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Sarah Palin vs. the “Elite” Republicans

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Syndicated conservative columnist Kathleen Parker, of whom I have sometimes been a fan, made waves in the 2008 election with her vigorous distaste for Sarah Palin. She went so far as to call on her to drop off the ticket because she was supposedly so ill-qualified.

She's milked the controversy and negative responses that she's gotten for several columns, including a new one just today. When writing a response, it got long enough that I figured to just make it an open public letter:

Miss Kathleen, I don't want you to be able to easily dismiss my criticism, so I'll try to be nice. I'm not angry anyway, but I have to admit to being a bit contemptuous of some of the Beltway-type anti-Palin Republicans. Leaving you specifically out of it, Peggy Noonan and even the usually totally righteous George Will lost some points with me over Palin.

You all gave in to some really petty idea of elitism here. Now, I'm all in favor of an aristocracy of merit, a kind of elitism, but that's not where Palin fell short.

She's perfectly intelligent and obviously highly competent in her work. She's run things, and Lord knows that she's a multitasker. She knows a lot about a lot of things. Ask her about energy policy or wildlife management issues or child rearing or commercial fishing. Plus, she has a temperament that translates to actually getting stuff done and the character to take on bad actors even in her own party.

She's quite legitimately elite in her knowledge, experience and character. That's how a schoolteacher's kid from the boondocks got where she is. But she got bitten by "conservative" so-called elites largely over stupid prejudice. She didn't go to Harvard. She's got that Marge Gunderson accent. Heck, she even really actually believes in Jesus as opposed to making a mere sophisticated elitist nod to our founders' Christian traditions.

She probably doesn't know much about French symbolist poets or whatever crapola like that we use as an arbitrary standard of intelligence and sophistication but would probably have squat to do with running the country or anything else useful or meaningful. Christopher Buckley just couldn't imagine such a barbarian as a guest at one of Dad's famous dinner parties. This reasoning does not represent truly an elite judgment, but a petty and low-level childish emotionalism based on superficiality.

I've never been one to shoot the messenger. All the columnists in the country collectively didn't have the power to change the election. But you anti-Palin Republican messengers were wrong. Completely, 100% off base. This business of yours about how she should have quit the ticket was just complete foolishness that at least looks like a cheap ploy for attention. But maybe that's just my jaundiced perspective.

In any case, Palin certainly did not cost McCain the election. People hardly ever vote for the veep candidate anyway. McCain was a weak candidate to start with and the Palin pick was the high point of his campaign. Indeed, that pushed him enough that he was actually edging ahead in polls after her pick until the unprecedented market meltdown washed him away. There was no way that even the sharpest veep candidate could have saved that for him.

A voter runs into the governor with her newborn at the grocery storeI would like to direct you specifically to this image. During the campaign, Palin was traveling with Trig and stopped off (in her cheap comfortable traveling clothes obviously not bought by the RNC) at a local Wal-Mart for some diapers. Here she is just standing in the aisle with baby over the shoulder chatting it up with another customer.

This isn't even an example of a politician having "the common touch." There's not a sense of skillful manipulation in her carefully relating to the lower class, but just a couple of normal gals chatting it up in the aisle as equals.

This image and the working class identity implied seems to me to encapsulate a lot of what conservative (and other) elite types really object to. And that is utterly bogus. Plus, it's one of the reasons that she's going to be president someday.

May the ghost of William F. Buckley have mercy, Palin might invite the likes of this Wal-Mart mom into the White House. Fortunately, we elected another Harvard and Princeton team, so we'll be expecting a decent minimum of education and erudition among White House guests in the Lincoln Bedroom. I just hope Bill Ayers doesn't decide to blow it up while he's there.

About Gadfly

  • Dave Nalle

    Hey now, Britain was the first country ever to have a jew in its highest governmental office. And they haven’t had one since despite the fine job Disraeli did.

    Perhaps people don’t see the anti-Israel bias of the BBC because they share at least some of it? Israel has made plenty of enemies, you know. It’s a hard country to embrace wholeheartedly.


  • Ruvy


    I hate to remind you of this basic fact, but Benjamin D’Israeli, who looked every inch the Jew he should have been, and even wrote about them in badly written stories, was baptized in the Church of England.

    Only then was he good enough to sit in the House of Commons and later in the House of Lords.

  • Dave Nalle

    Ethnically he was still a jew, and in that time ethnicity meant much more than religion did. He was certainly singled out for criticism as a jew by his enemies.


  • Glenn Contrarian

    Ruvy -

    What you’re describing is akin to trying to describe an ocean by looking at a glass of water.

    (1) In the first instance you’re expecting that the reporter (OR the editor who may have changed the wording) MUST have known that it was a settlement and not a neighborhood.

    However, if you would have checked your source’s reference, you would have seen that the BBC ALSO called it a ‘neighborhood’: “Since 1967 the Israeli authorities have extended the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem to include the territory on which Gilo and other neighbourhoods were built for Jewish Israelis.”

    If the reporter isn’t deeply familiar with that section of Jerusalem, is it truly a sign of prejudice that he didn’t get it just as YOU expect he should?

    (2) Your second and third instances are about the same incident – and again, you’re making a mountain out of a mole hill. First, the story was breaking news and the BBC was trying to put out as much information as they had AT THE TIME – which is why they later amended the story. EVERY news agency that deals in up-to-the-minute news works this way.

    Second, okay – so the BBC had ONE bad apple for a reporter…so you’re going to blame the whole as a result?


    That’s why I like to read LOTS of news from different sources – some will report one way, some will report others, and some will report not at all. Frankly, I trust Al Jazeera almost as much as I do Fox News, and I trust the BBC slightly more than I do the New York Times – I hold both in high regard. I trust the New York Post, the Washington Times, and ‘World Net Daily’ only if I can find corroborative information from a more trustworthy source.

    Here’s a source you won’t like…but they often have some truly good stories that the mainstream media won’t cover: – but bear in mind it does have that pernicious liberal bias that’s not found too often these days….

  • Al Barger

    Oh Zing you’re right, I’m just rock hard in a funky place. And how’s your mom?

  • Jordan Richardson

    Al, your article made me want to buy a “Wal-Mart Moms” fridge magnet. Thank you, sir!

  • Al Barger

    Outstanding idea, Brother Jordan. You might consider the links to the whole Sarah Palin 2008 Lipstick Vogue collection – pinback buttons or magnets.

  • Jordan Richardson

    The “Wal-Mart Moms” one is great because I can imagine Palin tossing her baby in that woman’s shopping cart and running away.

  • zingzing

    al, she’s a freaked out, funky electric mama with double cups… but, u know, i just hate 2 see an erection go 2 waste.

  • Al Barger

    Brother Jordan, perhaps then you’d prefer the Barack Obama Golden Child Inaugaral Collection

    Zing, Brother Maurice be around in a minute with a bucket filled up with suqirrel meat.

  • zingzing

    squirrel meat!?

  • Al Barger

    Now go in there and put on that new wig I bought you… NO, NO, the reddish brown one

  • zingzing

    why can’t we just dance? why can’t we just dance? no, fuck that, fuck that.

    didn’t you write an article about that song years ago? that’s actually the song that michael j. west played for me junior year of high school that made me say, “hey, this prince guy is pretty damn cool.”

    and now my itunes shows 921 prince songs, and i’ve got most of his purple period (albums and 12″ singles) on vinyl (so that isn’t showing up). so this is where my obsession began.

    i think it was the glorious rhythms of “that slicked back paddy with all the gold in his mouth” that initially hooked me. although that beat is so damn tight, i can only imagine that that had something to do with it.

  • Al Barger

    Zing- this is yo conscience motherf#$#er!

    Prince SO rulez.

    Brother Zing, you may wish to review my entire modest Prince site, photos and such, and this essay on “Bob George”

    I must also point you to the apocalyptic grandeur of “7″

  • zingzing

    oh, i’ve seen your prince site. i’ve read most of it. and i found the bob george essay, on your site (it was the first one i looked at a while back) and, just recently, on blogcritics.

    as for 7, i believe it is a great song, but is trumped by lovesexy, which takes his weird religion to album-length. (lovesexy is also my all-time favorite prince album–that doesn’t mean i think it’s his best… that, of course, is sign–but it’s my favorite.)

    then again… what is that comic book on the 7 page? did he really have a comic book?

    i’ll kick yo ass. twice!

    turn it out.

  • zingzing

    and do you know the work?

  • Dr Dreadful

    Ooh look, Al links multiple times to his own site. Now there’s something we haven’t seen before.

  • zingzing

    oh, shut it, doc. he’s doing so in the service of the purple one, so he can do what he likes. his cause, for once, is good.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Somehow I’d never have figured Barger as a devotee of the diminutive divo. Or indeed of anyone who doesn’t tend to use banjos.

  • Clavos

    “Use banjos” for what?

  • zingzing

    prince crosses all borders! he penetrates all boundaries! he makes every member of the human race purple! he sprays his semen on all… wait. sorry.

  • Dr Dreadful

    In the recording studio. Or for flossing one’s tooth. Or the myriad other uses they doubtless have for the instrument down Al’s way.

  • Clavos

    My kid sister went to college in Notre Dame, IN.

    It messed her up, too; she became the only Dem in the family.

    We keep her locked up in a shed in the back yard — wouldn’t want to embarrass the neighbors or scare their kids.

    We feed her live rabbits and the occasional stray
    Ron Paul supporter.

  • El Bicho

    “[Prince] penetrates all boundaries!”

    that sounds wrong no matter how many times I read it.

  • Al Barger

    Dreadful, you just got NO idea about me. I had a big framed poster size print of the Lovesexy cover in my living room for most of three years during college at Ball State. If you didn’t want to hear Prince, you just needed to stay off my frickin’ block. It entertained me a couple years later when it came back to me that this made some folk think me gay.

    The Lovesexy album is a top contender of Prince albums, but it’s like picking between Sgt Pepper or the White Album. Lovesexy or Around the World in a Day or Sign o the Times or Parade?

    Now go in there and up on that new wig the RNC bought you…

  • Ruvy

    (2) Your second and third instances are about the same incident –

    My bad, Glenn. I was having trouble getting that comment posted and thought the URL’s were messing things up, so I went to and fucked up the works in the process.

    The third instance is here, how the BBC uses Arab propagandists to spin the story wrong.

    As to the rest, the bottom line is that a reporter is supposed to get his facts straight, and the editor is supposed to keep them straight. At the BBC the “facts” are that the Israelis are wrong and the Arabs are right. Everything else is cut and molded to make sure the reader/viewer gets that impression.

    Therefore, a neighborhood in Jerusalem, Gilo, is a “settlement”. You guys haven’jack shit of an idea of what either look like here, a neighborhood or a small Israeli village or town. And the BBC boys are too damned lazy to learn Hebrew.

    éizeh mamzerím ‘atzlaním, kus’ómak

    Go ahead, Glenn: your first real Hebrew (and Arabic) lesson.

  • Al Barger

    Oh sorry Dreadful, I’ve not put in enough links back to MoreThings.

    Here’s one for you
    Here’s another one for you

    If you need more, let me know.

  • Ruvy

    No comments, eh, DD?

    I don’t usually complain about the bigotry in the MSM. If I did, I’d have three articles a day here. But the truth is, I follow the model of Rav Meir Kahane, z”l, hy”d. He didn’t blame the goyim for perfidy, lies and distortions – he didn’t expect better from them. I feel the same way. I don’t expect better than lies and distortion from the goyim either. After all, they’ve only spent 2,900 years trying to murder us off. So, perfidy, lies and distortions are the least I should expect.

    I only really get upset when Jews, craving approval from their enemies, side with the goyim against their own. Like the pricks on J-Street – or the traitors on Government Hill in Jerusalem. I won’t mention names of people who have written here….

    I try to be a gentleman.

  • zingzing

    but just end up looking like an..

  • Ruvy


    It’s past your bed-time – already 02:15 in the morning….

  • Jordan “Boss” Richardson

    We feed her live rabbits and the occasional stray Ron Paul supporter.

    Is there a sauce you can put on the Ron Paul supporters? I find them stringy.

  • Clavos

    Haven’t really looked into it, Jordan.

    As a good Democrat, my sister doesn’t complain about the stringiness.

    She is becoming troublesome, though; she’s insisting that after January 20th she wants to move out of the shed and into the house with the rest of us.

  • Dr Dreadful

    @ #128: Sorry, Ruvy, I didn’t see it. Got distracted by the riveting Prince discussion…

    Your first citation is just hair-splitting. I’ve read your links to the work of Honest Reporting before, and they’re clearly eager to jump on even the slightest thing that they think the BBC may have done or said wrong.

    We went over the BBC’s reporting of the second incident at some length, as I recall. As Glenn reminded you, the BBC was working with a breaking story and was using the best information it had available at the time. You know how these things go. Just think of all the unsubstantiated stories and rumors that were flying around the media on the morning of 9/11/01.

    Thirdly, From Our Own Correspondent is a program in which journalists working for the BBC (they are not necessarily BBC employees) have an opportunity to give their personal reflections on the news they cover. The sympathies of that particular reporter happened to be with the Palestinians. However, I don’t see an anti-Israel or pro-Palestinian tone in this report from the same show, for instance.

    And I can’t really see how reports like this one are nastily anti-Israel.

    Lastly, British public opinion is not particularly hostile to Israel. The prevailing view of the region is one of exasperation – WITH BOTH SIDES.

    Nevertheless, because Israel holds the UN seat and possesses a wider array of things that go bang in a variety of sophisticated and expensive ways, you will get more of the flak.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Ruvy – perhaps you missed my comment on that reporter – I had already seen that link:

    “Second, okay – so the BBC had ONE bad apple for a reporter…so you’re going to blame the whole as a result?”

    Just because there’s a whole bunch of bad apples in our government, should I condemn the whole? Just because there’s a couple criminals who attend some church, should I condemn the whole?

    You gave three instances, Ruvy – but the BBC gives that many reports on Israel and the Middle East every hour of every day of every year. You’re going to have to come up with something FAR more substantial – a true pattern of prejudice, rather than this or that incident. If you can prove the pattern, then you will find support. But as of yet I see no such pattern.

  • Ruvy

    Glenn, DD,

    There are not enough links you could provide me with in any given comment to find the bigoted coverage of the mass media when it comes to Israel. And, I wouldn’t have the time. I like because they do go after every little thing. After being lied about so much in the NYT, the French media, the British media, the European media, the Indian media (should I even bother mentioning the Arab media), the folks who go after falsehood have decided on a take no prisoners policy of chasing every shmuck around. Ane there are no shortage of shmucks to chase.

    The BBC, Reuters, AP, NYT, LAT are just a few of the top of my head.

    I was just filling in details that Baronius didn’t have in chasing the BBC. Truth is, I have better things to do – like going after the traitors on Government Hill here.