Sarah Palin, in a speech to the NRA, said that “waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists.” Lutheran journalist Mollie Hemingway calls that blasphemy. Her article in the Federalist includes a shoutout to the Cranach Institute, a quote from my daughter, and a critique of civil religion. [Read more…]
Yet another potential Republican candidate that some people were hoping might enter the fray has said, “no.” Sarah Palin has announced that she will not run. On top of that, Florida governor Marco Rubio has he won’t even accept a nomination for Vice-President.
Over 300 million people in this country and the Republicans can’t find anyone they like to run against Obama?
One of the 25,000 or so e-mails that Sarah Palin’s detractors are making fun of is this one that she wrote to her family about how her new baby Trig has Downs Syndrome: The One Sarah Palin E-mail We Cannot Stop Thinking About | VF Daily | Vanity Fair.
The state of Alaska, following a freedom of information request, has released some 24,000 e-mails from Sarah Palin. Apparently giddy yet overwhelmed with so much information, the Washington Post is putting them online and asking its own readers to rummage around in them and help them look for dirt. The New York Times and the British newspaper the Guardian is doing something similar. See Read the Palin e-mails – The Fix – The Washington Post.
Doesn’t this strike you as unseemly? First, why this obsession over Sarah Palin? The journalists look down on her, and yet they hang on her every word and lavish more attention on her than they give the war in Libya. Second, to turn this trove of private messages over to the public just seems wrong. A journalistic request was legally granted, so let a professional journalist sift through all of the messages to see if they record any wrongdoing. But for journalists to just efface their role as reporters to turn private correspondence over to the public seems highly unprofessional. Do your job and don’t make your readers do it! Am I missing something?
But here is the irony. What has emerged so far from the e-mails is that Palin comes off as a pretty good governor. From a finally sober article in the Washington Post:
Often blunt and frequently impatient, Palin derided “old school” politicians and bureaucrats and acted as a champion of populist interests on issues ranging from energy policy to women’s rights, the e-mails show. Her relations with fellow politicians, including many Republicans, were often strained, and she relied heavily on her husband, Todd, and a close-knit group of aides to help cope with crises and shape policies.
Palin felt passionately about issues of importance to her state, the documents show, and she waged battle with foes large and small. That included detractors on obscure government commissions as well as multinational conglomerates seeking access to Alaska’s vast oil and gas reserves. She twice refers to one major oil executive with a derogatory nickname and complains that phone calls with him did not go well.
And read this amazed account from Politico.com!
Now pundits are drawing back from their initial claims that Sarah Palin and company were responsible for the Tucson shootings, since it’s evident that the gunman Jared Loughner was simply mentally ill and never paid attention to political rhetoric. But now they are attacking Palin for describing the way she was blamed for the killings as a “blood libel.”
That phrase specifically refers to the old anti-semitic libel that Jews mix the blood of Christian children in their matzoh balls. How dare Palin compare criticism of her with the pograms of the Jews, especially in the context of the shooting of a Jewish congresswoman! Oh, how insensitive! Oh, how hateful!
The phrase was first used in this context by conservative blogger Glenn Reynolds, aka “Instapundit.” It has also been used in other contexts and for other meanings without attracting condemnation.
So do you think “blood libel” can only apply to what Jews have been falsely accused of?
Some say that “holocaust” should only refer to what happened to the Jew, though it seems acceptable to speak of “nuclear holocaust.” Some say the same for “genocide,” but it is still used for attempts to wipe out other ethnic groups.
Should “inquisition” be off limits, out of sensitivity to Lutherans and Jews, the two main targets of that persecution?
Is “witch hunt” insensitive to Wiccans?
Should we reserve “purge” for the victims of Communism?
Can you think of other potentially problematic terms, if we are going to go this route?
The media, the intellectual establishment of both the left and the right, and other members of our ruling class are just pouring contempt on figures like Sarah Palin and Christine O’Donnell. They are portrayed as dangerous, extreme, and just plain weird. The criticisms, though, don’t get much traction with the public because these women are so much like the rest of the public.
A review of a new book about Sarah Palin concludes at just how normal she is:
Her beliefs make her what we once called normal, at least in flyover country. There are moms like her, and moms who strive to be like her without ever thinking of it that way and who might even scoff at the idea, on every street and in every neighborhood in America. They run our offices and schools, they run the local diners and band booster drives, and they get the family from Point A to Point B with military precision. Or they try their best to do all that, while trying to work out what they really believe about everything at the same time. Palin managed to do it, even to the point of running a state while going on oceanic fishing excursions with her husband while her political opponents buried her in expensive, frivolous accusations designed to drive her from office. She sent a son off to war. She’s dealt with a pregnant daughter, a worthless almost son-in-law, and a child with special needs. She’s us, pretty much, except that she also happens to have been nominated for the vice presidency and now commands a national following while also attracting a ferocious national opposition that includes most of the mainstream press. Her faith and her values have carried her through all the very high highs and the very low lows that life has thrown at her. The rest of us could only hope that we would handle the extremes of being Sarah Palin with half her grace.
The Faith and Values of Sarah Palin: What She Believes and What It Means for America shows that Mrs. Palin is very much what-you-see-is-what-you-get: an authentically and uniquely American woman whose very ordinary beliefs have propelled her to do remarkable things.
As for Christine O’Donnell, she is being mocked for agreeing with the teachings about sex of her Roman Catholic Church, along with a big percentage of Americans and the world. She is also unemployed, like 10% of Americans, and her house has been foreclosed. It’s odd to hear Liberals mock her for those two things.
The Democratic party was strong when it was “the party of the people.” The Left was strong when it was a populist movement. Think of the collectivism of the union movement, “Solidarity Forever,” “Power to the People.” Today, leftists have become elitists and the Democrats are the party of the “professional class,” people who think they are experts. They are so out of touch with ordinary Americans that they think they are scoring points when they make fun of much of the American populace whose votes they would like to have.
Now, astonishingly, the populists have become Republicans, much to the disdain of that party’s old guard, with its wealth and country club status. This is why the Democrats are doomed. The left will only revive if it can become a populist force like it used to be.
UPDATE: So far, just about everybody who has commented has missed the point of my post: That populists used to be Democrats, and that now they are Republicans. In the olden days, when I was young and a Democrat, the politicians of the party were full of rhetoric about democracy, equality, “the people,” the common man, etc. Republicans were more suspicious of the mob, wanting exceptional individuals rather than the common denominator. Now the rhetoric seems reversed.
I did not mean this to be an endorsement of Sarah Palin or Christine O’Donnell, or even Republicans. Rather, I am trying to give Democrats some advice that, if they want to win elections, they need to rediscover their populist roots, rather than following the strategy of making fun of ordinary Americans.
As for me, I tend to be like the old Republicans, looking for merit, and, again, vocation. I’m uneasy about some of the people I am seeing coming to the fore in the Republican party.