Has the answer to The Palin Question been found?

(Note: Ken Hechtman has a better answer, see below.)

I just happened to come upon an exchange with a reader from September 5, 2008 that through oversight was not posted. It is still highly relevant to The Great Palin Question which we’ve been discussing a great deal lately: “Why do people hate/love Sarah so much?” Indeed it may be the best and most concise answer anyone has had. So I’m posting it now, almost 11 months late.

Mark L. writes (9/5/08):

Enjoy your website. An oasis of sanity in an increasingly self-deluded world.

I think McCain could actually have misjudged the nature of women (some anyway).

Palin may simply be too attractive to have significant appeal.

Women are notoriously jealous of other women whom are obviously more attractive than themselves.

And Palin is right up there in the upper percentiles for looks.

When a guy walks into a room he checks out the chicks first. When a gal walks into a room she also checks out the chicks first.

LA replies:

That’s very insightful. That’s been on the edge of my subconscious but you’re brought it out.

Yes. She’s not just a nice looking woman, as I initially thought. She’s a very nice looking woman. And, human nature is such that when men AND women see a very nice looking woman, they see her first of all in sexual terms, in her role as a sexual being. It doesn’t mean that they see her only as that, but that’s always in consciousness. And that produces problems in seeing her as a leader.

A female friend of mine said that when she saw McCain and Palin together on stage last night, they looked like an elderly gentleman and his younger girlfriend or mistress. I said, “Is that because she’s so good looking?” And she said yes.

- end of initial entry -

July 25

Laura W. writes:

Palin’s support is stronger among Republican women than men, according to the latest polls. She has been received enthusiastically by large numbers of women.

LA replies:

Good point, which throws into question Mark L.’s (and my) point. But the next question is, who are the strongest haters of Palin? Is there a difference in this regard between Democratic women and Democratic men?

Ken Hechtman writes:

You asked:

But the next question is, who are the strongest haters of Palin? Is there a difference in this regard between Democratic women and Democratic men?

Do you even need to ask? Democratic women, of course. Men, even Democrat men, don’t hate women when they appear to be inarticulate lightweight pieces of eye-candy. Dismiss, sure. Disrespect, maybe. But not hate. Democrat men were far angrier at John McCain for trying to put Sarah Palin a heartbeat away from the presidency than they ever were at Palin for trying to get there. [LA replies: My answer to your question is yes, because I haven’t followed the leftist Palin haters enough to get their nuances, as I’m mainly interested in what conservatives are saying about her, and I had not noticed for sure that Dem women showed more hate for her than Dem men.]

But you take Democrat women who (this is the way they tell it) spent half their lives fighting for women’s rights to get ahead based on what they can do rather than what they look like. And you give them a teaser of the first credible woman candidate for president and she holds her own on policy substance against two serious opponents. But then you pull the rug out from under them with the same old sexist mudslinging (again, this is the way they tell it).

This is a two minute compilation video of the sexist mudslinging they’re talking about.

Then at the end, just to rub their noses it, in walks this big-hair beauty contestant … this Caribou Barbie who can’t put a complete sentence together … and she’s winking and vamping her way into the White House! It’s not that they disagree with her about this or that policy issue. It’s that if such a person can exist in national politics then nothing they’ve ever done means anything.

LA replies:

All right, this is very interesting. It makes sense. You have brought back to my memory the Democratic women of spring 2008, who were in an absolute frenzy over the fact that Hillary had been pushed aside by Obama. I talked with such women and their sense of rage and indignation over the defeat of Hillary, as well as their dislike of Obama, was remarkable. Their strongest feeling was of the injustice of what had happened: Hillary deserved the prize, Obama was a young interloper, talented but untried and unworthy. So let’s take that cohort of women, and subject them to the elevation of Sarah Palin, and their hate for her would make complete sense. They were already in a frenzy of anger and grievance about Obama’s unjust toppling of Hillary, which they had barely gotten over, and then this beautiful, big-haired, small-town, unsophisticated, completely unworthy (in their eyes) Sarah emerged out of nowhere as the Republican VP nominee—Sarah who seemed as it were designed by the gods to make this potent emotional mixture explode in fury.

Laura W. writes:

Ken Hechtman has given a brilliant explanation of something that will forever remain an icon of the 2008 campaign: Katie Couric’s undisguised contempt as she was asking Sarah about her reading interests.

Anna writes:

Politics aside, I remember my first impressions of Sarah Palin. She came on the scene unexpectedly. Unsolicited, I answered in my mind for the first time ever with a name the time-honored question: “If you weren’t you, who would you want to be?”

What is it that I liked? Maybe it was her personal aura and visible intelligence, tied in a really neat package, giving the impression of ease in conversation in a boardroom or a supermarket. Could picture her both stalwart and open, an ideal candidate for a discussion of differing views (hard to find!). Again, these were my first impressions when she came out of the gate.

At the same time, the first impressions of both conservatives and liberals, young and old, male and female, in my circle were incredibly negative. The vehemence of the negative comments really surprised me. I’m still puzzled.

Ken Hechtman’s comments were very engaging, and I wonder if conservatives were also equally angry at McCain for the heartbeat issue. As far as the rancor of Democratic women is concerned, I can’t see any female Republican VP candidate sway their vote, or even give them pause to ponder. As Laura W. pointed out, Katie Couric was less than collegial, but I don’t see her being friendly with any female Republican VP candidate.

My quest for answers continues.

Will D. writes:

Mark L.’s comment reminded me of something Graham Greene (I think it was Greene) wrote, something that has stuck with me for a good twenty-five years—and I’m paraphrasing—women don’t look for attractive men, they look for men with attractive women on their arms.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at July 25, 2009 01:11 AM | Send

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