One Last Time

I’m tyig to wean myself off of Sarah Palin, and I rarely bother to read Camille Paglia, much less think about or resond to her, but her latest column is so flush with the standard trope about Palin, I feel it has to be taken apart. Paglia writes:

How dare Palin not embrace abortion as the ultimate civilized ideal of modern culture? How tacky that she speaks in a vivacious regional accent indistinguishable from that of Western Canada! How risible that she graduated from the State University of Idaho and not one of those plush, pampered commodes of received opinion whose graduates, in their rush to believe the worst about her, have demonstrated that, when it comes to sifting evidence, they don’t know their asses from their elbows.

If Paglia has examples of people savaging Palin for her accent or going to state university, I’m open to reading them, but I am largely unaware of the existence of any such criticism. As for abortion, whatever your feelings on the issue, it is a policy matter, and someone who is pro-choice would be expected not to be too fond of Palin’s positions on the issue. We don’t denigrate people for making decisions based on issues, generally. Moving on:

Liberal Democrats are going to wake up from their sadomasochistic, anti-Palin orgy with a very big hangover. The evil genie released during this sorry episode will not so easily go back into its bottle. A shocking level of irrational emotionalism and at times infantile rage was exposed at the heart of current Democratic ideology — contradicting Democratic core principles of compassion, tolerance and independent thought. One would have to look back to the Eisenhower 1950s for parallels to this grotesque lock-step parade of bourgeois provincialism, shallow groupthink and blind prejudice.

Um, ok. Examples please?

I like Sarah Palin, and I’ve heartily enjoyed her arrival on the national stage. As a career classroom teacher, I can see how smart she is — and quite frankly, I think the people who don’t see it are the stupid ones, wrapped in the fuzzy mummy-gauze of their own worn-out partisan dogma.

Ah yes, the time honored debate strategy of “I’m rubber and you’re glue…” But finally:

As for the Democrats who sneered and howled that Palin was unprepared to be a vice-presidential nominee — what navel-gazing hypocrisy! What protests were raised in the party or mainstream media when John Edwards, with vastly less political experience than Palin, got John Kerry’s nod for veep four years ago?

This has to be the most noxious argument routinely brought out to defend Sarah Palin on a regular basis, for one simple reason; not all “political experience” is created equally. This is a really annoying tendency that was put on steroids to give Palin some sort of working biography, but being a mayor, or a Governor, is a different job depending on where you are. Being a mayor of a town of 6,000 people is not the same as being the mayor of a robust, central, metropolitian city. Nor is being the Governor of a state that relies on hydrocrabon revenues, at a time of record hydrocrabon prices no less, the same as running a state with competing interests and realy budgetary concerns. That’s not “elitist,” that’s just the real world. And oddly enough, the only people I’ve ever “encountered” who think being a “small town mayor” is a dandy qualification for being Vice-President live in big cities. I grew up in a town of about 12,000 people, and I’d never try to tell you running it was a qualification for anything.

As to Edwards, he was elected to the Senate in 1998, meaning he’d served a full term of 6 years by the 2004 election. 6 years is 3 times as long as Palin has been Governor, so clearly Paglia’s entire argument here hinges on the validity of Palin’s mayoral term to her qualifications. Which is to say that calling it tenuous would be giving it way too much credit.