Taylor Marsh, who is a very smart woman whose knee does not jerk, asks the question, and it’s a revealing one. Despising her as they do, the question suggests that -beneath the disdain- they appreciate what she brings with her. At least Marsh does:
Mrs. Palin’s politics aren’t for me, and though I pine to see hot headliners from the left, instead we get the likes of Claire McCaskill, Kathleen Sebelius and other Obama blue dog duds, with no women of any wattage in sight.
As much as they savage her (beyond anything I’d ever seen perpetrated against a politician) and flip feminist notions in order to denigrate her (who can forget the “shouldn’t she be home with that retarded baby?” meme) the left understood very clearly that -as Camille Paglia wrote- Palin is both photogenic and a powerful natural before a crowd.
Conservative though she may be, I felt that Palin represented an explosion of a brand new style of muscular American feminism. At her startling debut on that day, she was combining male and female qualities in ways that I have never seen before. And she was somehow able to seem simultaneously reassuringly traditional and gung-ho futurist. In terms of redefining the persona for female authority and leadership, Palin has made the biggest step forward in feminism since Madonna channeled the dominatrix persona of high-glam Marlene Dietrich and rammed pro-sex, pro-beauty feminism down the throats of the prissy, victim-mongering, philistine feminist establishment.
For all of her weaknesses -and she has them- I have said from the start that if Sarah Palin had brought precisely the same life-story into politics (middle-class woman who worked her way through school, who married her high school sweetheart, owned a business with him, and met payrolls; a mom who started in politics by going to PTA meetings and became the Governor of an energy-rich state while raising kids; a women who could shoot and dress a moose, a runner) plus carried a D after her name, and not an R, why she’d be the toast of the Democrat party, today, the very model of the “do it all, have it all, self-sufficient woman.”
I’ve become agnostic on Palin, myself. I have reservations about her. Where she is weak, I don’t see her getting stronger; she seems content to ride the wave, for now. But her strengths are politically formidable. The woman can communicate; she is touched with that quality of energetic “American Genius” that is both elusive and tantalizing.
The Democrats see those strengths, too, and they understand that when you have the media on your side -as they surely do- then weaknesses can be covered up or ignored, while the strengths are burnished into phenomena. For them, everything about Sarah Palin is just awful. And boy, do they wish they had one of her.
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