Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Douthat Apologist Piece on Palin

Evidence that Palin has supporters still. Her apologists are reaching, but reach they do. In his New York Times piece of July 5, 2009, Ross Douthat claims that it's all about class.

Discussing her reasons for leaving her governorship with less than 2 years left to her term, Ross says that:

"...In a recent Pew Poll, 44 percent of Americans regarded Palin unfavorably. But slightly more had a favorable impression of her. That number included 46 percent of independents, and 48 percent of Americans without a college education."

"That last statistic is a crucial one. Palin’s popularity has as much to do with class as it does with ideology. In this sense, she really is the perfect foil for Barack Obama. Our president represents the meritocratic ideal — that anyone, from any background, can grow up to attend Columbia and Harvard Law School and become a great American success story. But Sarah Palin represents the democratic ideal — that anyone can grow up to be a great success story without graduating from Columbia and Harvard..."

Here's that subtle racism again. It isn't about class. Or even gender. Sarah Palin likes to present herself as a 'hockey mom' and her family as blue collar. She's created photo-ops in the past couple of days of herself in waders in a skif at the family set net site 'picking fish' as she perpetuates the image of a hard-working American woman. She even asked Andrea Mitchell of MSNBC how she could be seen as a Diva if she had dirt under her fingernails? But success is about real hard work done daily, weekly, and without quitting.

She expounds on the millions spent by the state of Alaska on fighting the 15 ethics charges that "she won" and the $500,000 she and Todd owe in legal bills fighting those charges. She neglects to mention that the states actual dollar costs are approximately $300,000 as reported today in the Alaska Daily News and the 80% of her and her staff's time she says is spent responding to the ethics charges and media attacks are personal choices she has made in how she apportions her time.

Sarah Palin does not mention that most of the actual dollars spent are for the charges made in the "Troopergate" case which found that she did abuse her office (it was the Personnel Board, appointed by her, who later found in her favor after she filed a request for another [costly] investigation), and the legal bills are mostly also a result of that investigation and the ethics charges and lawsuits still pending. Not mentioned either is the fact that while a settlement is not technically a finding of fault, she did agree to repay the state almost $10,000 in travel expenses for costs incurred by her children accompanying her on state business. The result of an ethics complaint.

Sarah Palin still does not understand that the people of Alaska elected her governor, not her entire family and that she governs by law, not fiat. Just because she says it's so, does not make it so - regardless of how many times we saw George W do it on the tv machine.

Sorry for the tangent, but it was all in aid of saying that she may act low class, but her finances are certainly not. Her home is valued at over $1 million. She just signed a book deal worth between $7 and $11 million. When she is no longer governor, she has no brakes on how much she can earn or what she can do to earn it. No ethics watchdogs looking over shoulder (not that they do so now).

What Douthat is trying to accomplish in his editorial, is to claim that Palin's appeal is to the 'real' American; those without a college education, the blue-collar, hockey mom average American.

Douthat says:

"...Here are lessons of the Sarah Palin experience, for any aspiring politician who shares her background and her sex. Your children will go through the tabloid wringer. Your religion will be mocked and misrepresented. Your political record will be distorted, to better parody your family and your faith..."

But only if you parade them on the national stage, engage your daughter's ex-fiance in the tabloid press, and misunderstand satire and try to use the late-night comedy hour to get your name back on the front page. Most people understand that if someone says something bad about you or yours, the best way to make it worse, is to respond in kind or with something worse. Your religion is mocked only if there is video out there of you having an exorcism performed on yourself to remove the witches. Most of America thinks that's a little odd. When you slam your opponent's pastor, you can't cry foul then if they question some of your faith's odder practices.

"...All of this had something to do with ordinary partisan politics. But it had everything to do with Palin’s gender and her social class..."

No, none of this had to do with ordinary partisan politics. It had everything to do with a woman who knew virtually nothing about history, politics, world affairs, or public opinion. It had everything to do with partisan politics that are so distorted that the minority party to which this woman aligns herself has no connection with the people they claim to serve, their sole reason for being is to win seats. Never mind what they do with them, their sole goal is to gain power for the sake of power. This had everything to do with a woman who is incapable of self-reflection and surrounded herself with people too afraid of losing their seat on the gravy train and a possible shot at a White House office to say anything but Yes.

The difference isn't class or gender. Yes, anyone may still grow up to be president, although it grows harder and harder every cycle. Our government becomes more and more a club of millionaires holding office as legacy candidates just as their places at Ivy League colleges were legacy admits. This makes Obama's win more remarkable, but although on the face of it he and Palin have a similar resume, he worked hard. He released his record (including his full medical record). He prepared himself. He not only answered questions completely, he understood the question. Obama understood history, he understood politics, he understood foreign affairs, he understood public opinion, and when he stumbled, he took responsibility and held himself accountable.

Responsibility and accountability. Radical concepts that are unfamiliar to Sarah Palin. She has cast herself as victim, has insulted every sitting governor not running for another term, and cannot understand that quitting to move to something is quite different than quitting to move away from something (her stated reasons).

No, Mr. Douthat, it's not about class at all. E for effort, but try again.

Thanks for stopping by. Come back soon.

No comments:

Post a Comment