Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Defending Sarah Palin

You're Peggy Noonan and you're jealous. You are a card-carrying member of the intellectual conservative elite, a PBS-anointed expert on family values who worked for both Ronald Reagan and Dan Rather, a talented speechwriter and wordsmith. And you are fuming: Sarah Palin refuses to be yesterday's news. You just can't get her out of your mind.
-- Stuart Schwartz, “Peggy Noonan: Sarah Palin Jealous

I like Sarah Palin.

I’m glad to see someone of the caliber of Norman Podhoretz writing something (“In Defense of Sarah Palin”) in answer to a lot of surprisingly nasty critics on the right.

I don’t necessarily think Palin would make the best president, nor the best candidate for president in a critical election like 2012. I don’t particularly want to see her trading talking points with professional commentators on Fox News. That’s not worth much, anyway.

But anyone who thinks she’s stupid is, well, not too bright. Before the media or pundits knew she was someone they were supposed to hate, she had already run for, and won, three offices in Alaska, without any help from the Republican Party, and against entrenched corruptocrats. All credible reports are that she did a great job as governor. She also appears to be a great mother and wife, measured by objective standards, Bristol’s single motherhood notwithstanding. She’s stayed married, she’s kept her family together. Podhoretz has recognized that some conservatives -- snobs -- dislike Palin because they’re embarrassed at her lack of what passes for class in New York and Washington. I already knew that some conservative brains disliked her for her working-class authenticity, and, as Kathleen Parker put it after the 2008 election, because of her God-crazy “oogedy-boogedy.” (“Giving Up on God”).

Simply put: Armband religion is killing the Republican Party. And, the truth -- as long as we're setting ourselves free -- is that if one were to eavesdrop on private conversations among the party intelligentsia, one would hear precisely that.

Sarah Palin [is] part of the problem. . . .Let's do pray that God shows Alaska's governor the door.

Ohmigod! Are the intelligentsia saying that? They always stop talking and sneer impatiently whenever I come by to pick up the empty cabernet glasses, trying to overhear them!

Oh, and then there’s the jealousy of Sarah Palin, (from certain female elites),. Jealousy because she’s attractive and charismatic--and can’t quote a line from Horace! You're Peggy Noonan and you're jealous. So you loosed a multi-column primal scream:

Palin is an idiot who is "out of her depth in a shallow pool", a woman who has no sense of personal limits because she is not even smart enough to realize she is "a ponder-free zone." Whoa-good one! The rhetorical equivalent of the chickenwing camel clutch, where you come up behind and twist her arm behind her back, and then force her face to the mat. Or, in her case, to the snow. That's what they have in Alaska, don't they? You don't know, of course-Martha's Vineyard is about as far north as you venture, and then only to observe humanity-you know, the common folks-from "a little pier" before strolling over for dinner with two of the more brilliant stars in your friends firmament, television personalities Diane Sawyer and Katie Couric.

You're Peggy Noonan and you're jealous. You pal around with Sawyer and Couric, Jane Fonda, Marlo Thomas, Lily Tomlin -- the world is your aging oyster -- and The New York Times (which is sort of iffy on your writing) admires you for the company you keep. The Manhattan and beltway salon denizens love you. Brian Williams even said he'd nominate you for a Pulitzer, calling your writing "sparkling." Yes, THE Brian Williams, He Who Anchors NBC News, who had an audience with President Obama, to whom he bowed when leaving.

During the 2008 election someone, (and I’ve kicked myself for not saving the quotation) wrote that Palin’s affect was similar to that of holy water on vampires: she makes manifest the deep character in people.

But Podhoretz brings it down to snobbery:

Much as I would like to believe that the answer lies in some elevated consideration, I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that the same species of class bias that Mrs. Palin provokes in her enemies and her admirers is at work among the conservative intellectuals who are so embarrassed by her. When William F. Buckley Jr., then the editor of National Review, famously quipped that he would rather be ruled by the first 2,000 names in the Boston phone book than by the combined faculties of Harvard and MIT, most conservative intellectuals responded with a gleeful amen. But put to the test by the advent of Sarah Palin, along with the populist upsurge represented by the Tea Party movement, they have demonstrated that they never really meant it.

There are some real snoots on the conservative side. Don’t get me started.

Read what else Podhoretz has to say here.

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