I belong to Facebook and the vast majority of the friends that I have accumulated over the years happen to be liberals. While I’ve learned to avoid discussing politics there, most of my Facebook friends don’t and neither do their friends, providing me a window into the average liberal’s mind. Granted since the Left dominates the Media there is a veritable sea of glass out there exposing every Leftist feeling, half-baked idea and inkling, one really doesn’t need another portal into their bipolar world. Still, it’s the world conservatives live in and at the very least provides fodder for lengthy essays and diatribes.
Recently, one of my friends – an independent and budding libertarian – wrote a very vulgar comment about Palin. Several of his friends added to it, as did another friend of mine, a future conservative that is in the process of getting mugged by reality. I’ve worked closely with both and held many deep conversations about politics with them. While they aren’t anywhere near as liberal as some of my college friends who border on the anarchist and Stalinist fringes, both detest Palin as much as my hard-core leftist friends – so I asked them why. Here’s what they said.
JH:When i first heard of Palin I thought her biggest blessing was her biggest curse…the fact that she’s from AK and not the lower 48. I thought she would have a fresh outlook on DC and the political system being from there (which, honestly, might as well be Mars) and that might help her as she would lack the preconceived notion of “how things are done”...then she opened her mouth. I have no tolerance for anyone who cannot speak well, and even less for someone who speaks and makes unintelligent statements (I zone out on executives here once they say “um” more than twice during an announcement). Her speeches are mainly composed of good ole’ boy euphemisms and she panders to the lowest common denominator of intelligence level; that might work in AK but it doesn’t work here. Now, being part of the “intelligentsia” is not anything to write home about either, as evidenced by BarryO and his “highly academically educated staff” (Geithner, et al), but Palin’s whole “folksy” approach gets on my last nerve. Just because you hunt and fish doesn’t mean you’re a “down home normal person”, and I think she keeps trying to work that angle and she’s created more of a cult of personality (Dear Sarah?) than an actual political stance. When asked about issues she seems to parrot the GOP hyper conservative party line, which I can’t tell if that’s what she really feels or if that’s what she thinks she needs to say to keep her constituency behind her.
The other friend offers his view:
DS: Everything about her bothers me. Specifically, though, she does a horrible job of presenting herself as a leader. She gave a few interviews in ‘08 that made me literally turn off the TV and take a long walk. She comes from a state that is barely American, and that the culture – while awesome – does NOT translate to the majority of the lower 48. Alaska is far more Canadian than American. She has a daughter who had a child with a douchebag out of wedlock, but speaks out loudly for abstinence (rather than the more practical education of sex). It’s the blatant hypocrisy there. She’s just another puppet for backroom Republican power whores, like Bush was for Rove/Cheney, and Obama was/is for his far left masters. She’s the antithesis to Pelosi, which, in my opinion, is just as bad.
What’s interesting to me is that my friend JH’s chief criticism of her is her style. It isn’t until the end of his commentary that he mentions his disagreement with her “hyper conservative party line,” and because of his trouble accepting her style he admits that he cannot determine whether Palin’s policy statements are genuine or not. The problem with his focus on her style instead of Palin’s substance is that it can easily be manipulated by an antagonistic media and “intelligentsia”. Consider the way Palin has been mocked and pilloried by the likes of Jon Stewart, Bill Maher, Tina Fey, Whoopi Goldberg – not for her stances or positions but for her style and her verbal gaffes – and it’s easy to see how one could form a negative opinion about her. Even the Dessicated Carcass known as Cher spouted nasty things about her. It’s not that JH is being shallow; it’s just that his opinion of Palin has been filtered through the mass media that has completely ignored her executive experience (more than the current occupant of the oval office) while focusing solely on her gaffes (which are fewer in number than those made by our current vice president.)
DS’s criticism is subject to the same filter, but he suggests that Palin isn’t a good leader because the culture of Alaska and her experience there differs too much from the mainstream in the Continental 48. He’s also disturbed by the hypocrisy of a spokesperson of “family values” having a libertine daughter who then preaches abstinence in public service announcements. Both of these criticisms have their merits, but he ends with the common assumption on the Left (and the lunatic libertarian fringe) that Palin is just a puppet Bush – who in turn was himself a puppet of Cheney, who was himself the puppet of Bush I, who was himself the puppet of… If we go back far enough I’m sure we end up with the Illuminati or the Knights Templar. This ignores the fact that Palin has had considerable trouble with the Republican establishment in her home state of Alaska – as represented by her long-running feud with the Murkowski family and the recent salvos by Karl Rove questioning the suitability of Palin for the presidency. Even Charles Krauthammer, a favorite among neo-cons (yours truly included) and the Republican establishment does not view Palin as a serious candidate.
But as her support among Republicans continues to grow, the antipathy of the media coupled with her outsider status with the Republican establishment are formidable obstacles that Palin will have to overcome if she seriously intends to make history on January 20th, 2013. The views of my friends, two independents that will decide the presidency in 2012, merely reflect this challenge.