David Solway, literary critic and author of Hear, O Israel!, is the latest of many authors who have embarked on a quest for the reason why the ruling class -- and their faithful servants, the chattering class -- are so opposed to Sarah Palin:
Palin is neither a liar nor a parasite, but a truth-teller and an industrious worker—two attributes that have cost her dearly in a liberal environment dominated by special interest groups, entitlement seekers, political predators, fiscal sycophants, tax evaders, people addicted to welfare, single-parent families living off the dole, labor union apparatchiks, official and media appeasers in the “war against terror”—in short, the swarm of barnacles that have battened onto the ship of state.- JP
Historian and commentator Victor Davis Hanson concurs. In a summarizing article for Pajamas Media, he concludes that Palin’s being “a mom of five children flies in the face of the demography of yuppie careerism.” In the “binary world” of network columnists, late-night TV hosts and the culture of the left, “Sarah Palin is apparently all that they are not.” Moreover, Hanson points out what is palpably obvious but often unadmitted. “And how can it be fair that Sarah Palin seems stunning after five children when so many in the DC-NY corridor after millennia on the exercise machine and gallons of Botox are, well, ‘interesting looking’?” This latter phrase is the most tactful—and tactical—of satirical put-downs, and says volumes about unconfessed resentment. Palin’s undeniable beauty works against her, especially among the feminist sorority, no less than her candidness, moral rectitude and integrity of character feature as liabilities in the eyes of her detractors.
Hanson believes that Palin is “scary not so much in 2012” as an antidote to Barack Obama, but that “she could be around—and around in an evolving way—for a long time to come.” Here I would be inclined to vary, however modestly, from Hanson’s analysis of the menace Palin represents to the liberal-left constituency. The veritable tornado of hatred and defamation to which she has been subjected argues something far more immediate in its implications. What the Democrats and their supporters earnestly fear is not only that Palin may be around for the indefinite future, but that she is indeed potentially electable in 2012 and must be stopped at all costs. This is perhaps the principal motive for so libelous a spectacle as the left’s all-out debauch of vilification. But will the strategy work?
We need to remember that the liberal-left ideology which seems so potent and widespread in contemporary America is to a large extent the creature of a progressivist elite and its media organs, busy collimating their quarry. It does not speak for the vast majority of Americans but, as Arthur Brooks clearly sets out in The Battle, accounts for at most 30% of the nation. What he calls the 30% coalition, grounded in “European-style statism…expanded bureaucracies, increasing income redistribution, and government-controlled corporations,” advances an agenda that is not shared by the remaining 70% of the population. And it is precisely here, in the preponderant sector of the electorate, that Palin’s real strength lies.
That is, she has been targeted for extinction by the 30% minority who control the levers of power and influence. They have her in their “crosshairs.”
But this is to ignore the 70% majority of center and center-right Americans, many of whom have become more and more skeptical of the press and who are correspondingly fed up with the techniques of character assassination employed by the agencies of the generic left. Paradoxically, Palin’s electability can be reckoned as an inverse function of the virulent campaign intent on her delegitimation. The “war against Sarah” is a clear indication of the feasibility of her candidacy for the presidency. The greater the fury and bluster and dissembling she is met with, the greater the likelihood that she poses a genuine threat. One does not raise a mallet to crush an ant.