The Right has pinned on Sarah Palin its fantasies of vengeance on the Left. That’s why they love her.
Their sudden adoration has little to do with her stand on issues, other than abortion. They’ve slapped the label “reformer” onto her without knowing, or much caring, that she really hasn’t reformed much.
All you need to know about Palinmania is summed up in this headline: “Why They Hate Her : Sarah Palin is a smart missile aimed at the heart of the left.”
First, I have examined myself carefully and asked myself, “Do I hate her”? I can’t say that I do. I don’t feel much of anything for her, personally. I hate the mean-spirited and dishonest politics she engages in, however.
The writer of the above-linked article, Jeffrey Bell, writes,
From the instant of Palin’s designation on Friday, August 29, the American left went into a collective mass seizure from which it shows no sign of emerging. The left blogosphere and elite media have, for the moment, joined forces and become indistinguishable from each other, and from the supermarket tabloids, in their desire to find and use anything that will criminalize and/or humiliate Palin and her family. In sharp contrast to the yearlong restraint shown toward truthful reports about John Edwards’s affair, bizarre rumors have been reported as news, and, according to McCain campaign director Steve Schmidt, nationally known members of the elite media have besieged him with preposterous demands.
Sorry, Jeffrey, I don’t feel particularly “seized.” Yes, there has been some under-sourced speculation about Palin on the web, although IMO the speculation never reached full blogswarm intensity. And several of us leftie bloggers were actually attempting to get the speculators to chill before the Palin campaign itself dropped the Bristol bomb.
There was “yearlong restraint” toward “truthful reports” of l’affaire Edwards? The Enquirer didn’t break the story until this summer, did they? I know I had heard nothing about it before then.
As far as the “preposterous demands” go, however, Jeffrey doesn’t tell us what they are. I can only guess they have something to do with Palin clearing up inconsistencies in her record as a politician. How dare they!
After accusing us of “disproportionate, crazy-seeming rage,” Jeffrey continues,
The most important thing to know about the left today is that it is centered on social issues. At root, it always has been, ever since the movement took form and received its name in the revolutionary Paris of the 1790s. In order to drive toward a vision of true human liberation, all the institutions and moral codes we associate with civilization had to be torn down. The institutions targeted in revolutionary France included the monarchy and the nobility, but even higher on the enemies list of the Jacobins and their allies were organized religion and the family, institutions in which the moral values of traditional society could be preserved and passed on outside the control of the leftist vanguard.
Today’s American liberalism is just a continuation of the French Revolution? Let me say I don’t think Jeffrey is crazy-seeming. I say he is certifiable.
Jeffrey rambles on, trotting out all the old bugaboos of the Right — Marx, socialism, communism, and sex — before he finally gets to feminism, another evil, without noticing that were it not for women’s lib Sarah Palin’s political career wouldn’t have gone beyond PTA President.
What you don’t see in Jeffrey’s little screed is the least interest in how Sarah Palin might actually function as POTUS, given her lack of experience. Such things don’t matter to the Right. All they care about is acting out their emotional pathologies and their obsession with a Left that exists only in their own imaginations.
Update: See Joe Klein, “No, Actually, It’s that the Economy Is Falling Apart” :
It has been fascinating to watch the right-wing press lap up the anti-media nonsense put out by the McCain campaign’s Steve Schmidt regarding Sarah Palin. The latest is Jeffrey Bell, in the Weekly Standard, who makes the media’s attempt to find out just exactly who Palin is part of a seamless, anti-clerical cloak that goes all…the…way…back…to…the French Revolution:
It has been fascinating to watch lapdogs like Klein slowly realize that the Right’s public intellectuals are all a few fries short of a Happy Meal.
What you don’t see in Jeffrey’s little screed is the least interest in how Sarah Palin might actually function as POTUS
It’s worse than that; the only specifications of any kind offered, much less qualifications, are that she’s “poised” and a “pro-life mother of five.”
I wonder if he’d by my junker car if I said it “features an internal combustion engine.”
The labels, the labels – what would wingnuts do without them. Nevermind that Lenin hated liberals calling them all “useful fools.” Would I have been admitted into the Communists Party? Not on your life.
Little did I know that the ‘family’ was destroyed in 1797 by the French Left. Obviously the immoral leftists didn’t do a very good job since of all the peoples making up the West today, the French are the most family oriented.
The Right has declared to the press, the Obama campaign and who-knows-who-else that Palin is ‘off limits.’ Apparently it’s her gender that qualifies her as untouchable, uninvestigatable, and unchallengable. I always knew that righties were closet sexists.
The “preposterous demand” was apparently the question of a DNA test for Trig’s parentage. Except that no one else who was in the room at the time remembers it that way.
Jeffrey’s history lesson is incomplete. What he doesn’t tell you is that the French Revolution was inspired by those damned leftists who fought for American independence, a decade or two earlier. Adapting Jeffrey’s own words:
In order to drive toward a vision of true human liberation, all the institutions and moral codes we associate with civilization had to be torn down. The institutions targeted in revolutionary America included the monarchy and the nobility…
Jeffrey, why do you hate America?
BTW, America at that time was very much a liberal nation – the conservatives of that day were called Tories, they fled to places like Canada.
I’ll admit that for me, my thing with Sarah Palin goes beyond the mean-spirited and dishonest politics she practices. I find her revolting, and I suspect many of the donors who gave $10 million to Obama in the day following Palin’s speech – including myself – do too. Good for you maha that you can maintain your equanimity about her, I’m finding it a bit difficult.
The more that people dig into her background, the more disturbing it gets.
In the meantime, fantasy loving righties like Jeffrey do indeed see her as their very own smart bomb.
I don’t hate Sarah.. But I do resent her. Not her personally, but I resent her being a willing pawn in McCain’s grab at devisive politics. It bothers me tremendously when someone claims to put country first, while their actions show a bold contradiction to their claim. There’s absolutely no denying that Sarah lacks the minimal qualifications to advance to president should McCain be unable to fufill that role.
Prior to watching Palin’s acceptence speech at the convention, I only saw two videos of Sarah Palin. In both of them she seemed sweet and genuinely concerned for the people and the State of Alaska..She displayed qualities that drew me to her as a person, but after watching her cutting and sarcastic speech at the convention..I saw her through different eyes. She had lost what I would consider her potentially most valuable asset.
Obama on the other hand seems to understand that it’s easier to tear down than to lift up as he chooses the path less traveled.
In a mirror-image, projective kind of way, Jeffrey gets the history. He and the court of Louis XIV were beset by rabble, and it’s happening again.
“Why They Hate Her….”
Once again, without any information, a Rightie pretends to speak for liberals.
I certainly don’t hate her. I find her parenting decisions appalling, and wish she’d take them back to Alaska so I didn’t feel the urge to call Social Services every time her family is on TV. I consider her V.P. nomination insulting to women of real accomplishment in the GOP, such as Christine Todd Whitman, Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, even Elizabeth Dole. I see her “qualifications” for V.P. as worse than nonexistent: she’d be a danger to the nation, if something happened to McCain.
Last night someone on wonkette posted a couple of “criminal” citations Palin received in 1993. Since looking up statute violations is part of my day job, I did a little research on these citations. Turns out Sarah was “pulled over,” if you will, by Alaska Fish & Game for violating two regulations: commercial fishing without a photo ID (dismissed); and failing to register a net used for salmon fishing in Bristol Bay (no contest). To be honest, the mental picture I got of 29-year-old Sarah out commercial salmon fishing (the tickets were in her name, so she was the one “pulled over”) actually made me admire her a little bit.
No… I don’t hate Sarah Palin. The Right gets me wrong, yet again. But I am extremely critical of McCain’s choice of her for his running mate. Based on her political history and orientation, which are widely reported by now, I have every reason to be.
Jeffrey Bell wishes the Left was so upset about Gov. Palin. It would support the sense of persecution and victimization that generates such a core energy for those of his political persuasion.
So far, most of what I’ve seen has been about answering the question “Sarah who?”, and simply proceeds from simple skepticism that a person few had heard of two weeks ago is the best choice for President of the United States, (which is really what we are talking about, since McCain is no spring chicken.)
It may rock Bell’s world to see it as another front, part of the over-arching liberal conspiracy against which he and his fellows have been battling in their self-imagined Last Stand against … well, whatever the hell it is they think they’re fighting. But really, he flatters himself.
It’s merely that, in the Real World, one is expected to present some evidence to back up grand claims, such as “This woman should become Vice President.”
Still, the part of me that enjoys ecological diversity appreciates the fact that there are, to this day, still people willing to stand on the side of Marie Antoinette in discussions of the French Revolution. I’d thought them extinct.
Jeffrey Bell, intellectual coelacanth.
Jeffrey Bell, intellectual coelacanth.
Whether the right likes it or not, we’re going to do our own vetting. We, however, are way nicer than anything the right has ever done. We hated it when they went after Chelsea, making horrible statements about her. “Vetting” Bill over Monica when it had nothing to do with his governance. They deserve a full fledged dragging of the daughter through the mud. If they don’t like it, tough shit.
I find the term “vetting” annoying. Having assumed it had something to do with being a veteran, I was amused to find out that it originated with veterinarians who were checking out race horses.
Well, this is a race and Sarah does have a nice set of teeth so maybe that’s all they looked at.
They deserve a full fledged dragging of the daughter through the mud.
Mmmmm… I disagree. We can’t remind them of their crap (toward Chelsea Clinton, for instance) if we engage in identical crap of our own.
I guess it’s just the way I was brought up. I came from a “two wrongs don’t make a right” household, rather than a “turnabout is fair play” one.
I do think pointing out candidate Palin’s family situation, in light of her sex-ed opinions, is fair. I also think pointing out that the Right is perversely celebrating this teenage pregnancy, is fair.
Unless Sarah Palin’s a robot (is the jury still out?), all the roles of her life– woman, daughter, sister-in-law, wife, mother, student, churchgoer, businessperson and politician– deserve scrutiny, for the quality of her decisions and actions. She’s on a presidential ticket, for flip’s sake. Bristol Palin, on the other hand, is a minor child in a bad situation, and IMO, she’s being victimized enough by her mother and the GOP.
“The surge has worked beyond our wildest dreams.” -Barack Obama
They deserve a full fledged dragging of the daughter through the mud. If they don’t like it, tough shit.
Completely disagree. Leave the poor girl alone.
Sarah does have a nice set of teeth so maybe that’s all they looked at.
Not if you’ve seen the video of McCain introducing her as his VP choice. The part when she’s at the podium, and he’s standing behind her. Very creepy.
Last night someone on wonkette posted a couple of â€œcriminalâ€ citations Palin received in 1993. Since looking up statute violations is part of my day job, I did a little research on these citations. Turns out Sarah was â€œpulled over,â€ if you will, by Alaska Fish & Game for violating two regulations: commercial fishing without a photo ID (dismissed); and failing to register a net used for salmon fishing in Bristol Bay (no contest). To be honest, the mental picture I got of 29-year-old Sarah out commercial salmon fishing (the tickets were in her name, so she was the one â€œpulled overâ€) actually made me admire her a little bit.
You admire someone for thinking that the law applies to everybody except her and her family? That’s also what she feels about reproductive choice; do you admire that too?
What a horrible analysis of Bell’s piece.
He in no way objects to feminism. He merely observes, correctly, that Palin represents a different kind of feminism that shatters the mythology that the left has been perpetuating for the last 40 years.
Did you actually read the entire piece?
When you’re buying a plow horse you check out more than just the teeth… you check out the hind quarters.
I love the name “intellectual coelacanth.” Jeffrey Bell’s screed reminds me of a letter to the editor written by a local college student in my local paper condemning the French Revolution for leading to the decline of the old order and old morality. It has been an article of faith for some on the Right, including the late wingnut novelist Taylor Caldwell, and Pat Robertson, to believe the French Revolution was one of the starting points for a decline of civilization and there was a conspiracy of folks behind it. This sort of conspiracy-flavored thinking has been a staple in both the nuttier parts of the American Right and the European Right for centuries, and it is bound up with anti-Semitism and anti-modern sentiments. What is ironic is that the nuts think the American Revolution was OK, ours was fine, guided by God, and all that, but to Europe, it looked like a threat to entrenched wealth and privilege. It must also be remembered that Louis XVI encouraged the American Revolution with arms, soldiers (remember the Marquis de La Fayette) and naval assistance to allow the American colonists to fight the British troops. The historian Olivier Bernier notes that upon becoming king, Louis XVI rejected any attempt to institute the political reforms favored by his grandfather Louis XV, and from the beginning, he was dependent upon the support of the more reactionary nobility.
The American Revolution differs from the French Revolution in that in the colonies, the popular fervor against Britain preceded the actual break with Britain by about twelve years. The 1762 Stamp Act helped light the fires of discontent with the home government in Britain, and by the time the war actually broke out in 1775, any popular fervor was subsumed into the effort to fight the war. By contrast, in France, the initial fervor grew with the storming of the Bastille in 1789, and grew even more in the subsequent years.
Correction-the Stamp Act dates from 1765.
But er uh
“McCain’s grab at divisive politics. ”
I agree with Swami.
Divisive politics is here to stay.
Palin can use divisive politics and provide red meat to the righties.
I’m glad Biden is staying with issues.
I have a friend whose firm watches the electoral polls.
They still look good for Obama so let’s stay cool.
Ive been hearing the word “creepy” used alot lately to describe Palin, and by people of various views. This could have Terri Schiavo potential if handled right, esp when it comes to that perennial “independent voter.”
This “damned if you do, damned if you dont” predicament has got to be dealt with. Glenn Greenwald and several others have recently opined that the Dems will lose once again if they try to “take the high road.” This certainly resonates. It becomes a q. of HOW to attack smartly. This whole setup of the right playing the victimization card is just a smokescreen to try to insulate Palin (and McC, for that matter) from any and all scrutiny. That needs to be blown out of the water. We should ignore the wailing and the clutching of pearls and go on a relentless but smart, strategic attack.
Barry — Not only did I read the entire piece, I am old enough to have read The Feminine Mystique to have called myself a feminist back in the 1960s. Don’t bother explaining it to me. I was there.
Sorry folks, I must say I really don’t even agree with my above comments (Drag the daughter through the mud et al.). What I do get frustrated at is that we on the left appear to want to play by some set of rules, ie. families are off limits, it’s about the issues, while the right doesn’t play by any of them. They outright lie and smear from their convention speeches. Sometimes I just think that we were invited to a knife fight, they brought a gun and we brought a, well, fill in your own metaphor.
I did a bit of research re : Wasilla this morning. Wasilla has roughly 2,000 households, is a “suburb’ of Anchorage, and takes up approx 12 sq. miles .
It is what it is.
About 15 years ago, I got a call from a former employer in Ketchikan, saying he was in town, and asked if we coud get together for dinner or a drink, he said he brought the mayor of Ketchikan with him. I told him to come on over, and shortly was hosting the mayor of ketchikan Alaska in my home!
The mayor was a kindly fellow named Jack. Jack’s day job was driving a taxi cab in Ketchikan. Now I’m not saying there is anything wrong with driving a cab, and indeed that could be a testament to the reality based world of Alaska where a cab driver could be the mayor (or a commercial fisherman, logger, float plane pilot, grocer, etc) . I don’t know how diffilcult of a job being the mayor of Ketckikan Alaska is, but Ketchikan is a wee bit bigger than Wasilla.
I do not hate Sarah Palin, how could I hate someone I never met?
What concerns me is the hype surrounding her because she is a woman from Alaska. How will she and McCain “shake-up” the Washington establishment when their party IS the establishment?
Will our fallen soldiers STILL return to Dover AFB hidden under the cloak of night? Exactly WHAT will change? Wasilla is a bit smaller than Ketchikan…..How does being a Mayor of a small Alaskan town prepare one for being VP? I feel like this is the theater of the absurd. Is this election going to boil down to Guns, abortion,patriotism,security, and gays again? I fear it may
You admire someone for thinking that the law applies to everybody except her and her family?
No, that’s not even remotely what I said I admired, which was, precisely:
the mental picture I got of 29-year-old Sarah out commercial salmon fishing.
You cut & pasted without first reading & comprehending. Can’t help you with that, sorry.
That’s also what she feels about reproductive choice; do you admire that too?
Wow. I hope you didn’t sprain something with that bizarre, ungraceful leap.
Sleep and a lot less caffeine. Those are my recommendations.
Palin represents a different kind of feminism
Hilarious! Good thing most people know better.
When you’re buying a plow horse you check out more than just the teethâ€¦ you check out the hind quarters.
Ah, Swami’s seen the video too.
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What you don’t see in Maha’s little screed is the least interest in how Barack H. Obama might actually function as POTUS, given his lack of experience. Such things don’t matter to the Left. All they care about is acting out their emotional pathologies and their obsession with a Right that exists only in their own imaginations.
Great post. I think the interesting thing about this whole dynamic is this. “They” accuse “us” of being elitist and thinking we’re better than them. But that presumes we think of them at all. I actually don’t spend a whole lot of my life thinking about them. I have pretty much everything I need and I don’t need their approval or permission for the rest. THIS is what grates their collective cheese. THIS is why there’s venom spewing from their podiums. It’s not that we think we’re better than them, it’s that we don’t think of them at all. They use rhetorical devices such as “they hate us” (sound familiar?) but the truth is the opposite: we’re not really paying any attention to them whatsoever. It’s they who are all wrapped up in us. That and American Idol apparently.