PJ Media

Kennedy Qualified and Palin Unqualified? That's Just Plain Snobbery

Okay, maybe — maybe — someone could have given Kathleen Parker the benefit of the doubt as a voice of “loyal opposition” when she recommended that Sarah Palin drop out of the race after her interview with Katie Couric. That is a big maybe.

The maybe comes from the fact that Couric — no intellectual giant herself, given that she offered no comment on Joe Biden’s claim that “when the stock market crashed Franklin Roosevelt got on television” — did make Palin look awkward with “gotcha” questions probably scripted for her and that she would never have asked any Democrat.

Clearly, McCain’s traitorous and inept team threw Palin to the wolves.

But with her latest column comparing her own criticism of Palin with concerns about Caroline Kennedy’s lack of experience as she vies for Hillary Clinton’s Senate seat, I have to conclude that Parker just has it in for Palin. Weighing, among other criteria, relative “erudition,” Parker concludes that Kennedy is more qualified to be senator than Palin was to be vice president. What evidence does she present?

Well, she “has authored several books.”

I was not familiar with Ms. Kennedy’s oeuvre so I did a search.

Here’s something to delve into in our wood-paneled libraries, her latest, published in 2007: A Family Christmas.

Or maybe Parker sees Kennedy as a woman of letters as evidenced by her 2005 literary collections, Best-Loved Poems of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and A Patriot’s Handbook: Songs, Stories, and Speeches Celebrating the Land We Love.

One suspects that the Patriot’s Handbook was part of the larger post-9/11 effort by liberals to reclaim — or rather co-opt — the word “patriotism,” for among the standard textbook offerings in the volume are several reprints of speeches by her father and uncle, as well as songs by Bob Dylan and the Grateful Dead.

Oh, we have also heard that one of Ms. Kennedy’s areas of expertise is “education.” Although she could list A Family of Poems: My Favorite Poetry for Children on that part of her resume, she would have to give credit to her scholar/collaborator, John J. Muth.

And I am certain that it was the strength of her intellectual abilities and not her family name that garnered the publishing contract for Profiles of Courage in Our Time in 2003.

She does have two books about law but their primary author is Ellen Alderman. The Right to Privacy — the favorite right among abortion-loving liberals — opens with a lurid, verging on pornographic, description of an illegal strip search of a woman stopped for a traffic violation. This book and In Our Defense (about the Bill of Rights), both published in the 1990s, are written in a style that suggests no heavy intellectual lifting is required.

Well, even if you write fluff and have a name like Kennedy, Clinton, Obama, or Ayers, agents and publishers will come with big contracts in hand.

Liberals control publishing and academia through ideological nepotism. Then they cast those who are not published or tenured as not up to par in erudition. I’ve heard it over and over as an adjunct. A thesis on Paradise Lost and a dissertation on Walker Percy do not fit into such currently fashionable categories in English departments as “trauma studies,” digital technology, video games, or explorations of the nine different genders put forth by “cutting-edge theorist” Judith Butler.

Kathleen Parker, seeing that my book manuscripts remain unpublished, might question my “erudition,” as she would that of my conservative colleague, a history professor with a book with original research on a trial of American communists, who is being edged out at the university where he has been teaching for several years by doctoral candidates who teach “gender history.” These gals come to interviews with dissertations on such topics as cookbooks, medical attitudes toward masturbation, and a feminist writers group for junior high girls.

Indeed, it was Barack Obama’s authorship of two memoirs that vaulted him to a position of more “erudition” than any Republican, by the standards of the liberal media. But a quick read of those two tomes reveals a solipsistic insipidness that rivals those of his speeches, written by a twenty-seven-year-old, who, in frat boy fashion, made the news with a photo of himself fondling the breast on a cut-out of our future secretary of state.

Yet, Parker in her column calls Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau a “wunderkind,” a “golden boy,” engaging in a “little harmless male sport.”

What Jon Favreau wrote for the reputedly great orator Obama resembles what I encounter in freshman essays that earn “D”s for content. It was no wonder that Obama captured the youth vote.

Parker, as could be expected, was courted by the liberal media, including CNN, where she used the interview to continue her analysis, calling Palin’s performance with Katie Couric “catastrophic.” Parker also claimed a double standard was in place for Palin: her “histrionics” like “winking” and saying “betcha” were tolerated only because she is a woman.

In addition to being wrong about where the real double standard was, Parker was wrong in predicting that Palin would bring down the ticket. Palin, instead, energized the moribund McCain campaign. It was McCain and his team that botched things up. Yet, Parker’s analysis is that the “GOP has surrendered its high ground to its lowest brows,” the “evangelical right-wing, oogedy-boogedy branch of the GOP.”

Latin this is not. The slam at a particular religious group with such terms invites like responses. So does Parker’s double standard in failing to question the community-organizer presidential candidate’s credentials, or the vice-presidential candidate’s grasp of history that would have gotten him kicked off Are You Smarter Than a Fifth-Grader?

Ms. Parker, then in parading her hate mail from the column in which she suggested Palin drop out, tried to present herself as a bold thinker, brave enough to say what others would not. The “vicious” comments she interprets as readers’ “overinvestment” in Palin.

No, among those comments and emails from which Parker selectively chose, some, I am sure, are pearls of wisdom from readers who know erudition when they read it. Rather than being the daring thinker she fancies herself, Ms. Parker has come to serve a very useful purpose for those who control the media and the academy.