Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Why go crazy over Palin?

The response to Sarah Palin is sometimes startling. There are some on the left who seem to literally hate her for being white and Christian. She is also routinely condemned by left-wing feminists as a misogynistic, anti-feminist patriarchal stooge. She seems also to bring out the elitist strain in the modern left: we are supposed to feel superior by looking down on her as an ordinary, unthinking, unsophisticated white person.

Cintra Wilson is guilty of all these things. She wrote a column on Sarah Palin which included the following:

Like many people I thought, "Damn, a hyperconservative ... Christian Stepford wife" ... Sarah Palin is a bit comical, like one of those cutthroat Texas cheerleader stage moms ... The throat she's so hot to cut is that of all American women ... the thought of such an opportunistic anti-female in the White House ... is akin to ideological brain rape ... I feel it is really time for women to be angry ... Not just with old white Christian patriarchs and their hopelessly calcified, religiously condoned misogyny, but also with the self-abnegating, submissive female Uncle Tommies ...

We must regard Sarah Palin as ... an enabling wife of organized crime, who sees, hears and speaks no evil of the boys in her old-boys network ... The Republicans are in effect saying ... You don't like thinking. Here's an It Girl vice president who is easy on the eyes, you stodgy old white baby boomer ... Sarah Palin and her virtual burqa have me and my friends retching into our handbags. She's such a power-mad, backwater beauty-pageant casualty ...

And on and on it goes. Cintra Wilson manages to fit in negative references to whites; attacks on Palin as a woman-hating stooge; elitist sneers at Palin's "backwater" lifestyle; and undisguised hostility toward Christianity.

Alan Howe writes an opinion page for the Melbourne Herald Sun. He was less vitriolic than Cintra Wilson in his comments on Palin, but he followed the same themes:

we should all be very afraid ... Palin would bring to the White House not just the usual baggage of the deeply conservative American rural constituency, but a fearsome religious commitment ... Palin favours the language of ... inarticulate gum-chewing teenagers ...

A picture beneath Howe's column of Sarah Palin sitting on a bearskin rug was captioned:

Unlike the sometimes deadly evangelical white Homo Sapiens, the endangered grizzly is native to Alaska.

Finally, there's our own Catherine Deveny, regular columnist for the Melbourne Age. This is her considered view of Sarah Palin:

She's the closest thing Republican stragegists could find to a man with a vagina ... New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd likened the Sarah Palin story to the chick flick Miss Congeniality. I think of it more as an in-flight movie. Like Dumb and Dumber ...

The running mates look like an old rich bloke with erectile dysfunction and his white trash trophy wife ... the comedy writer in me really, really hopes Palin gets in ... God-fearing, anti-abortion, book-banning, homophobic, white trash moron. I'd love to see the White House lawn covered in cars up on blocks.

... like it or not, she'll be used as an example of a female politician. Regardless of the fact she should be filed under dangerous white trash fuelled by fear, propelled by power and supported by halfwits ...

Amazingly, having attacked Palin for her race and her class, Deveny goes on to write:

We're at the mercy of the morons. People who vote for race, gender, class ...

She then goes for an extra dose of hypocrisy by writing:

Sarah Palin personifies the cockiness of ignorance. Bertrand Russell said: "Fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts".

Are Catherine Deveny's columns unedited? She writes a ranting, vitriolic attack on Sarah Palin and finishes by claiming that she, unlike Palin, is wisely full of doubts.

The message we get from these kind of columns on Palin is that there are leftists who hate whites and Christians, who are elitist, and who view Sarah Palin as an anti-feminist conservative.

Now, if you are white or Christian or anti-feminist or conservative or if you live an ordinary suburban or rural lifestyle, you might therefore conclude that Sarah Palin is your dream candidate.

I don't think anyone should rush to this conclusion. It's not exactly clear yet where Palin stands on important issues. However, there are reasons to believe that she is not, in her politics, what the left believes her to be.

For instance, it's unlikely that Palin is anti-feminist. She belongs to a group called Feminists for Life; she has written positivley about Title IX legislation, a feminist affirmative action law; and she has spoken of her candidacy as "shattering the glass ceiling" for women.

Camille Paglia, a leading academic feminist in the US, is excited by Sarah Palin's brand of feminism. Having watched a speech by Palin, Paglia tells us that:

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.

Palin might not follow all the usual patterns of an established left-wing feminism, but this doesn't necessarily make her a traditionalist.

It would be a mistake to support Sarah Palin on the basis of left-wing denunciations of her as a conservative. We'll have to see how she performs as a politician, what political positions she takes and what larger political effect her candidacy has - and on this basis decide how well she represents a genuine conservatism.


  1. The more the media (and in particular foreign or feminist media that makes its way around like this Canadian piece), the more people seem to rally around her. Whether is is good or bad, Americans bristle at the thought of foreigners looking down on them as "white trash" and unthinking idiots and seem to instinctively do the opposite of what those with that view want. The more this gets published and back to Americans, the more they will be drawn toward Palin.

    In 2004, the Guardian newspaper in the UK got a list or registered independent voters in Ohio and encouraged their readers to write to people and tell them why they should not re-elect Bush. This made those voters so mad to read those letters - they viewed it as pompous, snobby Brits sticking their nose where it doesn't belong. Ohio - a state Bush could not win in 2000 - went to Bush by a few hundred votes. I predict a similar outcome as the foreign press continues to campaign for Obama.

    A lot of women I hear are complaining about the hypocrisies of the feminists saying " I thought they wanted successful women." People are now realizing that they only want liberal women - in particular pro-abortion ones - in power.

    I guess I don't need to tell you that those two articles contain factual inaccuracies: she never wanted rape victims to pay for their own kits, she never banned any books (this one is rich considering it is part of the Democrat's platform to take conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh off the air), she never opposed all forms of birth control, she never cut funding to programs helping teen moms (she actually increased it.)

  2. People are now realizing that they only want liberal women - in particular pro-abortion ones - in power.

    It's even worse than this. Some of them seem to get "crazy mad" at the idea of a non-leftist woman being elected, as if it were some kind of nightmare outcome.

  3. Liesel, I just read that Canadian piece you linked to. Yes, it's another shocker, full of sneering references to "white trash".

    Like some of the other pieces it questions Palin's status as a woman ("she isn't even female really"). There's also the same resort to sexual insults (Republican men are "sexual inadequates"; Palin has "a porn actress look").

    Unfortunately, it's more evidence of just how twisted the Western political class is: immature, ranting and hate-filled and completely alienated from the white mainstream.

    Still, we have to judge Palin carefully on what she really represents, rather than give her our automatic support just to spite women like Heather Mallick or Catherine Deveny.

  4. I've never understood the left's hysteria over Palin.

    Obama had the sense to admit one thing: despite leftists saying the exact opposite, Palin is a very smart politician. A VP nominee has never in living memory had such impact on a Presidential race.

  5. This violent reaction by so-called liberal-minded women and men, the majority in the US, really says a lot about the state of our society. That the shock of Palin disturbed their collective psyche so deeply seems to indicate that they were badly deluded to begin with, swept away by the incompletely fulfilled promises of the 1960s revolution. Someone with a balanced and healthy perspective on "gender issues" does not react like those authors cited here.

    I suspect many of the feminist progressives had assumed that by now the values represented someone like Palin were politically relegated to Tennessee hog farms and "chaw" support groups. That she is trotted out as veep candidate is simply too much for them to bear. For the rest of us it is a reminder that the Left has not triumphed altogether, though the nature of her "conservatism" remains to be seen.

  6. Typical pseudo-individualism from the liberal left.

    Rugged individualism in a woman is good, as long as it comes in a left liberal package. If it comes in a right wing package then its bad.

    These attacks on Palin are just a re-hash of attacks on previous successful right wing women like Margaret Thatcher.

    Paglia is at least a consistent feminist in that she is willing to complement successful women on both the right or the left.

    In reality Palin is probably more right liberal than conservative. For example,from what I've been reading on US conservative sites she's soft on immigration and supports neoconservative views on foreign policy.

  7. The reaction of the Democrat-cum-progressive commentariat upon Gov. Palin's nomination is simply astounding.

    If they collectively had managed to suppress their outrage for even a couple of weeks, more likely than not the Republican and conservative opinionators would probably have started their own forensic examination of her and the McCain-Palin campaign might have missed a bounce while the Right tried to assess her 'wildcard' entry.

    Instead, the Obama cheer squad took one look at her and came to a collective heartattack about the potential threat she clearly posed and in the finest tradition of juvenile minds that have never moved beyond college journalism, fired every single verbal volley they could find or make up about her.

    And while the Republican convention was still scratching their heads about Gov. Palin - they weren't so dumb that they didn't realise that the immediate barrage from the Anti-Sarahs was telling them something significant.

    Clearly the next few weeks for both the Americans and the rest of us should be a debate about policy positions between the Democrat and Republican contenders.

    But this far into the campaign one of the biggest single issues remains Gov. Palin's candidacy in and of itself. Which is frankly dumb and outright childish, because for sure they are driving potentially undecided voters into the McCain/Palin camp by the sheer venom of the attack on her 'middle American'-ness.

    She has a son deploying with the Army to Iraq for goodness sake ( as does both McCain and Sen. Biden - in a complete political and operational nightmare for the Army ); and so implying to America she is some sort of unfit mother is saying exactly what to the mothers of other US service personnel ??

    There will be a lot of blame and fingerpointing if Obama is not elected, but it while probably take a long time if ever for the so-called progressives to realise that they probably cost themselves a heck of a lot of potential votes by openly casting such scorn and derision on what Middle America probably now sees as 'Our Sarah'.

  8. She's normal, "American", confident and a woman and that's a big deal in politcs.

  9. "Cintra Wilson is guilty of all these things. She wrote a column on Sarah Palin which included the following:"

    She's a dike or an ugly shrew. Palin is hot and it pisses off the ugly women and dikes (who are also ugly women). Ducks quack and haters hate.