Why Do they Hate Palin So?

The move from First Things has made old posts difficult to find in search engines right now. This is reposted by request from reader Mark S.; I found it via google cache, as July 2009 seems to be missing from my archives in the move.

Jim Geraghty is trying to get to the bottom of the over-the-top hate the left feels for Sarah Palin, a hate that seems to intensified, rather than ebbed-away since the election.

Well, some of that may simply be embarrassment. After all, she was supposed to be “too stupid” to be Vice-President, but it’s a sure betcha she would not have given away her own “undisclosed location” or provided the weekly entertainment we get from Joe Biden.

But I kid. Geraghty writes:

My first thought was that it tied heavily to her appearance; in liberals’ minds, conservatives are supposed to look like the couple from the painting American Gothic: Dour and joyless, aged, spartan and frail. Political leaders aren’t supposed to be young, really good looking women, full of energy, smiles and winks.

Hugh [Hewitt] suggested it tied to the contrast between her lifestyle and her critics: “She is the embodiment of the anti-choice, the opposite of every choice that lefty elites have ever made — as to going back home instead of moving to the west coast, having children, having a child with Downs, staying married to one man the whole time, choosing rural or suburban over urban and living a generally conservative lifestyle, working with her hands… That everything she is is the antithesis of everything that liberal urban elites are, so it’s not just enough to say, ‘I disagree with you,’; she has to be repudiated and crushed.”

And now, I would submit a slight refining of that idea, that the seeming happiness of Palin’s life is a 24-7 irritant because it challenges the way some liberals see the world.

It’s a thoughtful piece, and well-worth reading. I think Geraghty gets quite a lot right, particularly as to the left’s rather ignorant perceptions of who and what conservatives are, and he suggests that there is a great deal of complexity to the hate.

He may be correct. Both adulation and hate have their subconscious roots and hidden nutrients. But the excessive Palin-hate may also be as simple as this; Sarah Palin, who came from middle class folk, did not go to an Ivy League school but managed nevertheless to find success as a small business owner, then as mayor, then as Governor of an important state, and she’s managed to “have it all” – family, success, expertise on a crucial subject (oil, gas, energy) – without succumbing to the siren song of leftism.

The truth is, if Sarah Palin had a “D” after her name, instead of an “R”, they’d adore her, and they would be falling all over themselves to showcase her as “the successful product of feminism and the opportunities provided by progressivism!” Hell, they’d even tolerate her having allowed Trig to live, as they could then prop her up as a “big tent, pro-choice Democrat, and you know, a Christian…ist…no, she’s an Evangelica Christian! And that’s…okay!”

This is of a piece with the Dubya-hate. Had a Democrat president kept the nation safe for 7 years after a heinous attack, kept the economy running and unemployment numbers low, even after that attack; had he taken out a murderous despot who gave sanctuary to terrorists like Abu Abbas, liberated millions of people and helped warring tribes forge a tenuous democracy in a region where it was thought impossible, we would have heard that the inevitable mistakes and difficulties of war were “inevitable mistakes,” and there would be talk about Mt. Rushmore. We’d be hearing that “the president did not overspend, the congress overspent,” (though the whole Sallie Mae/Freddie Mac debacle that upset the markets would still be underreported). But because a Republican president did those things, well, we know the rest.

It’s the same with Palin. Put a D after her name, and the story would be completely different; the hate would be the over-the-top, “how’d she get to be the greatest, most beautiful, from-the-ground-up, practical mommy-mayor-goddess ever” coverage we’ve become so used to.

Although, even in that best-of circumstance, there may be something to the idea I wrote a while back, that they hate Sarah Palin because she is not a victim:

They hate her because she is not a victim. And she does not see her son as a victim. And one gets the sense that she has no patience for disaffected drama queens with pretensions to victimhood, or with people who make their livings tearing down instead of building up, in order to keep the victim-mentality alive.

Let’s face it, even if Palin were a Democrat, I’m sure some of the abortion activists would be grumbling that the narrative would be more perfect if Sarah Palin, (D-Alaska) gave a weepy interview to Barbara Walters, discussing her “heartbreaking but right” decisions to abort her Down Syndrome child, who she loved too much to bring into the world and watch as he struggled, and fell behind, and looked different and stuff. Poor Sarah Palin; victim of circumstance, destroying her child in the painful feminist sacramental that makes her “human and like everyone else,” and so paradoxically, makes her a heroine.

The addition of that little story, plus the D after her name? Right now we might all be asking, “Barack Owhata?” Although perhaps Krauthammer is correct when he says she’s not yet a serious candidate for President. Right now, Palin’s more like a rallying point. Also, check out allahpundit’s thoughts on the left’s “contempt for her intellect,”. The Ivy League is deeply saturated in some minds as a definitive value.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Tragic Christian

    I read the Geraghty piece awhile ago, and I think it was totally spot-on. She’s accomplished, dynamic, charismatic, and gorgeous, and made herself without bowing to the tropes of the feminist left or the elite academy. She’s happy, fertile, has a Downs baby and a husband who ain’t no slouch and is a full partner in life. They hate her because someone like her is not supposed to exist — or if she does, is not supposed to succeed. And yet, there she is.

    I would add something else as well: she’s not only beautiful, but she’s sexy. And this really drives ‘em up the wall.

    I was reading a review by some lefty of “Sarah Palin’s Alaska.” The reviewer was talking about one segment — which I saw — of Palin hanging around in her living room, in her shorts, just relaxing and answering email. This was the longest part of the review, because the reviewer hated her and took absolutely any excuse to lessen her … but at the same time couldn’t stop talking about her legs. (Which are stunning, by the way). They just dazzled him, and he hated himself for it.

    They hate her because she doesn’t fit into their version of what they tell each other conservative Christian women are like. She has traditional values, but fits the liberal feminist version of success. No wonder their heads are exploding. Maybe she’s not ready to be President — yet — but the guy who’s got the position now isn’t fit for the job, either. And between the two of them, my money’s on her.

  • Brett_McS

    Yes, ranting and raving has, unfortunately, worked for leftists in the past, in their goal of keeping conservatives inside the reservation the left has staked out for them. However, there is a new breed of conservative about now – with Palin in the lead – who does not fall for that trick, ignores the left’s bluster and makes fun of their impotence and clueless-ness. It’s a scary, scary development for the left. People hate what makes them feel scared.

  • http://breadhere.blogspot.com/ Fran Rossi Szpylczyn

    I do not hate Sarah Palin and I do not hate George Bush, but I also have a very difficult time with both of them.

    Perhaps I misread you, and I am not referring to the links and other writers you refer to, when I read that paragraph about Sarah Palin(D) and the scenario of a tearful interview. I have read it several times now and I hear such a vitriolic tone of contempt, but as I said, perhaps I misread you.

    It seems to serve no one well for people of every political stripe to keep this kind of talk up. If working people up into a lather is the goal, perhaps it is. Otherwise your – and by this I mean you as well as the other writers – simply employ similar tactics and everyone can haughtily stomp back to their corner feeling self-righteous.

    I will take another minute of your time to explain what I am not enamored of her. Sarah Palin is no intellectual but as I am quick to remind my friends who do hate her, she is anything but stupid. To keep branding her that way is… well it is stupid.

    Sarah Palin, in my point of view is rather smart and also very cunning. She understands power and how to wield it and in that environment, she has many friends. People who do not use their power for good are all dangerous, and we find that in every political and religious and whatever other camp.

    The way that she sees the world is one which I vehemently disagree with. Her use of imagery and words leaves me cold. That said, I do not hate her. She is an annoyance to me and I think that she would be a terrible leader for this country.

    This pretty much puts me in the minority around here, I believe. So be it. I guess my real point is that all the broad stroke painting of people as either saints or sinners seems to be less than helpful.

    What am I missing?

    If the answer is that it is in response to what the other side is saying or doing, I simply counter with this… How does that make it better?

    Whoever will lead us out of where we are, and I would happily vote for anyone of any party who might do this, will do so by unifying rather than further division. Of course, we have not seen that in decades, so I have to wonder if it is even remotely possible.

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  • Elaine

    I really appreciate this article about Palin. I have also wondered why people are so against her. Maybe it is because she is a conservative women through and through and has been successful. I have nothing in common with her and grew up in NY and know nothing about hunting, guns and the outdoor life or care to know about them except to enjoy learning about her life in Alaska from her show and see all the things that she does. It is so interesting and refreshing to see how other people live their lives.

    When John McCain picked her and she gave her speech something just ticked inside of me. I just liked her from the get go and saw her as a feisty, independent women who just spoke her mind about who she is and what she believed.

    I now live in the middle of the country and maybe that has helped me live among people who are both liberal and conservative. I left liberal NY for a conservative state but most of my friends are more liberal and I love them. There seems to be an independent streak here and one is not threatened if we differ.

    I like that Palin stands up for herself and does not go and hide under a bushel because she has had so much criticism. I remember one of my kids complaining that Bristol Palin had a baby and all of that and I said to her what is she supposed to do stop living her life because of that. The Palins seem to just keep on trucking!

    Whether Palin can be President who knows but she has every right to stand up there with the big boys and debate and may the best candidate win!

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Palin is pro life. That’s enough to make the Left hate her.

    They also see her as a threat to Obama, and, consequently, to their plans for changing America into something more to their liking. Hence the hate. The Left has no mercy for those it sees as enemies, and they’ve gotten quite good at demonizing them.

    It was Bush, before. Now he’s no longer in office, it’s Sarah Palin. They want to keep the presidency for themselves.

  • Jim

    Well said, Elizabeth. I concur with everything you wrote. I would only add that the hatred started after the Republican convention when she burst onto the scene with her speech that was flawlessly delivered, snarky, funny, inspiring, and sensible in the extreme. The minute she stepped away from the podium, she had a target on her back (to resurrect a recent “hate inspiring” image). Within a week, hedonistic, narcissistic fashionistas in Manhattan, who most certainly didn’t even hear, or read her speech, were wearing tee shirts that proclaimed in bold glitter, “PALIN IS A C***” I saw this on display at Yahoo news, not in an article about misogyny, or hate speech, but under its “fashion” category. I knew then she was public enemy #1 for the Left. They HATE her with such a passion, you’d think they were Republicans :-)

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Fran, if you think Palin’s dangerous, what’s your opinion about Arianna Huffington? Now there’s a scarey person, in my opinion! :)

    One can like, or dislike, Palin from a political point of view, but the hatred spewed at her—and her family—is getting way beyond the merely political, or even the sane! One doesn’t have to support her to think it’s wrong to blame her for the Arizona shooting—particularely when there’s absolutely no evidence to back this accusation up.

    The Left always targets what they see as the most prominent person opposing them. It used to be Bush. Now it’s Palin. As the Anchoress says, if she just had a “D” instead of an “R” by her name, they’d be all over her.

    It’s also troubling that they seem to want to use this incident as a pretext to start censoring speech. . .

  • Bill

    I remember back to the old days, when I was taking classes to be a teacher. We were taught to criticize not the students, but bad actions of students.

    Every once in a while I will listen to afternoon talk radio for a few minutes. The commentators spend most of their time talking about people, not issues. There is a lot of talk about the “messiah”, etc.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Bill, what “messiah” is this?

    I confess, I haven’t heard any radio talk show host talking about “messiahs” lately—unless they’re making fun of Obama.

    Few of them seem to be especially religious, with the exception of Dennis Praeger (out here on the West Coast), who’se a religious Jew; but he doesn’t talk about messiahs either. And he does talk about issues (as do that ascerbic team, John and Ken, on the “John and Ken” show.)

  • SteveM

    I mostly agree with Fran Rossi Szpylczyn. I don’t “hate” Sarah Palin either. But let me add this.

    Palin has glommed onto the gun-metaphor, rural-life-is-superior shtick. But that same shtick implies that Americans who select different life-styles are less authentic. Somehow people who live in Seattle or Boston or Philadelphia and have no interest in guns are delegitimized.

    While some people may indeed hate Palin, many more are simply alienated by her exclusionary conceit.

    Palin has her “Base”. And even if it’s only 20% of the electorate, it’s plenty enough to serve as her cash cow. So that’s the niche she plays to. And she’s happy to alienate everybody else because the effect rakes in more money.

    What America needs is leadership who is indifferent to where someone lives and whether or not they have a gun.

    [This is a repost; regular readers know that my feelings on Palin have evolved; I find her too thin skinned and have other issues with her. But fair is fair, and the nonsense that the press has tried to construct about her "culpability" for last weekend's carnage was unfair and disgraceful -admin]

  • HMS

    I have come upon the Anchoress blog from a link at the Deacon’s Bench which cited the post, “Why Do They Hate Palin So?” I was intrigued, since I have often wondered “Why Are Some People So Enamored with Sarah Palin?”

    When she came onto the scene two and a half years ago, I like so many others was intrigued. Being Catholic and pro-life, I was more than pleased by her choice to deliver her Down’s Syndrome baby. (On a more personal note, I too had a baby in my forties. I did not undergo the amniocentesis test, because I did not want to risk even the less than 1% chance of a miscarriage and I knew that abortion was out of the question for me.) So, I had a connection with her on a personal level.

    Having been involved on both sides of the desk in higher education, I was concerned when I read about her seemingly erratic college record. There are many students who move from one college to another for personal or financial reasons. This did not seem to be the case with Sarah Palin. This behavior set up a red flag for me, as did her resignation from her job as governor less than halfway through her elected term of office. This does not appear to me to be an indication of a dedicated public servant.

    Her Republican convention speech was a gem. But, I must admit some chagrined when she denigrated the work of community organizers. I know some community organizers. They are priests, nuns, and lay people, who have stayed in inner city parishes to minister to communities there. They have developed skills which, I believe, put Gospel values into practice.

    More recently, I have not been at all comfortable with the obvious pleasure she seems to take in making flippant and sometimes inflammatory sound bites via Twitter and Facebook and in her speeches, which brings laughs and applause. For me these are not indications of a person who has the introspective and critical thinking skills that I would want to see in a person seeking a national leadership position.

    Disclosure: I do not hate her. My opinion of Sarah Palin has nothing to do with her party affiliation.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Again, HMS, you don’t need to be enamored of Palin, in order to object to her being accused of being responsible for the Arizona shootings, or to be offended against insults against her daughters, or her Down Syndrome son, Trig.

    And the Palin haters are, I believe, actually causing more people to support her.

    But this really is not about Palin at all, or who does, or who doesn’t, like her; it’s about the Left, and how they handle opposition, and those they see as “enemies.”

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    SteveM, are your friends and neighbors really going around making you feel “deligetizmized” or something, because you don’t own a gun, or don’t live the rural lifestyle? Has anybody said anything to you like, “Well, SteveM, you’re really not a legitimate person, because you don’t hunt, and you don’t live in the country!”?

    I live in a city, I don’t shoot guns, and I don’t feel delegitimized at all. If you depend on politicians, and/or T.V. shows to make you feel good about yourself, you’re never going to be feel legitimate; validate yourself, don’t worry about what others are doing.

    And, again, this is missing the point. This is really not about Palin. This is about the left, and our very leftwing media. Quite honestly, Palin really isn’t the issue here. Remember their rabid hatred of George Bush? Remember how, at the time of the Oklahoma City bombings, they tried to blame that attack on Rush Limbaugh, and talk radio in general?

  • SteveM

    Re: Rhinestone Suderman, “deligetizmized” sic

    Well no, I don’t feel delegitimized at all by Palin or any other politician for that matter.

    There is a feasible mixed analysis in all of this. I.e., Sarah Palin and George Bush are both mediocrities and the Left is reactively imbecilic, with it’s own cabal of mediocrities. Those two observations are not disjoint.

    Incidentally Anchoress, George Bush’s wonderful management of the economy was facilitated almost entirely by huge debt funding of both bloated domestic programs that he expanded and endless wars to apparently nowhere. Bush’s leadership was like a person borrowing 100 Grand a year, living large and suddenly being presented with the bill. Cap that with the impotent financial oversight of his administration and we are where we are.

    So that is America now after Bush’s delinquency, explosively exacerbated of course by the equally obtuse Obama. That sad, anomalous episode in Arizona was merely a diversion.

  • Sham Spade

    People are forgetting the political component. Since Sarah’s arrival on the political scene, American public opinion has shifted from pro-abortion to pro-life for the first time in my memory. Sarah has done more to animate that shift than any other political figure, IMO. In last December’s election, white women voted for Republicans in higher numbers than they did for Dems, also shift of dramatic political import, as the Dem coalition requires the women’s vote to remain viable.

    Sarah is honest. When she says she is pro-life, everyone knows she is telling the truth, even her worst enemies. When Obama says he is pro-life, everyone knows he is lying, even his best friends. When Sarah says religion animates her thoughts and morals, everyone knows that it is true. When Obama says he is religious, most think that he is just assuming an empty pose.

    An honest, principled politician. Scares the living sh*t out of them. Do they hate that? You betcha.

  • http://eternityroad.info Francis W. Porretto

    Sarah Palin is hated by the Left because she committed the ultimate affront: She dared to leave her home, a bastion of traditional virtues, and reveal herself (and those virtues) to the decadent, self-satisfied elites who dominate the national media.

    Sarah Palin is a challenge, a gauntlet hurled into the face of every apostle of mindless hedonism, moral relativism, and cultural surrender. Merely by existing, she refutes the Left on virtually every topic on which it’s orated over the century past. They could only have tolerated her if she’d agreed to keep herself, her virtues, and her evident confidence in them locked up in Alaska, where they wouldn’t offend the Elite’s tender sensibilities. Now that she’s a national figure, she must be denounced…and destroyed.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Well, SteveM, you were the one who said people who live in cities such as Boston, Philadelphia and whatever felt deligetimized, because of Palin. I assumed you were speaking from your own experience. (And, whether you were or not, I’m still dubious about that contention.)

    Sadly, this shooting was not just a diversion; people died, and the Left is using it to push through their own agenda, and silence any and all criticism.

    Palin herself really isn’t the issue. The issue is how the Left, and our elites, are responding to her.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Jim, you’re right, the hatred against her did erupt after the Republican convention, when it looked as if she just might give McCain a shot at defeating golden boy Obama.

    (If she hadn’t appeared, they would have lavished all that hate on McCain himself, probably; now, they claim to love him as a “Maverick” republican.)

  • http://breadhere.blogspot.com Fran Rossi Szypylczyn

    Ah, this amorphous “left.” Really, I would expect and hope for better around here.

    And yes it is a repost, but what would be the point of reposting it other than to inspire all the spew? I do not understand and I actually would like to.

    [A reader, watching the weekend and the IMMEDIATE attempt by some to pin a tragedy on Palin, asked me to repost it, Fran. I reposted it for him. That's pretty much it. :-) Don't overthink a thing. You're a regular reader so it should not surprise you that my thinking in Palin has evolved, but I still wish to be fair to her. What occurred last weekend was unfair. Mark wanted to look backward, at how long this hate has been going on. When even Barbara Walters admits that Palin was treated unfairly, I think that's a pretty sure thing. How do you feel about the way kos (the "left" I think, he would even call himself; let's not pretend there is no "left" or "right.") immediately blamed Palin while scrubbing his own site of "target" rhetoric?

    And Fran, with all due respect, I really don't understand why one would "expect better around here." It's like when a writer at dotcommonweal went on a tangent (not that you are on a tangent) because I used the word "whore" while ignoring the fact that I was responding to a NOW member using the same word, first; that I was responding in context, as well. People need to say what they think, even if it's "impolite" or baser in feeling than we might wish. That's how we process, think and hopefully evolve, don't you think? I'm not convinced that major self-censorship is the way to growth.-admin]

  • SteveM

    Re: Francis W. Porretto – “Sarah Palin is a challenge, a gauntlet hurled into the face of every apostle of mindless hedonism, moral relativism, and cultural surrender.”

    Hoo boy, let me see if I can pull this thread. The point is that correcting mindless hedonism, moral relativism and cultural surrender is generally not the job of government.

    Palin crudely conflates the social with the political because it’s easy, cheap political theater that incites donation churn. BTW, the Pope challenges too. But he understands the difference.

    I’m always amazed at the conservative “thought leaders” like Palin who for example, denounce the trash that comes out of Hollywood. Of course trash comes out of Hollywood. But the non-cheap First Amendment American solution is for Palin and her pals to make their own movies!

    Nah, it’s a lot easier just popping off on Fox TV than actually getting their hands dirty effecting real change outside of the rancid political architecture that’s been erected over the last 40 years.

    Those guys on the Right and their counterparts on the Left are laughing all the way to the bank.

  • HMS

    I was very happy to come upon the Anchoress blog recently, because I am big fan of the medieval anchoress, Julian of Norwich, and thought that her spirituality would be the underpinning (not overt) of the blog.

    “Sin is behovely – it had to be -
    but all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”
    (“Revelations of Divine Love” – Julian of Norwich)

    I hope that the blog is just not a forum for a political agenda.

    [For the last six years this blog has been about prayer--particularly monastic prayer--catholicism, politics, baseball, opera, funny videos, ranting and whatever else has blipped through my mind of a day. The blog name has nothing to do with Julian of Norwich (whom I admire), but alludes to the fact that I am a shy sort of person content to "look out at the world through my little window." I have no theme, except to be myself, here, where I am of a moment. Hope you check in again! -admin]

  • newton

    I think this goes well beyond Sarah Palin.

    Imagine this: after all this, she and her family may decide that they do not belong to this serpents’ nest that our national politics has become, and do something else, apart from all of that. No one has to hear from them ever again. No Sarah Palin to kick around anymore. That’s the wet dream of the Left.

    Imagine if the Palins decided that, just for a moment.

    In a few years, another woman like her (not exactly, but you know what I mean) appears in the national political scene. How will the Left behave towards her? If she’s a Democrat, she’d be a Nobel Prize winner before she ever was nominated, if they had it their way. If she had a child with Down Syndrome, they’d be sure to canonize her and tell the NARAL crowd to shut the heck up, we need this woman in the White House!

    But once a Republican or someone else compares her to Sarah Palin, the warhogs are sent against that person or anyone who dares to make such comparison. “No! She’s NOT LIKE THAT B****, THAT C***!” etc. The Left and the Democrats would do anything short of a pact with the Devil to have her at the big seat of power… because they were able to destroy the political aspirations of another woman just like her, who just inconveniently happened to be a Republican from the “Hillbilly” crowd.

    If that other woman had enough of a fortune to fight legal complaints against her by the dozen, OK. If not, the Democrats would be bathing her in MILLIONS of dollars and the best attorneys in the country.

    By contrast, when Sarah Palin saw all those twenty-four (or was it twenty-six) frivolous and false complaints filed against her for which she had very little money or ability to fight back against, she saw her bank account, her family Quicken and the people who worker around her, and found she couldn’t do it without facing bankruptcy – not even thinking political defeat in 2010, or the trouble her state would be in because of all that. So, what was she supposed to do? Take it in the chin and see herself, her family and her finances sink into the poorhouse? Or cut their losses, cut their enemies at the knees and retreat, to fight another day?

    Hillary and Bill had the money, the resources and the friends (in summary, absolute POWER) to help them fight back: resigning the governorship or the Presidency was out of the question.

    Sarah Palin, by contrast, had a Governorship, but very little power of her own – except for all the characteristics that made her who she is and brought millions of people to notice her. She capitalized on it – no crime in itself. Today, we can all be sure her family will never starve, even if they only had a dollar to their names. They can hunt and fish: their enemies… well…

    All of these events around the Palins will make a lot of regular people who have an inclination for politics – or even a hint of national greatness – to think long and hard before entering the arena and see themselves and their families torn down as if by ferocious, hungry lions. What kind of average Joe wants to see himself or his family in that situation – especially if they don’t have a personal fortune or the right degrees, schools, Ivy colleges or “friends” with which to fight all the attacks that come against them?

    Remember that this “Ruling Class” may like credentials, but they love Power and its perks even more – and they intend to keep it that way. No “proles” allowed – and that includes the Palins, or anyone who may threaten their power. That division between those who consider themselves our “betters” and the rest of the country will eventually not end well, I fear.

  • HMS

    Thanks you, Elizabeth, for your response. I have not followed your blog before and would have liked your posts on prayer. But your latest post reinforces my opinion that there is a political agenda here. I can find this kind of political blog elsewhere if I choose.

  • SCSoxFan

    Ms. Scalia, I’ve been a reader for several years now. We have disagreed about Palin before and I have seen your thinking about Palin evolve, as you put it. I do not know what the “other issues” that you have with her are, but I have to say that I find the “thin-skinned” argument unfair. The woman has been subjected to the most vile and hateful rhetoric from the day she was named to McCain’s ticket, has had her family attacked, down to her (then) infant son, and has had her record twisted, lied about, and outright fabricated. She was raised to stand up for herself and not be pushed around. She has also learned, I think, that if you continually turn the other cheek, politically, all that happens is that the attacks become more frequent and more outrageous. She is often told by commentators, including you, I believe, Ms. Scalia, to be more like Ronald Reagan in dealing with criticism. Well, if you read Reagan’s diaries you see that he bristled strongly at the criticism. I wonder how magnanimous he would be if he operated in the 24/7 news cycle we have today.

    Yuval Levin wrote a very insightful article about Palin right after the 2008 election. One conclusion he reached is that because she does not share the experiences, language, or worldview of the “sophisticated” or the “elite” she is unfit for office. I’ve seen examples of that attitude in this comment section. Palin has not “glommed” on to a “schtick,” as SteveM put it. She was raised in a very rural environment and relates to her experiences growing up, as anyone would, including with hunting. She grew up with guns and hunting to eat and for protection, not for sport. I’m sure you’ve never watched any episodes of her TLC show, but if you had you would have seen Alaska as it is, remote, rugged and, in many ways, still dangerous. That’s how she grew up.

    HMS, I am also tired of people who at least appear to know little of her history say her resignation proves her to be unserious, at least. She was hit with multiple “ethics complaints” from her political enemies after the 2008 election, which left her $600,000 in PERSONAL debt, since the state of Alaska ruled a governor cannot establish a legal defense fund. She also believed that her office was becoming paralyzed dealing with these and other attacks. She felt it was in the best interests of her, her family, and her office to turn it over to her Lt. Governor. You can debate the political wisdom of her decision, but it does not show her to be flighty.

    In all, I guess I’m just tired of the left fixating their hatred on her and other, more sophistcated commenters looking down their noses at a person who speaks in plain, common English. People object to her, rather than to the policies she espouses. I would much rather be governed by someone who uses common language but has solid instincts than someone, like our current One, who has all the “book learnin’” in the world and not one whit of common sense.

    [No reasonable, thinking person can deny that Palin has been savaged unfairly practically from the day she appeared (and if you recall I was predicting McCain would choose her and praising the choice when most people had no idea who she was) I have said - repeatedly, but NEVER enough for Palin fans - that she has many strengths, and there are things about her personally that I admire. But there are things about her, also, that I do not want in a president. Like Obama, Palin seems to feel that she needs to respond to every criticism, and that has worked against her (I am thinking of the Family Guy episode, but I'm not going to rehash that YET AGAIN), and I don't like that she seems to hold grudges which is most emphatically something Reagan did not do. He may have been cautious about opponents, but he did not bring a sense of vengeance into things, which I think Palin does. She's young. She may learn how to be less brittle as time goes on, but she's not there yet. I am not a snob about her education - I frankly think the Ivies are overrated; I am not a "snob" about her speech. I simply don't like some of what I see from her. But let me say in my defense, and it's something that Palin fans never seem to realize...is that even though I am not especially a fan of hers, any longer, I don't "hate" her, and I am curious to see what she'll be in a few more years...more importantly I am FAIR to her. Not being a fan did not prevent me from jumping in fast to say the press and kostypes were way off base. I think I will like Palin a lot better when and if her more fervent fans can admit, someday, that she is not perfect--that may happen when she comes out (and I predict she will) in FAVOR of some kind of comprehensive immigration reform. Right now, the vibe is way too much like the Obama-can-do-no-wrong vibe, and I didn't like that one, either! :-) -admin]

  • SCSoxFan

    Should have read my writing closer before posting — in the second paragraph the sentence on Yuval Levin’s conlcusion should read that she is DEEMED to be unfit for office, not that she is. I get sloppy when I get passionate.

  • jeff

    She is the best. Has more natural class and toughness in one finger than her opponents combined.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    And, once again, the debate devolves into a constant re-hash of, “Is Sarah okay, or isn’t she?”—”She’s dumb! No she’s not! You like her too much! You don’t like her at all! Didn’t she say ‘refudiate’?”

    And so forth.

    This is not the real issue here. In fact, Palin herself isn’t the real issue. If the Left didn’t have her to hate, they’d find somebody else.

    The real issue—one of them—is why does the Left constantly need a target: Palin, Reagan, Limbaugh, Nixon, Fox News, etc., etc., etc., for its collecting loathing, and how do they use this biliousness to influence the public, and try to silence their opponents?

    Remember the Oklahoma City bombing? “Talk radio” and “Militias” were supposed to be the villains then.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    And, of course, there is the anti-abortion thing.

  • Michael Murphy

    I am afraid that the real reason she is so hated is that she did not abort her youngest. She had the “choice” to eliminate an imperfect physical being and she chose not. It is the supreme repudiation of the “choice” philosophy and one that infuriates the left.

  • Robert C

    She is no more responsible for Tuscon than Obama is.

  • SCSoxFan

    Ms. Scalia, I never intended to infer that you were one of the “snobs” looking down at Palin. You’ve never done that. Those comments were directed at some of the commenters on this post, SteveM amd HMS, in particular. I think you’ve been too hard on her for being sensitive, but that is not snobbishness.

    Rhinestone, you’re right, it’s not about Palin. And, I never wanted to engage in an argument about her regarding Tucson. But, the left and their fellows in the media insisted on it, almost at the moment the incident was reported.

    Ms. Scalia, I hope you’ll notice that, as far as being so “thin-skinned” is concerned, she has remained silent throughout all of the attacks on her over this, except for issuing a brief note of condolence. She knows, it seems, that this is not about her and will not be drawn into a fight with the left and the media about her while families have not even buried their dead yet, as much as her enemies wish she would do so in order to attack her more. She will respond, I am sure, but at an appropriate time and in an appropriate manner.

  • francesca

    Well, even people around here despite comments to others to change their approach still seem to feel free elsewhere to continue to outright mock Palin in her attempt to rightfully defend herself from the irresponsible attempt to link an actual person as being somehow behind the actions of a madman. Let the woman speak for herself and try listening for a change before pre-judgement.

  • francesca

    My sense is that what drives the Palin-demonizing phenomenon is the same old, same old: pride. We feel righteous and somehow with it and cool when we pile on. So much so that it is irresistible, even for thinking people who regard themselves as generally tolerant and non-judgmental. We do not wish to risk being regarded as all the things she is painted as somehow being, so we then portray ourselves as the polar opposite of all the horrible things she is labeled to be. We define ourselves in reactionary mode, over and over again. Yet especially for those of us who work in teaching or ministry we must be vigilant about piling on, and even try (as devil’s advocate) to defend those who are most vilified by the mainstream media, if for no other reason to present a blank slate to others seeking our guidance who might be deterred if they witnessed us mocking or ridiculing public figures. Just because shock jocks on the left, or the right, do it doesn’t ultimately make it cool, correct, or even persuasive for the ideals we ultimately stand for. By putting ourselves in the position of mini-shock jocks and spin meisters we just run the risk of cartoonizing the larger, much more important issues at stake. Many in ministry zealously guard their true politics and voting patterns, so that they can let the wisdom of the Gospel speak with that much more force and so that they do not insert their own personalities into the picture. There are great people in all sorts of ministries and vocations who are mindful of their flock and are able to raise the issue without letting themselves get caught on a bandwagon.

  • dry valleys

    Because she makes breathtakingly offensive comments about things like “blood libel” without thinking, knowing or caring about the meaning of her words?

  • Andy

    What I see missing here, and I am new to this site is an acknowledgment that both the right and the left are capable of hate. I do not hate Sarah Palin, nor did I hate George Bush – I am not in love with Barak Obama either. I am looking for a leader who is measured in what s/he says, who does not need to respond to every real or imagined slight and who does not rely on bombastic and to me ugly violent metaphors. I am also looking in a leader to be a person who can speak to all people, not just a base.

    Perhaps when Sarah matures or when we as a country recognize that if we want to aspire to be a role model for the world that violent speech has no place in our discussions.

    I might also ask since many consider the violence on television and video games to lead to violence doesn’t the presence of violent speech from national leaders and syndicated pundits also lead to the possibility of violence? This by the way is aimed at all violent speech from either side.

  • francesca

    I guess it is only “breathtakingly offensive” inasmuch as one believes that it was responsible for media types to attempt to attach her to the killer’s motives in the first place. I doubt very much that she did not think, know, or care about the meaning of her words…in fact it seems quite deliberately chosen in reply to the aura of sensationalism about her which is methodical and a strategy. I mean, she isn’t even in public office at this point, shouldn’t time be spent in our national conversation with people in office who certainly can change the way things are rather than waste breath on ridiculing people who are not elected, whether on left or right? How productive to the work we have before us is it to fixate on her? So she gets dragged in the mud from this incident and, perhaps, people get their wish and she disappears from the media and commentator scene. And that achieves exactly what?

  • francesca

    Totally agree with Andy. It is a kind of red herring and distraction to the tragedy to get all caught up in what various pundits do or do not do, what military or violent imagery politicians on right and left employ in this particular moment and does nothing to win over support for the real problems. In terms of what caused this man to be set off so violently, it seems like the more direct causal link is an almost satanic, entirely violent and threatening favorited youtube music video than the map of Sarah Palin. Yet the leap was made in the early hours, to Palin and nothing else in particular, why is that?

  • Justin

    Is it really a thoughtful piece if its purpose is to make assumptions about people from an ideology that you only seek to condescend?

    I can only state why I personally dislike Palin:

    She is vitriolic: as dry valleys says, she makes many incredibly offensive comments

    She is anti-intellectual: she seems to have dumbed down the conservative movement while also pushing extremism.

    Tied to the previous one, she’s a populist demagogue, that as far as I can tell, feeds on conservative white resentment (but that goes for a lot of “conservative” “mainstream” “pundits”).

    She constantly plays the victim, never actually taking responsibility: “Which newspapers do you read?”

    There is much decidedly fake about her: for example, as some of the people who had watched her reality TV show, she doesn’t actually know how to use a gun. (Not to mentioned, proclaimed that she did while exhibiting poor gun safety practices).

    There is no real fear of her electorally. She is far more hated than Obama, and really, more hated than a lot of politicians in general. In my opinion, she just represents the worst aspects of modern conservatism.

    If Palin were a Democrat, the closest person I could think of was Alan Grayson, and only a few far leftists really liked him all that much. Joe Manchin also ran like a Tea Party candidate, but West Virginia is a different state – most Democrats, if they know him, probably wouldn’t like him.

    I’d just like to say that I expected better from this blog.

  • Pete

    I hate her because she is a proven pathological liar over both importants several unimportant matters, which means she is untrustworthy. More importantly, she refuses to admit how unintelligent, uninformed and unqualified she is to hold public office. Her ambition at the expense of our country is grossly irresponsible and frankly, sinful.

  • jeff

    She is wiping the floor with the lib chattering class. I love it.

  • SteveM

    Justin & Pete,

    Palin needs/ you to hate her. Her shtick is in consciously creating a Manichean political melodrama for her audience which is only 20% of the electorate. Palin’s act is a 21st Century version of Hal Holbrook’s Mark Twain. It’s a one woman show with sound bites and editorials scripted by her staff.

    But Palin is certainly smart enough to reign in the shtick to avoid going too far over the edge to where the MSM stop paying attention, a la Pat Robertson. For example, taking down the gun site map after the shootings. In that regard, she has terrific political sensibilities. (BTW, if Palin was genuinely principled, she would have left the map up.)

    Nope, without the contempt that Palin arouses from her counter-audience, she could never demand $100,000 and regal nits to make a boilerplate speech. She would merely be another Rick Santorum.

    No offense, but you guys are suckers for falling for it.

  • Justin


    I don’t spend my time following Palin around. The most I ever hear of her is because I read the Atlantic and Andrew Sullivan has a weird obsession. In all honesty, I got to the Atlantic more for TNC now anyway.

    In any case, I’ve viewed Sarah Palin the same way I’ve viewed the Westboro Baptist Church.

    First, there was the initial outrage: “How could there be such horrible people in the world!”

    Then there was the slow realization that they are pathological cravers of attention.

    Now, I ignore them whenever possible. Though, reading this post ticked me off less because of Palin, but how it’s such a disingenuous attack on those with whom Elizabeth disagrees.

  • francesca

    That’s all well and good, we’ve established that we can’t bring ourselves to say anything nice about Palin, and we hope she would just go away and disappear, and that is all well and good and yet there are so many troubling aspects of what happened in AZ that have not been even touched upon. Still, the world will be a lot better without Palin in it, is that the point? And good luck with the toning down the vitriolic political rhetoric which demonizes people once you are all done with that one particular woman…Meanwhile, the mentally ill will still be without a safety net, guns will be accessible for purchase and loading by the deranged, and, we can all enjoy such ditties from what is it the guy loved best, the band, “Drowning Pool”? Well, at least we won’t have Palin to worry about! Congrats! Should be smooth sailing with all the rest and no violence from here on out!

    But, wouldn’t we miss not having her to ridicule and call stupid and the rest? Or would we just find someone else to collectively scorn whilst the guns are readily available?

  • Robert C

    Ya know. I am an independant. Sarah Palin doesn’t necessarily float my boat. But at this point I am so tired and disgusted by the misyogny and the pathetic attacks on her by the far left that I will make damn sure to vote for her just to watch the left froth at the mouth, keel over and commit mass suicide. That will eleiminate 50% of the problem.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    LOL, and, once again, the discussion goes right back to, “Palin, Palin, Palin, Oooooh, I hate Palin!”

    Completely missing the broader issues here.

    There are some who just do not get it.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Another disturbing thing about this case, Francesca, is the way that Sherrif Dubnik seems to have actually known quite a bit about the shooter, who allegedly threatened various other people in the area, and was thrown out of his college for his deranged behavior; yet Dubnik didn’t rein him in, or do much to stop him (how was the shooter able to purchase a gun, given what should have been his psychological record?) And now, Dubnik won’t release his records.

    Ahhhh, let’s just hate Palin! It’s so much more fun, and who wants to think about all that heavy stuff, like freedom of speech, or innocent until proven guilty or the responsibilities of the press? That’s too hard!

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  • Max Lindenman

    So everything Democrats loathe about Palin would look lovable in one of their own, huh? Okay, I’ll buy that. But by the same token, if Palin were a Democrat, Republicans would roll their eyes every time she opened her mouth, and damn her for a twit and a hick. Clinton was a Harvard man and a Rhodes scholar, but critics still mocked his vestigal bubba-ness.

    And let’s remember, Palin has, from the very beginning, gone out of her way to make jolly sure people hated her. Stay your swords, Palinistas. I’m not saying she’s an essentially disagreeable character. I’m saying she very shrewdly plays on conservatives’ sense of alienation from the general culture. She says things she knows will shock and offend liberals; liberals hate her for it. The more they hate her, the more conservatives — who have always felt despised and mocked by liberals — identify with her. The more they identify with her, the more they love her.

    It’s called grievance politics. And it works, at least to a point. As Elizabeth has gambed her popularity in pointing out, there comes a point of diminishing returns, when the same pugnacity that draws in Palin’s base, repels people in the center.

    I should know — I’m one of those people. Though a registered independent, I voted for Bush in ’04, and was leaning toward McCain in ’08. (Obama seemed much more decisive than Kerry, but it was obvious many of his decisions were going to involve spending like a madman.) Then came Palin’s speech at the Republican National Convention. When she shot off that line about not seeking the media’s good opinion, I heard, “Screw you.” I am not completely jaundiced toward the MSM; in fact, I have a lot of respect for certain commentators. Anyone who disdains the the media’s opinion so brashly must also disdain mine.

    “Screw me?” Thinks I. “Oh, no, no, no. Au contraire, ma chere: screw YOU.”

    I won’t pretend McCain lost my vote then and there; it took a while longer. But my initial impression of Palin — that she felt nothing but contempt for my sensibilities — colored the way I interpreted all of her subsequent utterances. Her line about “Real America,” for example, really stuck in my craw, as did the tribute to small-town virtue she borrowed from Westbrook Pegler. Even her jauntiness looked like insolence. When she asked Biden whether she could call him “Joe,” I prayed he’d tell her, “Lady, I’ve been in the Senate since you were in a training bra. It’s a scandal you’re in a position to call me anything.”

    In the end, I voted for Obama. Palin wasn’t wholly responsible for my decision, but her influence was decisive. Even now, after all of Obama’s missteps, just thinking about that woman in the White House is enough to reassure me I did the right thing.

    You can mock me if you like — just as long as you remember I’m not alone.

  • Kmackenz

    People hate Palin because she is divisive and hates 1/2 of the country… not Real Americans’ she says. For people to hear a woman with no intellectual status put down the millions of folk who work hard, whose parents worked hard, who’s family members have died in American Wars creates one thing- hatred and disdain.
    If she dishes it out she has to take it.