievements. The very criticism that people on the right leveled against Barack Obama somehow doesn’t apply when it comes to Palin. Why not? Indeed, many people—including presumably smart and savvy pundits (e.g., Larry Kudlow, Bill Kristol)—argue that Palin’s paltry political resume is something positive! This is right-wing insanity.

Granted, Palin gave a boffo convention speech last year—the impact of which was significantly boosted by her cutesy, spunky attractiveness. (Imagine the speech being delivered by someone who looked like Geraldine Ferraro or Barbara Mikulski.) But Palin is a political and intellectual lightweight. Any neutral observer can see this. It was obvious as soon as she was interviewed on TV by Gibson and Couric. Those weren’t “unfair” interviews—Palin simply lacked the ability and skills to present herself in a strong, articulate, compelling manner. If she weren’t pretty and a little sexy, nobody would be giving her a second thought. She’s the “Fox News Blonde” of GOP politics. Is this really how we should be choosing our national political leadership?

As for the reader who compared Palin to Giuliani, come on! Giuliani is a man of many flaws, but also a politician with enormous real world achievements. Palin has achieved very little in her political career (what exactly?), and nothing on the order of Giuliani’s mayorship of New York City. To compare the two is ridiculous.

Lastly, yes, people on the left hate Sarah Palin. But people on the right hated Bill Clinton and hate Barack Obama, etc. Hating the other side’s leaders is not unique to liberals. Nor does it prove anything about the merits of the person hated. The notion that conservatives need to defend Palin with the same irrational ferocity with which liberals attack her makes no sense.

Palin is a GOP/conservative disaster. The sooner we move on from her, the better.

MGH writes:

I thought you might be interested in a “Sarah Palin” report from the Tucson, Arizona tea party yesterday. The featured speaker was nationally-syndicated radio talk show host Tammy Bruce, and over 4000 people turned out. Before Ms. Bruce appeared, there was very loud applause and cheering at each mention of defeating all incumbent Congresspeople as soon as possible.

Ms. Bruce started off by asking, “How many of you like Sarah Palin?” which generated applause. She then spent about half of her 30-minute talk praising Sarah Palin to the heavens, saying that her resignation from the Alaska governorship was just great because “she didn’t do what they expected her to do”, that Palin was an ordinary person who knew what it was like not to have an Ivy League degree, that she’s had to make tough choices just like us, and on and on.

Her cheerleading met with a noticeably tepid response from the crowd. Ms. Bruce asked, “How many of you like Rudy Guiliani? which generated just a smattering of applause. Then Ms. Bruce got even more wound-up and shouted, “I want to see a ticket with Palin-Romney or Palin-Guiliani, not Romney-Palin or Guiliani-Palin! The crowd was very obviously unenthusiastic. I think the idea of “liking” Sarah Palin as a celebrity is one thing, but the idea of Sarah Palin as leader of the free world is a non-starter as far as this grassroots conservative crowd is concerned.

I also spoke with Chris Simcox, founder of the Minutemen, who is running against McCain. I asked him how McCain was holding onto his support given that his actions and views were opposed by most Arizonans. Mr. Simcox said that McCain’s support was dissolving rapidly. He said that they both were at a July 4th parade in Prescott, Arizona that morning, and that McCain was actually booed by the crowd. Mr. Simcox also said that the RNC was going to pull out all the stops to keep McCain in office, regardless of what the voters want.

As an aside, I also love the movie “1776”. This year I watched the “John Adams” miniseries episode in which the Founders debate the Declaration of Independence. Their words ring through the ages. May this generation repent, and finally prove itself worthy of the magnificent inheritance the Founders bequeathed to us.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at July 05, 2009 08:09 PM | Send

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