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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Some Palin Perspective

(Cross-posted from America Needs Me)

Maybe some of the Obama Kool-Aid is wearing off in the waning days of the 6000 year campaign. Perhaps some people decided to take a real look at the Emperor-in-Waiting. Whatever it is, some small bits of perspective have been escaping the Obama Thought Suppressor and being revealed, hopefully in time.

The most interesting yet is from Elaine Lafferty, the former editor-in-chief of Ms. magazine. Lafferty is a pro-choice Democrat and former feminist activist but she has been consulting the McCain campaign (because he is the one who actually does reach across the aisle) to help with a speech on women's rights that Sarah Palin wants to give.

Lafferty addresses the dismissal of Sarah Palin as unintelligent by many media elites (code for "brain dead"), both left and right. Her assessment:

As Fred Barnes—God help me, I'm agreeing with Fred Barnes—suggests in the Weekly Standard, these high toned and authoritative dismissals come from people who have never met or spoken with Sarah Palin. Those who know her, love her or hate her, offer no such criticism. They know what I know, and I learned it from spending just a little time traveling on the cramped campaign plane this week: Sarah Palin is very smart.

This isn't just a quick wink and a nudge to a beleaguered sister, Lafferty explains in detail why Gov. Palin is smart.

I mean, instead, a mind that is thoughtful, curious, with a discernable pattern of associative thinking and insight. Palin asks questions, and probes linkages and logic that bring to mind a quirky law professor I once had. Palin is more than a “quick study”; I'd heard rumors around the campaign of her photographic memory and, frankly, I watched it in action. She sees. She processes. She questions, and only then, she acts. What is often called her “confidence” is actually a rarity in national politics: I saw a woman who knows exactly who she is.

I think it's that last line which has been driving Palin's detractors to act like psychotic chimps in a feces-flinging frenzy. They have spent two months attempting to define Sarah Palin with mostly lies and the silly, small town country bumpkin wouldn't let them do that. It's driving them absolutely insane.

There are people in certain parts of this country who believe that geography determines the proportional influence in political and cultural debate. They believe that they are the beginning and end of such discussions. Why? Because that is what they have been telling themselves all along. Spend your time with only people who agree with you and you will never be proven wrong.

I just spent two weeks in Manhattan. My friends and colleagues back there have no idea how to react to Sarah Palin in a rational way. She's from the West. She went to a state college. She hunts. She has a twang. In short, she is the kind of person they've heard about but have never bothered to wander outside of their neighborhoods and meet. How dare she presume to know anything or be anyone? I fielded questions about her that I usually never bothered to answer because they were so naive yet asked with such dripping condescension. I felt like patting the poor dears on their heads and letting them continue to revel in a perceived superiority complex that was crafted almost wholly out of ignorance.

There is an unwarranted smugness that comes with living in Los Angeles or New York or Washington, D.C. People seem to feel that the ability to pay extortionist prices to live make them superior. It never occurs to them that someone who can buy twice the house with half the money might be thinking more clearly.

Lafferty clarifies the differences between leftist feminists and Gov. Palin.

For the sin of being a Christian personally opposed to abortion, Palin is being pilloried by the inside-the-Beltway Democrat feminist establishment. (Yes, she is anti-abortion. And yes, instead of buying organic New Zealand lamb at Whole Foods, she joins other Alaskans in hunting for food. That's it. She is not a right-wing nut, and all the rest of the Internet drivel—the book banning at the Library, the rape kits decision—is nonsense. I digress.)

Then she hits the point that I believe will make Sarah Palin stronger in the future no matter what happens next week.

I am obviously personally pro-choice, and I disagree with McCain and Palin on that and a few other issues. But like many other Democrats, including Lynn Rothschild, I'm tired of the Democratic Party taking women for granted.

The Democrats have been doing a lip-service, smoke and mirrors job with women and minorities for a long time now. Absent any clear, fundamentally sound vision for America, the modern Democratic party has had to deal almost exclusively in identity politics. Their nightmare this year was that their two mainstays of identity politics went against each other in the primaries. One group stood a good chance of being alienated. When the Republicans reached out to women with the choice of Gov. Palin the hardcore leftist women were quick to excoriate her for not participating in group think.

Not all women on the left are hardcore NARAL and NOW activists, however. The hard working pragmatists who have to manage seemingly unmanageable work loads will notice the condescending tone in the promises of the Democrats and remember the dump the party took on Hillary Clinton. If not in this election, then very soon.

A final quote about Sarah Palin from Lafferty:

Will Palin's time come next week? I don't know. But her time will come.