June 12, 2009 - June 5, 2009
Friday, June 12, 2009
The 'Soiled Dove' Theory
It's up to her alone. We
know Obama will do his part.
There's an Ed
up at HotAir about Sarah Palin's appearance on the
Today Show with Matt Lauer. It correctly acknowledges that she
performed well across the board, both on the substance of her response
to tough questions about Alaska politics and on the Letterman
controversy. But then it sounds a warning.
[H]ad the Letterman controversy not
existed, that aspect of her performance [the politics] would have been
the headline here. Instead, the three minutes or so in the middle of
this 11-minute interview that has nothing to do with governing or
policy will be all that the public will remember or want to see.
That could be the overall aim of Palin’s opponents. If David Letterman
has to eat some crow every few months for his personal attacks on
Palin, does that really matter to him? He has a contract with CBS for
the next three years, at which point he’d probably retire anyway.
Letterman and his ilk can continue to make all of the coverage about
Palin revolve around her daughters, forcing her to respond and to look
less serious as a politician, in a way that the media would never do to
a man or to a liberal - as Palin said, no one did it to Obama, nor
If enough of them do it, the downside for her attackers will be small,
and the upside will be to kneecap Palin before she can threaten
Democrats in a future election.
I think this is a dim and short-sighted view of the American political
scene. I would have made this comment directly at HotAir, as politely
as I will make it here, except that my attempt earlier in the week to
sign up as a commenter during the site's 24-hr
so-called "Open Registration"
did not result in the promised email containing a password. Neither did
a polite follow-up request to Ed Morrissey's email address. So. I will
make my response here (longer than it would have been there, of
course), and any of you who are among the elect
comment at HotAir can pass it on to Ed.
There's basically a two-pronged political attack underway against Palin
from the Republican side. There are the snobs we've written
about here before
. And there's a new contingent -- those who are
personally sympathetic to Palin but believe the left has already
succeeded in turning her into Dan Quayle, an instant punchline for
jokes that no longer even have to be made. Morrissey's post is redolent
of the latter prong. However softly it's delivered, the message is,
"Stay away from Palin. She's a walking liability the Republicans can't
afford if they're ever going to regain power." Call it the 'Soiled Dove' Theory. Most popular among those who believe that to accuse a woman is to destroy a woman. More 19th century than 21st if you ask me. But clearly no one did. Nonetheless...
I reject that message. And so should you. Nothing has happened that
Sarah Palin can't overcome if
she's as gifted a politician as she is demonstrably charismatic. To
paraphrase the famous Lloyd Bentsen quote, "We've seen Dan Quayle...
and Sarah Palin is no Dan Quayle." Quayle may have been a capable guy
unjustly ridiculed out of politics, but he never tripled the size of a
crowd for a scheduled political event or brought that crowd roaring to
its feet in acclaim. Palin has
star power. There is
something attractive and authentic about her. That's exactly why she
inspires such irrational antipathy from both ends of the political
spectrum. A lot of the powers that be don't like what's attractive and
authentic about her because it reminds them of their darkest fear, that
there are millions of people out there who don't accept the clear
superiority of constipated policy wonks who know what's better for the
common people than the common people do.
People forget. Note how often this is cited as a weakness of the
American people. But like everything else, people have the strength of
their weaknesses. Maybe what people forget isn't always as important as
the intellectuals and other snobs think it is. (IRONY: This from
today's National Review Online: "An intellectual is someone who can
hear the William Tell Overture and not
think of the Lone Ranger.") For example, Hillary Clinton got bulldozed
out of the presidential race by something akin to a perfect storm
of political opportunism, but not by the mountain of personal,
political, and financial scandals some of her opponents were counting
on. Worst of all, she had been cast in the most humiliating role of the
biggest sex scandal in American political history, and the only way it
figured in to the popular response was as proof that she was a
survivor, a tough old broad who could weather anything and keep on
keeping on. People admire that kind of grit, long after they have
forgotten the details of whatever ordeal was survived.
That's all Palin has to do. Survive. And learn from the premature
thermonuclear attack the MSM launched against her. By the time 2012
rolls around, Obama will have a heavy record hung around his neck that
he won't be able to skate away from. If the press tries to cover for
him by attacking Palin again, the public won't buy it. They've already
heard all this shit before. It's BORING, and she's still here, still
charismatic, and making more sense than any of the other old DC whores
who've been running the country into the ground. And if you in the MSM
had spent half as much time investigating our loser president as you
did the uterus of Sarah Palin, maybe we wouldn't be in the mess we're
The biggest problem with smart people is that they overestimate how
much smarter they are than the people whose stupidity they fear. Both
the MSM and its elite Republican critics think the American people
don't see the liberal bias in the press and pundit class. Of course
they do. Last time, they were rejecting Bush and the Republicans
regardless, so the bias didn't especially irk them, at least not to the
point of protest. Next time, they may be disposed to reject Obama and
all the fools who told them he was something more than an arrogant
young pup who thought he knew more than he did. It may well be that
Sarah Palin -- if, as I've already stipulated, she really is a politician who can
learn, think, and fight -- will be able to point her finger at the MSM
in attendance and say, "These are the people who don't want you to
listen to me. I have only one thing to ask: Listen to me in spite of
If and when that day arrives, everything Sarah Palin has been subjected
to will become an advantage with the electorate. Every American knows
what bullies are, what snobs are, what unscrupulous
what valiant, persevering underdogs are. Ed Morrissey is borrowing
trouble way way
too soon. But
then he's one of the smart guys who see every side of every issue.
Which is why he doesn't have quite enough imagination to see the
improbable yellow brick road that could lead Sarah Palin through Alaska
to the first female presidency in the history of the United States.
Improbable, I repeat. But the odds depend far more on her
and what her real capabilities
are than they do on the continued graceless conduct of the mainstream
media. Or stuffy conservative naysayers. Can a Steel Dove fly? I'm waiting to see.