by John Hawkins | May 11, 2011 4:57 am
Over at Commentary, John Podhoretz has noted Sarah Palin’s dramatic loss of popularity and is speculating on why it has happened.
Alas, as Levin suggested might happen and as Green says has happened, Palin came almost immediately to inhabit a different role in the American body politic–not the “maverick” she was chosen to be by the self-proclaimed maverick McCain, but rather as a populist villain-victim (depending on which side you were on). The fault here lay not with her attackers but within her. She embarrassed herself in two interviews, and decided the blame lay not with her own ill-preparedness but with the media that had come after her. Understandably enraged by the misogynistic and practically psychotic attacks on her, she came to embrace her status as a kind of martyr for the social-conservative views that had not been the truly distinguishing features of her meteoric political career up to that moment. She found herself in Harry Truman’s kitchen, and she couldn’t take the heat.
In some ways, the story of Palin is a story of temptation. Rather than sticking to her guns and deepening her political credentials and her knowledge base, she embraced her celebrity instead.
Respectfully, let me just note that this analysis is so far off the mark that it’s not even on the same archery range.
What actually happened was that when Sarah Palin burst on the scene, she scared the living hell out of the Left. Here was a beautiful, talented, charismatic woman with a knack for connecting with people and she was vaulting to the top of the political heap at a very young age.
This was INCREDIBLY menacing to the Left, not just because they legitimately feared she could become the Vice-President or even President one day, but because she’s a woman. Sarah Palin’s very existence is a danger to the myths that liberal feminists push every day; Liberals represent women, there is no conservative feminism, conservatives want women to be stuck barefoot in the kitchen — you can go on from there.
Because Palin is such a threat not just to win the presidency, but to a crucial constituency, the Left has done everything humanly possible to try to personally destroy her. They mocked her at every opportunity, they went after her children, they filed phony ethics charges, they invented conspiracy theories about her, and they have obsessively attacked her for every slip-up, real or imagined, that they can come up with. Minor incidents, like a couple of early below par interviews, have achieved legendary status. Ordinary statements that no one would even notice from any other politician in America make front page news when it comes out of Sarah Palin’s mouth.
In other words, Sarah Palin has essentially spent almost three years getting the same sort of treatment that’s usually reserved for the President. However, she doesn’t have a microphone as big as the POTUS, she doesn’t have the same ability to actually influence events, and she doesn’t have the massive support system that a President has, if only because if he loses, the other side wins.
No human being alive can stand up to the mainstream media, Hollywood, and the liberal establishment working tirelessly for years trying to destroy his or her reputation without taking a big hit. If Mother Theresa had been attacked the way Palin has since she became McCain’s running mate, security guards would have to be posted to keep the general public from urinating on her grave.
Like all human beings, Sarah Palin is far from perfect. You can also certainly debate whether her media strategy is more designed to help her become a political celebrity or the next President, but the fact of the matter remains that her real problem isn’t what she’s done; it’s who she is.
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