Work and Days

Palin: too much Hope and Change?

The Great Liberal Crack-up
Sarah Palin has not even been widely known nationally for a week. We await her speeches, interviews, and grace or lack of it under fire. There will be examination like none other.

Yet in anticipation, the liberal establishment has gone simply haywire this last week. Joe Biden—anyone who has followed his career knows that it is only a matter of time before he makes something up about himself, says something inane, or claims something is true that is not—has announced her “good-looking,” in a way he once dismissed Obama as “clean.” (You see, most others lack Biden’s brilliant intellect, and so only advanced on their looks, which he apparently acknowledges through his own hair transplants as marginally important in politics).

The former head of the Democratic National Committee, Don Fowler announced that Hurricane Gustav was God’s payback to the Republicans—apparently not so unusual a liberal quip since caring Michael Moore hyper-ventilated about the same phenomenon. Their point apparently is fourfold: 1) people who believe in God get ironic payback; 2) it’s nice to see political opponents’ best laid convention plans disrupted by natural disaster and Obama helped; 3) My God!—there is no Obama post-convention bounce!; 4) who cares about what happens to millions in Gustav’s path?

It did not take a vicious Andrew Sullivan and the Daily Kos long, in despicable fashion, to start directing our attention to pictures of the Palins’ sixteen-year-old daughter, with the unhinged suggestion that she was really the mother of Sarah Palin’s recent child—all this from liberal humanists who lecture the nation hourly about Rovian politics. In their world of the self-anointed, the filthy ends of smearing a teen-ager always justify the noble ends: who cares about destroying the reputation of the Palin family if it brings us the Messiah? (Watch the retreat to victimhood when the untruths from these purveyors of slander are exposed as absolutely false; it will be something like: if you allege I’m a smear artist, then you are thereby a smear artist.)

Then terrified feminist columnists, whether at the New York Times or the Huffington Post, wrote furiously that anyone is clearly a  sexist who might suggest that a  woman out of solidarity would vote for Palin—this after the nation has witnessed 18 months of Hillary’s campaign calling for women of the nation to unite, and Obama has raised the issue of race in ways that ensured 95% of the black vote.

You see there are apparently problems for many “powerful” feminists with Palin: she’s a happy mom of five; she made it in the world by partnering with men on her own terms; she likes real physical challenges whether shooting, fishing, or snowmobiling—or running an entire state. Had Palin announced that she was pro-choice, liberal, the mother of one or two children, a graduate from Harvard—and were she not so attractive—we would be hearing about her stature and seriousness.

The liberal mindset is so funny—and so predictable. A Joe Biden or Barack Obama, both lawyers and senators and residents of mansion-like houses, whose associates are for the most part lobbyists, insiders, and wheeler-dealers, claim that they are men of the people. No matter that they both went to private prep schools, had parents of a rather different sort than steel workers (Obama’s were both PhD candidates, Biden’s dad worked for an oil company and was a business executive), and obviously enjoy the good life (few who work at Wal-Mart get hair-plugs or eat arugula). This disconnect is all accepted by the liberal establishment, and encouraged, since elites are supposed to have a speck under their fingernails—but not much more.

Suddenly Palin comes along with a real middling class upbringing (her parents were out hunting when her nomination  was announced), and a husband that is a state snowmobiling champion. We won’t have to worry, in other words, that she will put on spandex and be caught wind-surfing, wearing the obligatory Democratic camouflage and being seen in a duck blind, or fumbling all over herself at the bowling alley. But if the smirks about her looks, family, and inexperience are any indication, liberals find all this a  sort of raining on their parade. (You are supposed to occasionally talk or look middle class—but NOT, God forbid, actually be middle class!). Middle-class concern is a sort of tsk, tsk that allows an Al Gore to fly Gulfstream or John Edwards to have that extra 27,000 sq. ft. of housing.

Bottom line: we are supposed to turn our lives over to a particular sort of lawyer, Ivy-League deity, who knows far better than we how we are supposed to live. If one understands that condescension, then all the talk about race, class, and gender is about as serious as communitarianism was to those bloated figures who used to stand on the podium at the Moscow May Parade. They are, again, means to an end, the end being perpetual power.

In short, Sarah Palin in just a few days has proved to be a sort of nightmarish liberal banshee. We heard how impossible it is to balance work and family (remember the old wonder stories about how Hillary raised Chelsea while being a lawyer?)—but we don’t wish to hear about a working mom with five children. That suggests just too much family solidarity and bliss. We praise the distant middle class, but don’t want  a rural beauty queen and happy governor of Alaska in Washington. We want to agonize about women’s dramas and abortion, but not someone to deliver a child known in advance to have Down syndrome. We want a superwoman, but that means going to Harvard or Yale, not standing in waders on a boat or carving up a bloody moose.

I don’t know what the ultimate political result will be of the Palin appointment. I do know that as Vice President she would be every bit as qualified and experienced as Obama, who, after all, wishes to be President.  But if the first week’s liberal crack-up is any indication, John McCain has just out hoped and changed Barack Obama.

The Hillary voter who saw sexism in the primaries is now examining every word from Obama (“sweetie”) and Biden (“good-looking”). Is McCain still the DC “insider” after Obama nominated the apparatchek Biden, while McCain goes with Palin? The working white class voter is anxiously examining what the Obama hit teams do with a fishing, hunting, snowmobiling, pro-drilling Alaskan mom of five. Is she a clinger? Someone who likes her guns and church?  A “typical white person?”

And the hardcore old white guy of the rightwing base, who has been demonized by the hip Obamatti as staid, boring, and predictable, just played his own trump card—and is now crowing that he has a younger and more charismatic face of his own:  ‘You really want to play the media ga-ga hand?  Ok, I just matched your Obama and raised a Palin!’

The election race for the nth time just started from square one—and in  a year like this that only helps the old war horse McCain.