To many conservatives, those complaints didn’t seem to make sense when the people making them often seemed to give Obama a free pass for the very flaws they seemed to hate so much in Palin. Where did these strange complaints come from? Why were these “conservatives” so spiteful towards Sarah Palin? What was the real reason that John McCain’s own staff was seemingly working 24/7 behind the scenes immediately after the election to sabotage the best thing to happen to the GOP in 2008?Hawkins explains why many Palin supporters feel betrayed by attacks on Palin from right of center:
An unspoken assumption was made by many conservatives: Palin is like me and the real problem that Palin’s enemies on the right have with her is that they’re snobs and they don’t accept common people like me in their leadership.And he recalls that we've seen this before:
Given the way that conservatives are regularly betrayed and the contempt for them that some Republicans have shown over the last few years, that assessment is probably correct more often than not.
That’s why a lot of conservatives react to criticism of Palin from the right the same way that they react to criticism of Reagan. Granted, Sarah Palin is no Ronald Reagan. But one of the seldom discussed reasons conservatives love Reagan so much is because he was the personification of their principles. This was the man who put what conservatives believed in to the test in the real world and proved the worth of their ideas. An attack on Reagan from the right was not just considered to be a slap at a politician, politician, but was also treated like an assault on the value system of “Reagan conservatives.”But in the final analysis, it's all too personal for Palin supporters:
The same principle applies to Palin except the assault is considered to be primarily on people’s identity, not their values. The thinking goes, “If the snobs on the right don’t like Palin because she’s a conservative with an accent who isn’t rich, didn’t go to an Ivy League school, and wouldn’t be welcome at their cocktail parties, then they wouldn’t like me for the exact same reasons.”Hawkins says neither Sarah Palin nor any other conservative should be immune from legitimate criticism from the right, but her critics should remember that when their attacks on her go over the top, they are aiding and abetting their avowed political opponents on the Left:
At a time when the Republican Party has lost so many seats in Congress that it’s teetering on the brink of irrelevancy, Palin’s detractors on the right should ask themselves how much sense it makes to help the liberal media try to tear down the biggest star in the conservative movement.Preach it, brother.
Update: Mark Noonan has written a response to this essay at Blogs for Victory.