A couple of notes on Palin

Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on July 6, 2009

There's a lot of hubbub in the right blogosphere over soon-to-be-former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's resignation, what it says about her political past and what it means for her political future.

If she's running for national office in 2012 or 2016, I don't think she's got much of a chance. There would've been nothing wrong with not seeking a second term as Alaska governor, but quitting after 2 1/2 years is unacceptable -- whatever her reasons. She may be able to rehabilitate herself politically -- after all, it's not like she drove a car off a bridge and left someone to drown -- but it will take quite awhile.

Having said that, those who are convinced that a scandal is about to break should read this. You don't have to have been around politics very long to know how unusual it is for the FBI to flatly state that they're not investigating someone.

Finally, The New York Times Ross Douthat has a good piece on Palin and I hate to steal his thunder, but it's too good not to.

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. (And no, gentle reader, Palin did not insist on abstinence-only sex education, slash funds for special-needs children or inject creationism into public schools.)

Male commentators will attack you for parading your children. Female commentators will attack you for not staying home with them. You’ll be sneered at for how you talk and how many colleges you attended. You’ll endure gibes about your “slutty” looks and your “white trash concupiscence,” while a prominent female academic declares that your “greatest hypocrisy” is the “pretense” that you’re a woman. And eight months after the election, the professionals who pressed you into the service of a gimmicky, dreary, idea-free campaign will still be blaming you for their defeat.

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.

Sarah Palin is beloved by millions because her rise suggested, however temporarily, that the old American aphorism about how anyone can grow up to be president might actually be true.

But her unhappy sojourn on the national stage has had a different moral: Don’t even think about it.

Amid all of the jokes about her family and her state, don't forget what got Palin noticed in the first place: She took on her own party's corrupt, entrenched, old guard and won as a reformer. That's something that President Obama was unwilling to do as he rose through the corrupt Chicago machine politics.


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July 2009



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