Palin-hatred, and what it shows
By Daniel M. Ryan
"If you want to know what someone's like, put him in charge." That old saying has a lesser-known complement: if you want to know what someone is like, watch him when he gets angry. What H.L. Mencken called the "purple moment" not only strips aside conscious self-control, but also whisks away built-up habits of politeness and consideration: civility, if you will. The hatred directed at Sarah Palin is as revealing as any other outburst. It gives a glimpse into the liberal mind.
The Evolution Of Palin-Hatred
When Mrs. Palin first stepped onto the national stage, there was actually little hatred. The treatment she got was snooting, which well-adjusted people from faraway places and small towns often face from the urban elite. Tina Fey's act, which some people to this day confuse with the real thing, relied on the stereotype of the "Hick from Wasilla."
Unfortunately for the stereotypers, Mrs. Palin proved to be a rather shrewd Governor of an entire state. Shrewd enough to match wits with the supposedly all-powerful oil companies and emerge the better. This shrewdness came through even in interviews where she had supposedly made a fool of herself (or was made a fool of.) Moreover, she proved to be a quick study on the campaign trail.
At the time, some real hatred showed up courtesy of a certain Mr. Flynt. Hustler released a movie that tapped into an old boys-room stereotype about well-adjusted self-confident women, layered upon the standard "right wing hypocrite" stereotype. Unfortunately for those who delighted in it, that mud didn't stick. Regarding her pro-life principles, she has been very far from hypocritical. Both her grandson and her youngest son were treated as blessings, not inconveniences. It was over this issue that real hatred came wafting out of places that were not obvious sewers. Remember the false claims that Trig was really Bristol's child? Of relevance to that falsehood is the fact that Down's Syndrome is a genetic abnormality.
Later, there actually was some grist for the urban-liberal stereotype about Alaskans being hicks. The trouble was, the hicks were the ones assailing Mrs. Palin. The nuisance lawsuits she faced were reminiscent of the treatment that a backwoods boy would get after making valedictorian and scoring acceptance to MIT. The only reasonable option she had was to quit the Governorship and square off as a private citizen. Doing so would stop the drain on the Alaska treasury for the defence compensation she had a right to as Governor. Hence, the next stage in the attempt to declare her dead: "Sarah the Quitter."
As a private citizen, she revealed a previously hidden talent for coming up with zingers that resonated all over the country. There have been liberal carpers who claim she didn't write America By Heart, but no-one had claimed that she didn't coin the revealing phrase "death panels." Her ability to connect with the country became obvious with her Facebook postings. It wasn't until last year's campaign that we saw another previously hidden talent: the knack of making a supposedly unelectable candidate electable. Her track record in this arena is much better than President Obama's.
Again, the liberals found that they had woefully underestimated her. Hence, the outpouring of raw hatred under the cover of "restoring civility" after the Arizona shooting. Note the latest criticism: her speech defending herself against what she identified as a blood libel being called unPresidential. Mrs. Palin, although very influential, is a private citizen. It was as if an unaffiliated major stockholder, not even on the Board of Directors, was criticized for being less than a Chairperson of the Board. Everyone in management knows what that kind of criticism implies about that private stockholder.
What's amazing about Mrs. Palin's ascent is that, to a greater degree than even most conservatives, she's being "kicked up." In this regard, she's like Rush Limbaugh. Unlike Mr. Limbaugh, though, she's an experienced and quite savvy politician. She may well be carped up to the Presidency.
What The Hatred Of Her Reveals About The Haters
Yes, their heat brings light. Below are some traits that show when the Chautauqua of Hate is on tour:
Notes Towards A Palin Presidency
Believe it or not, it was Stanley Fish who revealed something very perceptive about Mrs. Palin. He picked up on her unegotisticality in his favourable review of America By Heart. He noted that she, as a writer, had the habit of standing aside and letting other writers say their piece through extensive quotations. This habit is that of a teacher, the kind that lets a student say his or her piece without "guidance." Should she achieve the Presidency, it's likely that she'll run her cabinet that way: the very opposite of an egotistical moralizer.
That's how President Reagan ran his cabinet, and he was indeed criticized for it. There were allegations that Don Regan and James Baker III were running personal fiefdoms. His leadership style displeased some, particularly control freaks, but did work well; humility often does. This precedent should answer some questions about her qualifications – to wit, "she's qualified when it comes to delegating."
Her teacher's style answers to another kind of animosity. There are people, not exactly qualified in the humility department, who would be rankled at serving in a cabinet under "Teacher Sarah." I offer the personal opinion that such rankling says more about them than her.