Sarah Palin and the politics of elitism — II

Sarah Palin just won’t go away.

The election is now two weeks behind us, and the news media can’t seem to get enough of her. Last week she was interviewed in her Wasilla kitchen by Fox’s Greta van Susteren (while making moose chili), and by NBC’s Matt Lauer (while making a halibut-and-salmon casserole). CNN’s Larry King also interviewed her, but it was by remote hookup, so he didn’t get to sample the governor’s home cooking. Maybe he can drop by the next time he’s in Wasilla.

Gov. Palin clearly was the star of last week’s Republican Governors Association meeting in Miami. In fact she turned this normally dull conclave into a major media event that rivaled the doings of President-elect Obama’s transition team in Washington. And early this week the news media were reporting stories of a purported $11 million book deal for the Alaska governor.

The apparent reason for all this post-election attention to Gov. Palin was that the pre-election attacks on her never stopped. About a week before the election, one or more unidentified members of Sen. McCain’s campaign staff reportedly leaked stories to the news media about divisions within the McCain campaign centering around the Alaska governor. The anonymous leaker or leakers described her as a “rogue”, a “diva” and a “whack job”.

After the election the attacks got uglier, with the anonymous leakers claiming that Palin did not know that Africa was a continent and not a country, that she could not name the three countries that were part of the North American Free Trade Agreement, that she once greeted two top McCain aides wrapped in nothing but a towel, and that she and her family spent far more than the $150,000 originally reported on clothing, behaving like “Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast”.

While some members of the mainstream media acknowledged the underhandedness of these preposterous allegations — they seemed to be part of an attempt by some McCain staffers to deflect blame for the failed campaign they had just managed — they nevertheless took them seriously because they fit the caricature of the Alaska governor the media had constructed during the campaign. Having convinced themselves, and much of the public, that Gov. Palin was just a dumb former beauty queen, they had no trouble believing the stories.

Refuting this nonsense — does anyone seriously believe she didn’t know Africa was a continent? — was at least part of Gov. Palin’s motivation for agreeing to last week’s lengthy interviews with van Susteren, Lauer and King. And, freed from her campaign handlers, she — at least in my opinion — acquitted herself well. However, that opinion isn’t shared by everyone.

Dick Cavett, that annoying television host from the ’60s who just won’t go away — he just keeps showing up on networks with smaller and smaller audiences — weighed in last Friday with a New York Times opinion piece in which he took Gov. Palin to task for answering an interview question with a run-on sentence.

But Cavett’s attack was a mere spitball compared to Kathleen Parker’s hit piece in Wednesday’s Washington Post. Parker, a putative conservative columnist who’s dislike of Palin has become something of an obsession, faulted the Alaska governor for talking about her faith in public. Parker not only thinks this is bad, she thinks it is going to relegate the Republican Party to permanent minority status.

So, why does Sarah Palin get all this attention? Why do the elites abandon all pretense at rational thought when the subject of Palin comes up?

There can be only one reason: Sarah Palin has become the flash point of the culture wars. A pro-life evangelical Christian, Palin has managed to be successful in a man’s world without in any way sacrificing her femininity or her role as a wife and mother. Furthermore, she actually lives her pro-life views, choosing to carry a Down syndrome baby to term and encouraging her unmarried teenage daughter to continue her own pregnancy. In the eyes of the elites, this is heresy. The modern, liberated woman of the elites’ stereotype would have chosen abortion in both cases.

Over at, Camille Paglia, a pro-choice feminist (and Obama supporter) has written about the “atrocious and at times delusional level of defamation” directed at Palin “merely because she has the temerity to hold pro-life views”. Says Paglia:

How dare Palin not embrace abortion as the ultimate civilized ideal of modern culture? How tacky that she speaks in a vivacious regional accent indistinguishable from that of Western Canada! How risible that she graduated from the University of Idaho and not one of those plush, pampered commodes of received opinion whose graduates, in their rush to believe the worst about her, have demonstrated that, when it comes to sifting evidence, they don’t know their asses from their elbows.

Liberal Democrats are going to wake up from their sadomasochistic, anti-Palin orgy with a very big hangover. The evil genie released during this sorry episode will not so easily go back into its bottle. A shocking level of irrational emotionalism and at times infantile rage was exposed at the heart of current Democratic ideology — contradicting Democratic core principles of compassion, tolerance and independent thought. One would have to look back to the Eisenhower 1950s for parallels to this grotesque lock-step parade of bourgeois provincialism, shallow groupthink and blind prejudice.

I have written elsewhere on this site about the irrationality of “conservative” elitists’ disdain for Sarah Palin. I also expressed the view that this disdain springs from the elitists’ insufferable snobbery. Palin’s crime is that she is not one of them. She doesn’t think like them, she doesn’t talk like them, she doesn’t act like them. She is a gun owner who likes to hunt, a homemaker who can make a meal of the game she kills, a mother who can raise five children, a wife whose husband works on an oil rig.

But, most importantly, Sarah Palin is a religious person who is not afraid to live her faith or talk about it in public. And when she does, it’s not in the manner of someone pandering to a religious audience. She really means it.

And that’s why they’re afraid of her.

From Nolan Chart.