Jerry Wilson at Goldfish and Clowns responds to an Elizabeth Scalia post at First Things about what she perceives as the dangers of creating a cult of personality around politicians, namely Barack Obama and Sarah Palin. Jerry thinks it’s worth the read, but he has a couple of caveats:
There is a bit of a stretch in one part:Jerry makes some very good points, and we have little of our own to add to his well-reasoned analysis, except to say that Gov. Palin is perfectly capable of defending herself. But have you noticed what happens when she does? She is excoriated by elites on both sides of the center for being so uppity as to not just suffer the slander in silence, like George W. Bush did. That really worked out well for him, didn't it? But when Sarah Palin defends herself and her children, she is ripped for allegedly "not having thick enough skin" or not being able to "take a joke." Nonsense.Her supporters do not, thankfully, regard Palin as some sort of transcendent humanoid, but to her base, Palin and her family have become sacrosanct to a troubling extreme that echoes the Obama cult: Jokes made at Palin’s expense are not jokes but “hate.” Constructive criticism (even when rendered mildly, and with acknowledgments of both her strengths, and the savaging she endured throughout the ’08 campaign) is categorized as “hate.” One either loves Palin unconditionally, or one is a heretic; doubt, or even a reasonable reservation, is an occasion of sin.I cannot speak for all Palin supporters, and yes, I am a Palin supporter through and through. Yes, I do adore her. Not worship. Adore. For this I make no apology.
That said, I strongly suspect there are many here among us who, like myself, do not subscribe to the notion of her being 100% above reproach and everything she says or does is Holy Writ times ten. It’s an easy assumption to make that lack of criticism equals fanboy worship. No, not really. It means someone hasn’t said or done something lately that warrants criticism. If Palin says or does something I don’t like, yes I will say so.
There’s a bit of an overstatement further along in the post:To Obama or Palin cultists, any critique must be invalidated because if you find a fault with them, you are de facto finding fault with the values and ideals of those who have invested so much of their identities into supporting and yes, “believing in” their heroes.[...]
Yes, there are people — plenty of them — who immediately go into counterattack mode the moment someone, anyone, says anything negative about Palin. They’ve become conditioned to respond that way given how much of the negativity against Palin comes not from political or philosophical differences, but rather cheap, degrading personal shots. When this inevitably slops over — Palin is dumb, you support her, therefore you are dumb – what on the surface can appear like fanboy blather is actually legitimate self-defense.
I’m inclined to give Palin supporters the benefit of the doubt in this matter. I believe they are more than intelligent enough to support her based on her track record and political views, not a cult of personality. And, in fact, this is what they do.
So that's one reason her supporters are so quick to rise to her defense, because whether she defends herself or not, her attackers just throw more of their manure at her. Unlike many of her fellow Republicans, Sarah Palin has an actual spine, and her supporters both appreciate that character trait and endeavor to emulate it. It basically boils down to this, "We're not gonna take it." Sarahcuda is a fighter, and we fight with her. "Long live the fighters!"