Just imagine, if you will, that all the cognoscenti were saying that the GOP presidential nomination was Sarah Palin's to lose. Exactly. It would be the kiss of death.
Instead, we have the perfect storm of liberal abuse and conservative patronizing. Liberals say, as a liberal gay once announced to me at dinner, "I loathe Sarah Palin." Conservatives say, as James Taranto writes in the Wall Street Journal:
Whether or not she is presidential timber--and we are inclined to think that she is not--there is no denying that she is a highly accomplished person.
There is a phrase for this. It is called "damning with faint praise." But, as an urban sophisticate, you know when you go out in polite liberal society that the safe opening is to assume that your audience thinks that Sarah Palin is a moron.
When asked about my views, I delicately say that I consider her a very talented politician. That creates an opening for people to admit that they have a sneaking respect for her too.
The paranoid rage about Sarah Palin is, I believe, part snobbery similar to the liberal disdain for the frat-boy Bush. Liberals are, we know, mostly very good at grades and excelling at good colleges. If your Bushes and your Palins can succeed in politics, then that means that any underqualified nobody could pip a qualified liberal in the next search for director.
But the bigger thing is that it smashes the liberal cultural and social tableau, the elegant mirror in which liberals like to admire themselves.
Out flew the web and floated wide-
The mirror crack'd from side to side;
"The curse is come upon me," cried
The Lady of Shalott.
Sarah Palin is the curse come upon liberals and the carefully choreographed liberal tableau.
The liberal tableau has well-turned-out black male supervisors advising goofy male white twentysomethings; it has serious, tailored female lawyers; and it has colorful gays dispensing creative wisdom when they aren't marrying for love. Sarah Palin smashes that vision. She reminds us that career is a canard, that relationships for love is a fantasy. What really matters for 97.3 percent of us is our children. All the time we spend on career (or other diversions) instead of our children is a waste. Because for nearly all of us, nothing will remain of us except our children. And so all the things with which we fill our lives--the loves, the careers, the successes, the hobbies, the creative works, the entertainments--these are all diversions, and pretty sorry diversions and tangents at that.
The one thing you are not allowed to do in America is remind liberals of their hypocrisy and their moral delusions. And so Sarah Palin must be destroyed.
The trouble is that it won't work, because it will be antagonizing the key swing voting group in 2012: the white working class. The white working class folks know all about liberal scorn and patronizing: they've toiled under it all their lives. And they are just about fed up with it to the back teeth.
Lucky Sarah Palin.