Tuesday, July 20, 2010


One more thing about Palin. Here's Marc Ambinder, who I think is half right (via Memeorandum):

When she writes on her palm and uses words like refudiate, Sarah Palin is lucky....

The more Sarah Palin does things that make the media tease her, the luckier she seems to be.

Here's where Palin is getting quite savvy as a politician: when she makes a mistake, or appears to do something dumb, she is quick to exploit her own misfortune ... not in a way that excuses her original mistake, but that alludes to the improbable fact that there is some in-joke, some secret code that the rest of us aren't getting. As much as the verb "humanize" is overused, Palin knows how to humanize herself. That's a rare talent for a politician to cultivate, and one that she's getting better at every day. What's more, she humanizes herself by somehow ascribing her misfortune to the establishment that's trying to tear her down. Her audience loves it.

She's cunning enough to know how to turn these moments around, and she really has figured out how to do this without ever really acknowledging that she did something unwise -- but "humanize" isn't exactly the word I'd use for what she's doing.

What she's doing is tapping into the oft-recited narrative of right-wing heartlanders being regularly insulted and betrayed by Evil City Slicker Rootless Cosmopolitan Wall Street Communist Liberals.

And damn, we do this every time, don't we? We mocked Bush's mangling of the language. We mocked Reagan's gaffes and misstatements of fact. And now we're doing it to Palin. Maybe it even goes back to Nixon.

Our mockery has given all these people political strength. It reinforced the narrative. It didn't humanize them so much as make them seem as if they were being attacked, crucified, for ordinary heartlanders' sins, ordinary heartlanders' lack of city-slicker sophistication -- and heroically surviving our attack.

Well, it didn't work for Dan Quayle, because he couldn't manage a rally-the-troops rabble-rousing style. Also, he was held accountable for his administration's failures and shortcomings, as, ultimately, were Nixon and the younger Bush.

I snickered at "refudiate," too, and at the notes on Palin's hand. But I realize we really might never hurt her by mocking her, and we may mock her all the way into the Oval Office.

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