OH CRAP, NOT THIS ARGUMENT AGAIN
After an appearance on Hugh Hewitt's radio show in which they discussed Sarah Palin, National Review's Jim Geraghty ponders the question that keeps right-wingers awake nights: Why do liberals hate her so? The answer is the stupidest one possible: We're just jealous of her fabulous life.
Hugh suggested it tied to the contrast between her lifestyle and her critics: "She is the embodiment of the anti-choice, the opposite of every choice that lefty elites have ever made -- as to going back home instead of moving to the west coast, having children, having a child with Down's, staying married to one man the whole time, choosing rural or suburban over urban and living a generally conservative lifestyle, working with her hands ... That everything she is is the antithesis of everything that liberal urban elites are, so it's not just enough to say, 'I disagree with you,'; she has to be repudiated and crushed."
And now, I would submit a slight refining of that idea....
Liberals believe that their ideas, philosophy, worldview, and policies liberate believers, and that the conservative equivalents limit people. Liberals see themselves as rejecting outdated beliefs and obsolete ideas, overturning established orders, and discarding traditions established by superstitious and ignorant forebears who weren't as enlightened as we are. Conservatives, in their minds, are runaway cultural superegos, always wagging their fingers about individual responsibility, dismissing excuses, reminding people that they can't always do what they want because of the consequences to themselves and to others.
Conservatism, they suspect, will leave you in a marriage that doesn't satisfy you, burden you with children you don't want, repress your passions, and trap you in a empty, boring, and unfulfilled life, with no hand of government able to help.
... And then along comes this woman who's made all of these "conservative" choices and now has an amazing career, a supportive husband, a beautiful family, and great health and appearance, and she bears it all, including the inevitable hard times, with pluck and a smile, as far as we can tell....
Yeah, right. We liberals hate people in long-term, happy traditional marriages who have kids. That's why we utterly despise Barack and Michelle Obama. That's why we worship the likes of Ann Coulter (unmarried, childless), Rush Limbaugh (thrice divorced, childless), Rudy Giuliani (thrice married, barely speaking to his son), and Mark Foley (pedophile sexual harasser) -- these people have non-traditional lifestyles and we adore them for it. We can't say enough good things about them!
(Oh, for crissake -- 10 of the 12 states with the lowest divorce rates were Obama states, as Charles Blow noted in The New York Times last week, while 9 of the 11 states with the highest divorce rates were McCain states. And plenty of us live in small towns, or work with our hands -- though, last time I looked, governor was a white-collar job. And who the hell thinks having an unmarried daughter who's a teen mother and a high school dropout is enviable?)
Why don't we like Sarah Palin? Could Geraghty and Hewitt acknowledge that the reason starts with, um, her politics?
But there must be more, right? OK, try this: She's a mean girl. Call me sexist if you want for saying that -- although her meanness isn't very different from garden-variety Republican male meanness, as practiced by, say, Bill O'Reilly or Rush Limbaugh or Donald Rumsfeld or Karl Rove or Dick Cheney or George W. Bush. Let's not forget that most Americans' introduction to Palin -- her convention speech -- was nearly an hour of wall-to-wall self-satisfied I'm-better-than-you meanness. Her stump speeches after that were mean and McCarthyite. She was nasty, and when she gets a sympathetic ear, she still is. She never shows the slightest respect to her ideological opponents. (The contrast with Barack Obama is striking.) So it's perfectly understandable that we feel great satisfaction when someone takes her down a peg.
And, yes, she's dumb. She doesn't just talk in soundbites, she clearly thinks in soundbites. In that she resembles George W. Bush, the worst president of all time. And her words regularly betray her vengeful streak. In this she resembles Richard Nixon, whose former Jew-counter, Fred Malek, is now a Palin advisor and patron.
Her lifestyle? You think we care? She can live whatever the hell life she wants. We just don't want her ever to have any power over us.