When a woman walks into a room, according to lefty art critic John Berger in Ways of Seeing, she defines what can be done to her and for her.
And that tells you a lot about Sarah Palin's problem. She is having a dickens of a problem getting liberals to stop raping her. Ever since she was introduced as a vice-presidential nominee it has been open season on her person and her family.
So it's not surprising that she does a lot of score-settling in her new book Going Rogue. And it's not surprising that the indefatigable AP assigned 11 reporters to fact-check her book. And it's not surprising that WSJ house liberal Thomas Frank should use his column to sneer at her.
Politics is about power, and the first thing that a politician needs to do is to demonstrate that it is dangerous to mess with her. There are various ways to do this. You can do it the Clinton way, with a bimbo patrol to teach bimbos that it is really dangerous to mess with the Man. Or you can do it the Chicago way, like Barack Obama, and surface secret court records at election time on your opponents' messy divorces.
Most likely Palin can't go that route; she doesn't have a Chicago/Arkansas-style political machine. She's probably got to do it the hard way by building her own powerful base of supporters, in other words, a Palin army. Politicians respect armies.
So it makes complete sense that she should try a little king-making in NY-23. And it's a no-brainer to go on an extended book tour, complete with bus, long lines at book stores and adoring crowds. Guess what: she started her book tour in Michigan, the state she wanted to visit but the McCain campaign wanted to abandon.
Judging from the AP's report on Palin's visit to Grand Rapids, MI, Palin is well on her way to building a base.
"She's a person of faith, she has a family, she has gone through a lot of the trials and tribulations we have. I'd vote for her in a heartbeat," said Lana Smith, a dispatcher at a bus company who took the day off work and had been waiting in line since 5:30 a.m.
It looks like Palin is really getting to the "bitter" people that Obama talked about in 2008 to a roomful of rich San Francisco liberals. And it looks like, pace Thomas Frank, that those What's the Matter With Kansas folks--the the deluded boobs that ought to be Democrats but aren't--still don't get it.
I mean to say, a bus company dispatcher supporting an eevil country-club Republican? What's the matter with America?
But that is what defines American exceptionalism. In the most religious and open-hearted nation in the world, most people, even modest people with routine jobs, think of themselves as rugged individualists. What a country!
(Note to liberals: I know it sounds crazy, but trust me, it makes complete sense. Anyone who has the generosity and the compassion to help others with their own money would have to be a tough, self-sufficient religious individualist.)