SNEERING: THE WRONG RESPONSE TO PALIN
Greg Sargent, I respect you, but this isn't going to change just because you and others like you roll your eyes:
Here's a dispiriting postscript to the massive flap over The Washington Post's decision to publish an Op ed by Sarah Palin on climate change, a piece that has been widely criticized as riddled with falsehoods.
I'm told by the paper's insiders that her piece was one of the most-read WaPo opinion pieces of the year, coming in 21st in page views out of literally hundreds of opinion articles. An earlier Palin Op ed in the paper on the same topic was the third most read of the year....
Until people stop clicking, Palin and her views will continue to get attention.
Well, of course the op-ed got a lot of clicks, Greg. I read it. You read it. A lot of people who have strong opinions about Palin -- positive and negative -- read it. Clicks aren't necessarily endorsements. Mine was an anti-endorsement, and so was yours.
But saying, in effect, "ignore her and she'll go away" is pure catnip for her fanboys and fangirls. They love to hear us wish her away. It tells them (a) we're afraid of her and (b) we want to fascistically suppress her message because we're bent on unspeakable evil and she, above all others, has the power to stop us.
Sorry, Greg. I think we need to take just the opposite tack. I think we need to say, "Look, Governor Palin, it's obvious you want to be president -- so why are you limiting your communications to missives sent from on high, followed by interviews limited to talk radio hosts, Fox News bloviators, and celebrity journalists? When you write a book or an op-ed, or one your Facebook posts, you don't have to confront anyone who can challenge you. The same goes for your softball interviews -- which are the only kind you do. Why don't you have the guts to do an interview with someone who won't fawn all over you? You want to be a major-league political figure, don't you? Then get in the arena with everyone else. Take a few tough questions without whining about how unfairly you're being treated. Do that debate on climate change with Al Gore that you don't seem to have the guts to do. I'm not the first person to say this, but why should we trust you to take on Osama bin Laden when you're afraid of Al Gore and Katie Couric?"
Boycott Palin? I'd rather boycott the Post itself for running fact-challenged op-eds, whether by Palin or by George Will. I'm not going to boycott her, because it's an exercise in futility -- her fans are clearly making her a viable contender for the GOP nomination in 2012, and that's their right, because this is a free country, and any schmuck who meets the constitutional requirements can run seriously with enough backing.
We're not going to wish her away, we're not going to boycott her away -- she's not going away. We just have to defeat her fair and square.