“I Still Hate You, Sarah Palin”

An excellent analysis:

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.
You know what? It worked! McCain finally succumbed to his long-standing case of Stockholm Syndrome (“My friends, you have nothing to fear from an Obama presidency”), Tina Fey turned Palin into a see-Russia-from-my-house joke, “conservative” useful idiots like Peggy Noonan and Kathleen Parker hatched her, and finally Sarah cried No más and walked away. If we could, we’d cut off her head and mount it on a wall at Tammany Hall, except there is no more Tammany Hall unless you count Obama’s Tony Rezko–financed home in Chicago. And it took only eight months — heck, Sarah couldn’t even have another kid in the time it took us to destroy her. That’s the Chicago way!
I don’t know why I’m telling you this, but maybe now you’re beginning to understand the high-stakes game we’re playing here. This ain’t John McCain’s logrolling senatorial club any more. This is a deadly serious attempt to realize the vision of the 1960s and to fundamentally transform the United States of America. This is the fusion of Communist dogma, high ideals, gangster tactics, and a stunning amount of self-loathing. For the first time in history, the patrician class is deliberately selling its own country down the river just to prove a point: that, yes, we can! This country stinks and we won’t be happy until we’ve forced you to admit it.

UPDATE: Part of the problem, perhaps unavoidable, is the cartelization of our political system. Because our system strongly discourages the cultivation of new political parties, the fact that we have a leftist Democratic Party means that the Republicans can get away with taking positions that are to the Left of where most Republican voters are on important issues such as the scope of government and level of overall government spending. (I assume that leftism confers a political advantage by rationalizing government spending that may be used to buy votes.) In a two-party system, incumbents of the weaker party may make their lives easier by conceding dominance to the other party and living on the crumbs. (Illinois Republicans will know exactly what I mean.) The weaker party may also find advantage in attacking radical challengers of their own party who threaten to upset this arrangement. Somebody, I think it was William Niskanen, wrote a paper around 1995 that was called something like, “Why Our Two-Party System Doesn’t Work” and made a similar argument. I don’t know if his paper is available online; there may be an updated version under a different title.

21 thoughts on ““I Still Hate You, Sarah Palin””

  1. I called this one. I said after her convention speech, they have to destroy her now. They may have done so. Probably so.

    The one thing Kahane gets wrong is the idea that people who have watched this happen are going to passively let it continue.

    It is Chicago rules now. Both sides have to play that way.

  2. I think Sarah Palin is a distraction. We, as Americans, should not base our politics on heroes. Our country, was founded on a proposition, not on a person. Our politics should be about ideas not personalities.

    Let the liberals search for their anointed, the Won, who is the embodiment of their desire. Let them wake in the morning disillusioned, bitter, and wondering who is the rube*.

    “Put not your trust in princes, in the sons of men, in whom there is no help. When his breath departs he returns to his earth; on that very day his plans perish.”**

    Our standard must be Our Country, Our Constitution, and the American people.

    *If you have to ask who the rube is …

    **Ps 146:3-4

  3. The argument seem to me less a worship of Sarah Palin than a desire to say, Never again. Never again can they do that to her. Never again can they do that to someone else. And our highest priority is to look at Obama’s response to Honduras and Iran. As Jonathan hints in his post and explains in his comments, it isn’t the first election that counts – it is the second. All this gang needs may be two years – two years to destroy the economy, two years to take over the health system – but really all they need is two years if they can subvert the vote. The Illinois smoothing of the path for Obama is beginning to seem like a trial run. Whether it is because of the general corruption of Washington/Chicago politics/media or it is some more deliberate and rational plan, I don’t care. The result is the same.

  4. Behind and beyond the media storm, which has indeed been less than charitable, shall we say (to paraphrase Jeeves from Bertie and Jeeves fame), has Palin proved herself to be a competent gov? Alaska relies on federal largesse in the best and worst of times … as a rallying point for republicans, how does quitting prove she is somehow ‘goal oriented and task focused?’ I am quite sure she is a rallying point — and she has been vilified, most likely, unjustly … but to paraphrase Lincoln, if she was right and her enemies were wrong, “If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business. I do the very best I know how – the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what’s said against me won’t amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference” — Lincoln was talking about winning the civil war and saving the union; I have yet to hear anything from her that comes close — in fact, when i have listented to her, I hear little that inspires confidence — she is W with a better hair dresser to the ramping hordes in the media — if what is at stake is so important, let her tell us. I haven’t heard it and am waiting for someone who can, but if she has ever had anything substantive to say, haven’t heard it, and it isn’t because the media has ‘miscommunicated’ her message. I honestly am chagrined that we are wasting our time ‘explaining Sarah Palin to each other’ when ‘explaining George Bush to each other’ lead to disaster — in fact, i hope this comment is deleted so that trolls don’t take it and run with it. I hope for positive criticism and feedback. I hope to be told I am wrong — have at it — but please keep the issues separated — it is sort of like the updated ancient illogical tautology “Socrates was a gadfly, therefore all gadflies are Socratic” — the media will be non-sensical … what alternative version do we offer now? am not sure how defending Sarah Palin from the media … a job she better be able to do herself because she first and foremost better be able to explain herself clearly and simply if she wants anybody’s vote … does any of us any favors. If she can’t handle this task she doesn’t deserve our support.

  5. I think she’s competent. She negotiated a significant energy treaty with Canada that had languished before she got involved. She was successful, both functionally and politically, against the corrupt Republican establishment, which is how she got elected. And she is highly ranked by Alaskans in polls. (Compare her poll results with those of other governors. The competent ones generally poll well.)

    I miss the ideological vagueness that you see. From what I have seen and heard she is very much a small-government person. And she is very much an anti-establishment person, which I think is equally important. She is no Bush.

    I could be wrong on these points but I would bet on her to succeed over most any other national politician.

  6. She’d make a damn fine President, probably the best since Reagan. Judging by the VP run she has a huge personal following, so she can win, especially after four years of Obamanation. What more matters?

  7. See Erin O’Connor’s post on the witch-hunting of Palin…note the comment by J Remarque:

    “Last year, I talked to many people who had legitimate and intelligent gripes against Palin…but far more of my colleagues and contacts didn’t simply see Sarah Palin as individually unfit for office. No, they declared themselves opposed to All People Like Her: people from rural and suburban areas, people who went to state schools, people who hunt, people who go to church, and people who don’t pay deference to the usual big-city pieties. Palin’s specific flaws did not matter. She was openly declared “white trash” (and far worse things) in my office by angry elites who expected me to join in the chorus and expressed confusion when I resisted their Several Month Hate.

  8. Carl, you are too rational. At this point “Sarah Palin” is not so much about this or that policy she might enact if by some miracle she became president. She is the human face of nearly half of the American electorate, who were shown that the powerful and well-credentialled people who run this country hate and despise them. Her mere existence, and the storm of hatred and contempt that was directed at her, has caused millions of people to rally to her, forgive pretty much every defect, and see her as part of a zero-sum, us-versus-them conflict.

    Unfortunately, she is probably not up to carrying so much baggage.

  9. Carl Ortona,

    Behind and beyond the media storm, which has indeed been less than charitable, shall we say (to paraphrase Jeeves from Bertie and Jeeves fame), has Palin proved herself to be a competent gov?

    That’s an objectively unanswerable question. There is no magical formula for determining who will make a good president. I would point out that most of the same people who viciously attacked Palin as being unqualified had no problem in 2004 with Howard Dean whose only political experience had been as governor of the small, sleepy state of Vermont. What experience did Dean have that Palin lacked?

    Clearly, the extraordinary attacks on Palin arise from a profound sense of hatred of the other. People who hate Palin conceive of themselves as a natural aristocracy i.e. gifted people with an inherent right to guide society. Like all aristocracies, they intuitively understand that their position rest on a shared cultural mythology. In this case, the mythology is that only people who have certain life histories and who have belonged to certain organizations (such as Ivy league schools) can govern. These people don’t have accomplishments on which to stake their claim for power. Instead, they base their claim on group inclusion the same way that historical aristocrats based their claim on the families to which they belonged.

    Anyone outside of that group who can succeed politically threatens the groups mythology and threatens their claim to power, their social standing and their professional careers. It’s the same social mechanism that made historical aristocrats so hostile to merit promotion. Ever since WWII, Democrats have increasingly stigmatized Republicans anyone else they didn’t as idiots. Eisenhower was senile. LBJ was an ignorant redneck. Nixon unsophisticated. Carter at first was just a peanut farmer. Reagan was dismissed as just an actor. The poor speaking skills of both Bushs was taken as evidence of their mental inferiority despite their Ivy league educations.

    Palin is simply the latest and most vociferously attacked individual to be declared as an hated outsider who threatens their mythology. If Palin had become President, she would have undermine their mythology worse than did Reagan whom they have never forgiven.

  10. It seemed to me that her positions stemmed from a strong sense of personal responsibility as well as a sense of America’s strengths. She clearly is motivated by a distaste for cronyism, belief in the power of small business, and a resistance to conventions. Her values are the pragmatic ones that have often shaped America’s successes; I can’t imagine her taking the positions Obama, for instance, has on health care, on Iran, on cap&trade, on Honduras, on the defensive shield in Europe. It isn’t just her ideology but her experience that tells her what we do – project a belief in democracy, drill in Alaska, avoid the seductions of corruption.

    If I want to be honest, I’d admit that these virtues might well mean that she would have one hell of a time getting legislation passed. The fact that the people of Alaska like her does not mean much because that’s a different playing field. Bush attempted the non-partisan approach, beginning with education, and he came out of a Texas that had seen him really work with the other side. He was misquoted, misreported, and in the end insufficiently effective in several areas because he didn’t know how to handle the partisan nature of Congress and the press. (I have no idea how it could be done.)

    Her quitting not to cost the taxpayers of Alaska nor her own energy the numerous suits she saw blossoming is understandable. She prides herself on her self-sufficiency and she was finding herself in debt. This lack of conventionality, however, may mean she would be a loose cannon.

    When David Brooks can write a column about the extraordinary dignity of Obama – a dignity not unlike, he would argue, George Washington’s – and a British conductor can speak of England’s better, post-Bush, relations with England, then we have a culture – not the majority of us, of course, but a I scrolled through the first 50 or so of the comments on Brooks and found no one that seemed to see this as naively, superficially, and absurdly disproportional – that is a mine field for someone like Palin, whom Brooks mentions with distaste.

    Palin appears to believe the office she held was bigger than she is and that Alaska needed someone who could be a full-time governor and not have to spend their time dealing with a national Democratic attack machine, someone who might not be giving speeches in the continental 48 but remain closer to Alaska. It would seem to me better to be conventional at times; I would have liked a less rambling and disjointed resignation. But she certainly has a consistent vision, a tough, Jacksonian one perhaps, one that requires much of her and would expect us to be independent, resilient. This leads to the kind of dignity Brooks praised in Washington. I’ll grant Obama infinite grace of movement, but when it is used to back thugs abroad and encourage them at home, I have my doubts about the dignity he projects.

  11. Jonathon,

    I am as conservative as they come, and I am an unabashed Sarah Palin supporter, but your premise that this is a new ballgame – Chicago politics – rings a bit hollow with me. I was embarrassed to be a Republican during the Clinton years … Whitewater, Kenneth Starr, whatsername Jones from Arkanasas, Monica Lewinski, and sleaziest of all – the certainly that the evil hand of Bill Clinton was behind the death of Vince Foster in the park. Eight years of thin slime du jour from Rush Limbaugh and the American Spectator – It was nothing more than character assissination on the part of conservatives who were intellectually unable to counter Clinton on the basis of ideology, logic and facts. In the absence of such reasoned counters we reveled in smart remarks about what the definition of is is, jokes about cigars and whether he inhaled or not. That was about as substantial as the mainstream conservative media got in our counter-position to Clinton.

    All of it should come to a stop, and I agree with your criticisms of the left and their allies in the press in their shameful abuse of Palin, but we conservatives should take heed, as well.

  12. I really like Sarah Palin, but this disappointed me. I know the dirt has been slung in an unholy way, but somehow this just rubbed me the wrong way. I get your points Ginny, I just don’t know if that is really the case. I think it got too much for her.

    (Still, a choice between her and a second Obama term is a no-brainer for me). We are spending money like water.

  13. Bill Waddell,

    I appreciate your comments but I think you draw a false parallel between conservatives’ attacks on Clinton and leftists’ attacks on Palin. The exotic conspiracy theories about the Clintons proved false, and a lot of the theorizing was reckless, yet the Clintons were highly corrupt, abusers of power and of people (consider the prosecution of Billy Dale, the selling of pardons, the abuse of Linda Tripp, to name just a few examples) and IMO deserved much of the criticism they received. Palin, whatever her hypothetical limitations as a national leader, seems to be quite honest and decent for a politician, and is being attacked not for anything she has done but for what she is, and as a way of discouraging other conservative politicians. While the radical Left’s use of Stalinist tactics against political opponents is nothing new, the fact that the radical Left is now in charge of much of the US government is. This is a novel and worrisome situation.

  14. I guess we will have to agree to disagree, Jonathon. Your argument sounds to me like, “Our false personal smears are OK because we know their guy is a bad person, but their personal smears are out of line because we know that our guy (gal in this case) is a good person.” Still strikes me as a distinction without a difference.

    Regardless, I certainly agree that the full court press to assissinate Sarah Palin’s character regardless of the truth is an abomination.

  15. Your premise seems to be that, because Clinton was guilty of corrupt actions in some cases, it is OK to fire personal attack after personal attack for anything. He abused his power to make Linda Tripp’s life hell, so it is OK to accuse him of killing Vince Foster and to drag every loose woman in Arkansas with a story to tell into the limelight – whether her story is true or not.

    By this logic, if any of the ethics charges against Sarah Palin stick, it will constitute proof that she is a corrupt person and the left will be justified in assailing her children, her husband, and any other aspect of her life, no matter whether the accusations are true or not.

  16. That’s not my premise. The Clintons didn’t deserve all of the criticism they received, but they deserved a lot of it, based on their behavior.

  17. It’s heartening to see the level of support for Palin within the Republican base – from a Democratic point of view.

    Not only did a recent poll show her as the most popular Republican political (71%, as I recall), but also as the political with the highest unfavorable rating among the general public (48%). She’s certainly not going to get the Democratic vote. And independents appear to view her as a loon in light of her behavior, rightly or wrongly.

    It’s interesting watching the conservative movement splinter into factions in full public view. Republicans from Nixon on have used race and class resentment, but it really hasn’t been till Palin that we’ve seen seen outright hostility to merit (although Bush clearly knew which way the wing was blowing and affected a very convincing man-of-the-people demeanor).

    The thing about resentment though, is that it’s rather unattractive from the outside and isn’t exactly inviting. I don’t think there are enough Palin-Republicans and Palin sympathethic independents to come even close to posing a credible challenge to Obama in 2012. We’ll see..

  18. >Not only did a recent poll show her as the most popular
    >Republican political (71%, as I recall), but also as the
    >political with the highest unfavorable rating among the general
    >public (48%). She’s certainly not going to get the Democratic
    >vote. And independents appear to view her as a loon in light of
    >her behavior, rightly or wrongly.

    Similar things were said of Reagan in 1976 thru his election in 1980.

    If Obama faces 10(+)% unemployment in 2012, Republicans will be able to elect Donald Duck.

    If Obama has a 4% unemployment rate in 2012, Republicans could run Jesus Christ and lose.

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