“I despise Sarah Palin”

L., a female reader, writes:

You wrote: “[Palin] is a person with some instinctive smarts and talents, and of course spirit, and I don’t like it when people try to deny that she has any brains at all or treat her as someone to be despised.”

Well, I despise her.

She used her handicapped child as a stage prop during her vice presidential campaign.

She neglected her duties as a mother in properly supervising her teenage daughter.

And, once she got a taste of celebrity and decided she liked that better than fulfilling the responsibilities to which the people of Alaska, in good faith, elected her …

She abandoned her elected position to shill a ghost-written book and be on television.

Her appearance on Oprah, by the way, is what confirmed my dislike of Sarah Palin. (And I speak as someone who really, really wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt during the presidential election, to give me some reason to vote for McCain.) She was typically coy and evasive when asked about possible presidential aspirations (whatever “instinctive talents” she may possess, they clearly don’t extend to answering questions candidly, or deflecting those to which she does not wish to respond with any finesse); she treated us to more of her fractured syntax when she repeatedly referred to her grandson as “this most beautiful baby boy” (wouldn’t “beautiful” have sufficed?); and, most egregiously, she remarked that she wasn’t sure if Levi Johnston was still known by that name or by what she believed to be his new one, “Ricky Hollywood.” Now I have no problem with Palin taking a shot at Johnston per se. But the way she uttered this bon mot—and her expectant pause thereafter, as if she believed the studio audience would fall to the floor, insensate with hilarity—cemented my opinion of her as an attention hog whose primary goal is to bask in the spotlight for as long as she can.

You’ve sometimes accused her critics of engaging in “anti-Palin bigotry.” Do you think it possible that you may harbor a decidedly subjective, insupportable bias in her favor? Admittedly, you are not the only person who finds her attractive and engaging. However, do you really believe that referring to buzz words inked on one’s palm during a public address is that inconsequential? Your reaction to this issue—i.e., you did not mention it until a reader broached the subject, and then were somewhat dismissive of its negative connotations—suggests to me an inclination to cut Sarah Palin more breaks than she is entitled to.

So, in conclusion, the Palin mystique is, to me, largely mystifying. She’s not particularly bright. She’s philosophically incoherent. Her character, based on how she has handled her family issues and her governorship, is questionable. Her voice is unbearable, and what she utters with it is largely right-liberal claptrap, articulated poorly. She has appropriated the Tea Party movement to her own ends while contributing nothing to (and quite possibly compromising) any real possibility of conservative reform. In addition, I know such things are a matter of personal aesthetics, but I don’t even see where she’s that attractive physically. (I mean, she’s not exactly Catherine Deneuve, whom I cite specifically as an example of a woman who remained a great beauty into her advanced years. Palin is admirably fit and well kept for a middle-aged mother of five, but that’s about it.)

I will give Palin credit for two things: her outdoors acumen, and having the “instinctive smarts” to go where the money is. But then, with regard to the latter, so do Nigerian scam artists.

- end of initial entry -

Laura Wood writes:

An excellent summary of Palin’s character.

Ben W. writes:

Bravo! Cogito ergo sarahum—I cliche therefore I am.

N. writes:

I know a woman who admires Palin because the former’s fractured family resembles Palin’s. I know evangelical Christians who support Palin and Huckabee solely because of the abortion issue. I know cultural conservatives who like Palin essentially because she drives the Left nuts; witness the whole “writing on the palms” bit, and the responses thereto. I know a populist who like Palin because David Frum hates her … seriously, that’s what the argument boils down to.

Palin is in some was a kind of tabula rasa upon which people project what they wish to see. That alone ought to be sufficient to encourage skepticism.

LA replies:

Skepticism toward Palin is not the same as despising her as a human being.

Gintas writes:

L. described the typical American woman, aren’t they all feminists and liberals, more or less? Palin is neither more nor less, just middle-of-the-road. For me it’s not Sarah Palin, it’s her cult of personality, her groupies, fans, lapdogs, sycophants, and lickspittles, and the degenerate right-liberal-feminist GOP that promoted her. We won’t survive the universal vote.

Kidist Paulos Asrat replies:
I was indeed charmed by Sarah when she first appeared on the scene. She is a go-getter and she is brave to withstand all this mockery and scorn by everyone, now including many conservatives. Her charm now is that she is the only outspoken antidote to Obama, where she’s unafraid to call him out on his missteps.

She lives in a feminist world. I would wager that many “conservative” women, including Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin, think that women should go and grab the world by its horns, like any man. Most women have some sympathy for feminism. Even some of the Palin critics at VFR have shown leniency when it came to her marriage and family life.

I would ultimately blame Palin’s rise on conservatives, who have dismally failed in making a case for their movement. Now, their role should be to “out” her on all her non-conservative ideas, treat her like the viable force she has made herself to be, and expose her insufficiencies.

When she is looked at in this light, how can one hate her?

N. replies:
It is true that skepticism is not the same as despising. I found President Clinton to be despicable for a long, long list of reasons. He is still despicable. But Palin? I’m nonplussed. Yes, there is much to criticize in her personal as well as political life. There’s much to criticize in her lack of knowledge and education as well. But despise? I do not see grounds for that.

Yes, she took her youngest child with her on the campaign trail, but if she’d left him home, someone would no doubt criticize that as well. Yes, she’s done a poor job of supervising her teenaged daughter, just like many other women with full time jobs outside the home. The reason that Palin resigned from her position as Governor has to do with an ill crafted ethics bill that enabled political opponents to go after her for asinine nonissues, such as wearing a jacket with a manufacturers logo on it. Few of us would stay in office if it meant $500,000 in legal fees, with no end in sight.

Governor Palin, as others have pointed out, is living within a feminist milieu. So do millions of other “soccer moms” and “hockey moms”. Recall how she came to enter politics: the town government was corrupt, and no one would make an effort to clean it up. Recall how she came to run for Governor: there was in essence a power vacuum, and she decided to fill it. When men abdicate their responsibilities, others will take them up; maybe the others will be hockey moms.

I will admit that I frankly enjoy the fact that merely by writing “Hi Mom” on her left palm, Palin can cause insane, foaming-at-the-mouth, incoherent rage among the Kossites. It does not follow that I admire her family life, or her lack of knowledge on many topics, nor that I find her qualified for any public office. In my opinion, her logical position for now is public gadfly.

La replies:

I agree. I’ve criticized Palin from the start, but never despised her. Take the two things about her I’ve most criticized: her accepting McCain’s offer, an act that automatically meant putting her out of wedlock 17 year old daughter’s pregnancy in the national spotlight; and bringing the daughter and her boyfriend to the convention, which meant that the Republicans were cheering as their new royalty an unmarried teen couple with child, which meant that conservatives and Republicans had thrown away the ability to oppose illegitimacy, the single most destructive force in society. Both acts are to be condemned. But were they the acts of a despicable person? I don’t see that. As for the first, how many politicians would turn down the chance to be elevated to the vice presidency? As for the second, I think Palin is basically too liberal to understand what was objectionable about it. After all, look at all the millions of conservatives who did not object to it. So she’s no worse than they.

There is much Palin has done that criticize and even condemn, and which I believe make her unsuitable for political office. But none of that adds up to finding her despicable.

Bob S. writes:

Tain’t nothin new. As the Stalinist personality cult treks ever onward, Palin is just the white female conservative Repug opportunist version/reply to the narcissist BH Obama.

And while she sure is a cutey, my, my. The shrill squeak makes you want to fire up the old ‘seen, but not heard’ chestnut!

And it ain’t sexist, it’s self protection. My ears can’t stand it.

She needs to get back to raising her family and let RPaul and the real Tea Party get down to business. McMussolini is just the arthritic paleface version of Barry Mugabe. They’re both shilling for the More Big Govt. Party.

LA replies:

As I said the other day, out of her entire retinue of advisors and helpers, has no one told her that she needs to do something with her voice? It’s not as though it’s an incurable problem. She needs a series of sessions with a voice coach. I’ll bet if she stopped squeaking she would have a nice, pleasant voice. However, it occurs to me that if she did acquire a nice voice in addition to her good looks, her sex appeal might become a serious distraction to her role as a political figure The squeaky voice lessens her sex appeal.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 10, 2010 01:30 PM | Send

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