Why They Hate Sarah Palin So Much

As Barack Obama continues to serve out Jimmy Carter’s second term, the nation has over three years to figure out what it really thinks about Sarah Palin. As of now, I think it’s fair to say nobody feels lukewarm about her. At all. You love her or you hate her.

Much has been said about why people like her. Especially here. Perhaps it’s time to jot down the reasons why she inspires so much resentment…so much hate.

The people who really feel it, I think, for the most part don’t understand themselves why they feel it. This seems to me to be a great tragedy. If you’re nurturing such hostile passions, you ought to at least know why.

So this is just a list to keep in hand, throughout 2012. Toward the end, as the GOP heads into its convention, I would hope the Republican officials will be somewhat sincere in wanting to learn what plain, ordinary, humdrum voters really think about things. At that point, it’s really up to you. Support Huckabee or Romney, by all means, if you think they do a better job of representing conservative values. Or, if you don’t, and simply hate Alaska’s Governor on a personal level. My suggestion is simply that you get your thoughts straight in your own little head, first & foremost.

People feel threatened by Palin because she reminds us that…

1. There is room at the top, not just for women, but for pretty women

Like any energized populist movement, feminism achieved glory by playing to the wishes of ankle-biters. By “ankle-biters” I mean people who want to shake up a power structure, not quite so much for the purpose of improving anything, but just for the sake of saying they did it. People to whom it comes so easily to criticize what’s being done, but leave all that dry, boring, propose-a-better-solution stuff to someone else.

Palin Rocks!It played to the passions of strong women who were tired of watching male politicians screw things up, and to the passions of weak, passive, wallflower women who craved that security blanket of anonymity. That’s why we’ve had so many women serving in Congress by now, but we still haven’t had a female President — nor, I would argue, have we had a viable female candidate for same. A Congresswoman can safely and effectively clone herself from the next Congresswoman. Presidents stand by themselves and they are ritually abused for this, no matter what. Even Barack Obama. Fact is, many among us don’t see this job as a good fit for the ladies…it’s too degrading…and those are not all white men.

In playing to the weak, wallflower women who don’t want to distinguish themselves in any way, feminism has become an advocacy group for those who lack appeal. With time, it has become an advocacy group for those women who work at not having any appeal. And I’m not talking sex appeal. I mean, being ready to engage in dialogues instead of monologues; talking to people in some way other than as a cross stepmother; motivating your man to come home instead of go out somewhere else, when he’s in the mood for some sex; acting like that’s important to you. We’ve seen the incremental rise of a counterculture of females who are in a great hurry not to have any appeal to anyone else, or to be beholden to anyone else — except other females who don’t have any appeal to anyone else and aren’t beholden to anyone else. They’re a grown-up version of those chubby goth chicks you knew in high school who didn’t know how to behave in public, didn’t care to learn, were horribly out of shape, and kept to their own at all times.

Most of our female politicians seem to think that’s their constituency. This is a sensitive paradigm, and the prospect of shifting it makes a lot of people uncomfortable.2. There’s a difference between following protocol and being boring

I’ve heard an awful lot of chatter since last fall about Sarah Palin being a dumbass and a klutz and a dimwit. The picture to be painted, is one of some redneck yokel raised up in some backwoods hick town in the most remote areas of Alaska. But isn’t it funny — the time comes to present the evidence, and what can they show me: A couple of awkward moments with Katie and Charlie, making names for themselves by ambushing Palin with Trivial Pursuit questions. After that, it’s time to really scrape the bottom of the barrel, they have to go on Saturday Night Live and invent some Palin quotes about seeing Alaska from her house.

Yeah, well where’s the inbred hick from upstate? Anyone got footage of Palin spitting tobacco in the middle of an interview, or maybe picking her nose?

No, from what I’ve seen, Palin is at least as adept as following the details of protocol as any refined lady. I don’t think she’d hug the Queen of Great Britain, or give Gordon Brown a set of DVDs that won’t even play on the equipment back in his home.

Now, take a good look at your typical politician — conservative, liberal, white, not, male, female, gay, straight. They’re all good at following protocol too, right? Of course; you’d have to be. Now listen to them speak…and John Conyers, I’m looking right at you. Imagine yourself being offered a job where you’d have to listen to that for twelve hours every single day. What would your salary have to be? A lot, right? It’s like Ferris Bueller’s math teacher…at half-speed.

An occasional “you betcha” suddenly doesn’t sound that awful, now does it.

3. Conservatives, when all’s said and done, aren’t really committed to keeping women in the kitchen…

Palin Signing AutographsQuite to the contrary, that Palin fan club seems to be bursting at the seams with men, men and more men. These generation-spanning memes, leitmotifs, hymns and dirges about men working overtime to keep women oppressed and powerless, seem to have been vastly overstated.

A great blow has been dealt to that companion theme, and don’t believe for a minute that nobody’s sensitive to it — because people are, in a bad way. And that companion theme is that when the lady of a household sees fit to rise up to more eminent and prestigious responsibilities than vacuuming the carpets and washing the dishes, the household must become more leftward-leaning. We’re exorcising the spirit of Archie Bunker, after all. Well, it turns out that isn’t necessarily true.

Conservative households are, quite plain and simply, sick to death of watching normal people treated like sick, weird degenerates, and sick, weird degenerates treated like normal people. Men who are fatigued by that, tend to match up with women who are fatigued by that; and once we build a household with them, we don’t need to keep them shackled in the kitchen. Our women tend to share our values. That’s why we tend to like them, and they tend to like us.

4. …and liberals aren’t that committed to truly liberating them

What goes on on the liberal side of the fence, when it comes to putting a household together and showing each other mutual respect across that gender barrier? If a guy figures out he can meet up with the above-mentioned chubby-goth-chick by mumbling all the right catchphrases about “make love, not war” and “womens’ right to choose”…and things work out, and they actually get hitched and start a life together…can it be truthfully said they have mutual respect for each other?

Back in my younger and dumber days, I dated some liberal women. I doubt that mutual-respect thing very, very much.

Every day we’re reminded that on Planet Liberal, the worthiness of an idea is not determined by its content, but by who authored it. And if you’re a white male, they really don’t have a place for you; not unless you get yourself elected to a high public office, and do some big things to advance the liberal agenda. So you can be a Kennedy or a Kerry or a Schumer or a Durbin or a Frank…or a Bill Clinton…otherwise, they really don’t want to hear anything out of you.

Which means — nothing new out of one of those hated white males, no matter what. After all, what comes out of the white-male-liberal gentlemen listed immediately above, that strays outside of the liberal plantation? Not a blessed thing. The gift those intellectuals have given the liberal movement, is not a gift of new ideas, but new ways to package up old ideas so new suckers can be found who will buy them.

Do they have any place for the non-white non-straight non-male, then? It does not seem to be the case. Hillary hasn’t had the courage to venture past the liberal plantation, either; she did vote for the authorization of the use of military force in Iraq, of course. How did that work out for her? Has her leadership as a strong woman motivated the liberal power-structure to open up to these new ideas? No, she’s been paying for it ever since.

No, liberalism really doesn’t have to do with liberating women, or liberating anyone else for that matter. With liberalism, the agenda always comes first. That’s Rule #1. Rule #2 is that when you’re in doubt, refer back to Rule #1.

5. Running a city is not a liberal thing

This is an issue that isn’t discussed very much…except maybe in these pages, and here only once in a great while.

It’s got to do with the running of a city. Our nation has, at this moment, a long list of large metropolitan canyons — great, expansive, hulking things one hesitates to call “cities” — that have been under solid liberal governance for generations. Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, DC, Seattle, Baltimore. Many, many others.

How they doin’?

Not so hot. Finances, crime rate, construction, blight…pretty much any way they can possibly suck, they suck. And why is that? Liberalism, I have noticed, is really less of an ideological position than a lifetime pursuit. A good liberal has to show his liberalism all the time, with every little thing he does. It’s like some kind of “employee of the month” award that keeps getting taken away. Prometheus’ gizzard in reverse.

And so a traffic intersection is deemed worthy of a new traffic light control…or a business park needs a new dumpster collection site…perhaps a new housing development needs a water supply. In liberal cities, the unstated goal is to find the most left-wing way to get it done. This demands some creativity, because there really isn’t a liberal way to collect garbage. And it also calls for some relaxation in the drive to get the job effectively and economically done…because…again, there really isn’t a liberal way to collect garbage.

Sarah Palin’s experience working her own way up, organizational layer by organizational layer, through the mayoral office and into state and national politics, really hits a nerve with people who are invested in the status quo. She did this as a life-loving conservative. And it would seem she’s done a pretty good job of it. There are no stories about Wasilla’s crime rate exploding during her tenure as Mayor, no stories about the unemployment rate spiraling out of control…and don’t you believe for a second that there hasn’t been any diligent search for such stories.

6. Remember what feminists were telling women about “having it all”? They didn’t mean it

Damn straight they didn’t. Signs indicate that Palin is a forceful, benevolent, fortifying and fulfilled wife and mother. And, word has it she does some other stuff too.

The nastiness and pettiness this has brought out in people. It isn’t just acrid. It is…history-making. Unprecedented.

Our society has some dark demons in it, not all of them ancient.

7. In these modern times, there is room for hunting, fishing, target shooting, dogsled races and flying airplanes

There is a significant, indeed a mighty, backlash against Sarah Palin that has nothing at all to do with her public life or her electoral ambitions. It isn’t that she’s supposed to be some redneck backwoods hick from Alaska who doesn’t know how to do anything; quite to the contrary, it has to do with the things she does.

Dangerous GamesThe riding motorcycles and ATVs. The handling and firing of guns. Not so much doing manly things, but fun things.

A lot of people haven’t been doing those fun things. Except when they see other people doing fun things, they’re suddenly energized — not to start doing those fun things themselves — but to stop others from doing them. For the last several decades, our nation has been in a state of decline, with fewer and fewer people doing things that take some know-how. And I’m not talking about fixing your car or your kitchen sink (although there is an issue there, too); I’m talking about recreating.

Deep down, I think people understand that when they use the video game console as an electronic babysitter for their own kids, weekend after weekend after weekend, this is a bad thing…unless everyone else within line-of-sight is doing the same thing with their kids, and then it’s alright. This is a subtle phenomenon that is playing out in the very fabric of our culture. For example, how many kids live in a “divided” household now? More do than don’t, right? Something like that?

If you’re a single-dad living in a cold climate, and your weekends consist of holing up and watching teevee, but mommy and her new boyfriend spend those same weekends going skiing…you will be hearing about it. And you should. But people tend to be more contagious with their dilatory behaviors than with their productive and beneficial behaviors. Contagious — and nasty. Nothing ticks people off like someone doing something they themselves damn well know they should be doing. Especially when it comes to having fun with one’s own kids, and teaching them about the adventures and pleasantries life really has to offer.

8. If you look outside the beltway for your leadership, you might find someone who’s effective and not neck-deep in scandal

We saw it with President Obama’s first appointments, at least, the ones that didn’t get in trouble for their back-taxes. Oh look, a Clinton toady…and another one…and another one…and another one. It’s just the same crowd over and over again.

What’s Bill Clinton all about? Well, he can’t keep his pants zipped, but it’s okay because he’s such a wonderful leader and we really need to keep our leaders public service separate from their private lives. Hasn’t that become the Clinton motto?

Well, there’s a problem with that: They don’t keep those things separate. Try this. Research five or six or so, Clinton lieutenants. White House officials, cabinet level positions, administrative folks…whoever. Were those the “most qualified” people in those jobs? No, they weren’t. They were friends. And there’s nothing unique about the Clintons here. It’s that old game of “It isn’t what you know, it’s who you know.”

Every four years we make a big show out of scouring from coast to coast, to find the “best” people for the presidential race. That’s a sham. It’s pretty much the same crowd…all the time. Barack Obama managed to break in to the circle by offering some sales skills, at a time when the democrat party needed those skills the most. Which is a damning indictment when you think about it — because when you’re selling a decent product you really don’t need a fresh face every few years to get it sold. But that’s another story.

The grim reminder here is that these little hiccups we keep hearing about…they aren’t the product of a merciless rectal exam that would bring embarrassment down upon even the most innocent among us. That isn’t the case at all. I’m a real flesh-and-blood guy; I haven’t been perfect; there’s things from my past that would embarrass me, I think. But I haven’t been getting my genitals sucked by an intern while I was on the phone with a congressman. You’re probably a flesh-and-blood person too. I’ll bet you haven’t been attending church services led by an America-hating bigot.

Fact is, our leaders have been just-plain-bad because we’ve been in a stupor. Just like the battered wife rationalizing away about how wonderful her husband is when he isn’t drunk.

We’ve been settling. It’s self-explanatory how there are people around with a vested interest in our continuing to settle.

Sarah Palin is a reminder that we don’t have to. If we’re willing to look beyond the same old crowd, searching for the skills and talents we keep telling ourselves we want to find, we’re apt to discover a lot of the embarrassment we’ve been enduring has been entirely unnecessary.

If we’re just going to look at the same old names, only pretending to look for some real talent…we’re apt to just keep wallowing in the same old filth. You always do whatcha always done, you’ll always get whatcha always got.

9. Success-by-Rolodex is an outdated notion — blend determination together with optimism, and having the right friends will follow

Now this is scary. Imagine that Sarah Palin’s success is due, not quite so much to John McCain choosing her last year, but rather to technology that wasn’t here ten years ago but is bound to stick around from here on out.

It’s not so far-fetched. Half a century ago, you couldn’t “Google” someone’s name and find out about them…or go looking for something else, and trip across their name. And so people did what they had been doing for centuries before that: They exchanged introductions by word-of-mouth.

Well, that worked out pretty well, as long as it was mutually understood that when people “vouched,” they did so for the newcomer’s character. Problem: In politics, it seems people don’t do their vouching for that, or anything like it. Once favors are involved, the vouching takes on a treacherous discoloration of quid-pro-quo. It works like this: You are A. You know B and you don’t know C. If B wants to vouch for C but you don’t owe B anything, then B has to explain some good things about C. Maybe C is a good salesman like Barack Obama; maybe C sticks to his convictions like George W. Bush; maybe C is just a cutthroat sonofab*tch like Rahm Emmanuel. Whichever one it is, maybe you’ll go for it. But you’ve got to know why. B has to explain why. B has to give details on what, exactly, is being supported on the buttress and foundation of your good name.

If you do owe B something, then it’s all different. B just gives C the thumbs-up. You comply.

And so, throughout the centuries, politics has become a dirtier and dirtier business. People talk over and over again about so-and-so being “just a great guy”; nobody says anything about what’s so great. In that sense, ironically, President Obama is not a new kind of candidate — he represents not only an ancient class of candidate, but a doomed one. Yes, more people approve of him right now, than approve of Sarah Palin. There was a lot of money spent to make things turn out that way.

But that’s also the nature of transparency. A lot of people don’t have the maturity to be ready for it. Their time will come…as soon as they realize there are real decisions they can be making about things, and these decisions are more important than a vote on American Idol.

Say what you will about Palin’s weaknesses…and her strengths. At least she’s transparent. We knew, from Day One, what she was all about. We were never deceived about her, one way or another, except for those among us who chose to be.

Obama, on the other hand, being yesterday’s type of politician — is just “wonderful,” that’s all. We were never permitted, by his handlers, to know exactly what was so wonderful about him.

10. It really isn’t a good idea to let Charlie Gibson, Katie Couric and Alec Baldwin choose our leaders

The power to get together with your buddies in downtown Manhattan, and write a list of interview questions, or a variety show skit, that will eventually change the world — it has to be an intoxicating thing. And an addictive one.

But sooner or later, it’ll have to be a former addiction. People will get tired of the whole process. It’s an abuse of trust, this hoodwinking of millions of people into thinking Sarah Palin’s a dimwit, just because that’s what you want them to think.

And as this realization sinks in…the realization that Obama was elected, just because some sheltered, spoiled media stars wanted it to work out that way…please understand, the realization is going to sink in silently. It’s a humbling thing to have to admit you made a mistake, just because someone wanted you to make it, and you did some obeying when you really should have been doing some thinking.

People aren’t that vocal about their humbling experiences.

And I don’t think all their buyers’ remorse over Obama is going to immediately translate into goodwill for Palin. Far from it. But I do think there will be more than a few second thoughts about the qualifications of the morning talk show celebrities to make our decisions for us, about who’s a genius and who’s a dumbass. I don’t think anyone objects to the notion that Couric, Gibson, et al carried an energized agenda to make Palin look like a dimwit. I don’t think anyone contests the idea that the plan worked, exactly as it was intended to. What I think people are divided about, is whether they should carry some resentment about what was done, and how easy it was.

And I think that’s going to shift, over time, in a single direction…as people gradually figure out they were manipulated.

I expect Palin will be refining her techniques, as well. You don’t get to be Governor of Alaska without demonstrating some capabilities at learning new things, especially about how to relate to people. She’s young and energetic enough to still be learning, and she’s shown some signs of doing this learning. It’s learning she needs to do, in order to reach out to an audience bigger than, and culturally different from, the audience to which she’s accustomed.

That’s exactly where Bill Clinton was his first year out of Arkansas. By the time Clinton was in the national limelight as long as Palin has been by now, it was…lessee…seven months? He was still campaigning, right? The whole Travel Office scandal, Vince Foster, Hillary Healthcare, Quota Queen — months and years away. Public relations boondoggles, every single one. And not just “oopsies”; they were products of inexperience in performing on a national stage.

So Sarah Palin will do her learning. Of that, I have no doubt. The real question is whether the rest of us will get ours done.

11. Chicks can say stuff

Why do you think John McCain wasn’t out there, like Sarah Palin was, reminding people that Obama had been “palling around with terrorists”? Is that because, like the Generals who were losing the Civil War before the genius of Ulysses Grant was realized, he comes from a more civilized age? Because he wants to be everybody’s “friend”? Because he’s hoping to keep some comaraderie alive with the Manhattan blue-blood crowd, that may be helpful to McCain but is anything-but to the Republican party?

Yes, yes and oh hell yes.

But it’s also because John McCain is an old-white-guy. And there’s such a seething resentment against old-white-guys, a layered, cumulative one…rather like a stalagmite in a cave made entirely of guano. It’s been decades in the making. It comes from Watergate; the national mood that set in after Watergate; and most of all, from the television shows and movies that were made after Watergate.

When rich old white guys attack, it’s to keep a power structure in place and to keep the rest of us down. Blacks, Asians, women, homosexuals, secularists, poor people. And liberals. The last of which, explains why you can be as white and as male and as straight and as wealthy and as corrupt as anybody else, and still lash out with all the nastiness and venom that suits you, so long as you’re a liberal. You’ll live to fight another day. Because a liberal rich old white guy going on the attack, is just not part of the stereotype.

Rush Limbaugh — still! — won’t apologize for saying he wants Barack Obama to fail. Rush is still standing…but that’s only because there is no height from which he can fall. He hasn’t been elected to anything. If he could be taken down a peg, they’d be getting to him. Look at that fat, cigar-smoking, golf-playing, rich old white guy, attacking our Magical President, and refusing to apologize. You don’t really want to vote for this guy, do you? Rush would apologize. He’d have to. Apologize, or get ready for a real ass-whipping.

Any man who’s worked in an office with some resourceful, intelligent, determined or just-plain-pushy women, knows: Women can say stuff men can’t say. Aw hell, any man who’s been to a wedding, or roped into “helping” to organize one, knows this.

This is a huge spoiler for the entrenched liberal power structure. An important systemic belief that has helped them to get where they are, says that if nobody’s talking about Jeremiah Wright and the President’s other America-bashing a**hole friends, there must not be anything worth discussing over there. But the truth is, it is only through negligence that we avoid talking about it. We just put someone in charge who has a long and rich history of associating with people who would do the country harm. And we did it to be politically correct.

Wonder Palin!Guys can’t point this out, especially if they’re rich, straight, white, and over 50. A woman who is known for seeking out positive relationships with people, when & where they can be positive, but is capable of speaking her mind nevertheless — certainly can.

And that’s a big point against Huck, Mitt and the rest of the gang. It isn’t that they’re rich white men. It’s that, if they go after this stuff, they’ll do it with kid gloves on because they will have to. I’m going to call this one early: The incumbent President, seeking re-election, won’t be playing with kid gloves.

12. Celebrating our similarities and not our differences: We talk a good game, but we’re not doing it

Sarah Palin does it. Class-wise, she is by herself. But she shares the interests of men…women who happen to be ugly…people who are not elected officials…people who don’t have seaplanes moored by docks in front of their houses…people who can’t fire guns and have no desire to learn…mothers who don’t have sons serving in Iraq, or giving birth to babies with special needs.

She represents a unique kind of politician. The representative who will establish and maintain a symbiotic relationship with you, as a constituent, without having anything demographically in common with you. She’s there to represent values. Not women, not mothers, not black people, not gays, not bigots. In short, she’s what we say we want to be getting when we vote for our Presidents. “He must be the President of all of us!” …how easily it rolls off our tongues.

But the President we did end up getting, is starting to resemble Hillary Clinton in one key way: Every little subject addressed, once the glittering bromides and platitudes have been exhausted, has to be eventually confronted with the illusion of a villain. Iraq, the crappy economy, the environment, the oil market, hiring and lending discrimination, abortions, crime, capital punishment…sooner or later, he has to veer off into that tired, toxic territory. You know why we’ve got a problem in the first place? Because of this individual…or that class. Please join me in a two-minute hate. Help me hate that guy over there.

This is the rhetoric of a President that does not represent all of us, and doesn’t try to. It’s the rhetoric of a public official who is accustomed to receiving automatic support and praise, from whoever shares his class memberships. Who is accustomed to obligatory adulation, and therefore enjoying the latitude to make enemies just for the sake of making enemies.

If we can simply recognize some of the problems we have, are due not so much to the machinations of some alien, unfamiliar villain…but rather, to our own historical neglect…a lot of them would vanish in a heartbeat. If we place power in the hands of someone who volunteers, simply to unite us the way we want to be united, some of these problems would disappear overnight. This is why — just as an example — we had a crippling energy crisis and inflation crisis in 1980. And, just a short time after that, we did not. It’s got to do with pulling our minds out of that toxic gutter.

I’ve met a lot of women who’ve achieved remarkable things in a man’s world. I have admiration for all of them. But I have a lot more admiration for the ones who managed to get it done, without becoming bitter. Such an extraordinary thing, in ordinary women.

But for the woman who aspires to lead us all? Lead us all, in that way we keep talking about? It seems like so little to ask. And Palin’s got it.

The ones who don’t have that…can’t stand it.

Cross-posted at House of Eratosthenes.

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