Media Buzzards Offer Up Another Palin Post-Mortem
posted at 12:30 pm on May 10, 2011 by John Sexton
The latest Palin rehash by Joshua Green isn’t the worst thing I’ve read about her. In fact, about half of it is complimentary in a way. But the entire piece is framed by Green such that whenever Palin turns left she’s smart and has a great future but the moment she turns right she’s a self-destructive loose canon. This is Palin’s history as written by a somewhat sympathetic liberal:
As governor, Palin demonstrated many of the qualities we expect in our best leaders. She set aside private concerns for the greater good, [i.e. a collectivist, group first approach] forgoing a focus on social issues to confront the great problem plaguing Alaska, [i.e. she wasn’t a social-con in practice] its corrupt oil-and-gas politics. She did this in a way that seems wildly out of character today—by cooperating with Democrats and moderate Republicans to raise taxes on Big Business. [i.e. she moved to the center left] And she succeeded to a remarkable extent in settling, at least for a time, what had seemed insoluble problems, in the process putting Alaska on a trajectory to financial well-being. [i.e. she raised corporate taxes] Since 2008, Sarah Palin has influenced her party, and the tenor of its politics, perhaps more than any other Republican, but in a way that is almost the antithesis of what she did in Alaska. [i.e. she moved right instead of left] Had she stayed true to her record, she might have pointed her party in a very different direction. [which direction? to the left of course]
Seen through Green’s eyes, all of Sarah Palin’s success was a result of moving left and all of her failures were a result of moving right:
Let’s stop here and go back for a moment to the convention speech—the alchemic moment of excitement and fantasy when Sarah Palin became the star of national politics. Listening to it today, you can practically hear her shift registers, the state figure morphing into a national one, the old Palin becoming the new. She touches on the pipeline, the corruption, how she broke the oil companies’ “monopoly on power” and ended a “culture of self-dealing.” But all of that is overshadowed by the full-throated assault on Barack Obama, rooted in deep cultural resentment, that became the campaign’s ethos and remains Palin’s identity. What resonate are her charges that Obama wanted to “forfeit” the war in Iraq and that he condescended to “working people” with talk of “how bitterly they cling to their religion and guns.”
I wonder if “deep cultural resentment” is code for racism? Come on, let’s not pretend we haven’t been having this argument for three years now.
Of course the truth is that Barack Obama did want to forfeit the Iraq war. He said so himself in 2007 when he opposed the surge as a failure even before it had happened. And the line about religion and guns was his line not hers, albeit recorded surreptitiously. The press, and I suspect Joshua Green fits the mold, was eager to prevent these obvious failures from harming Obama’s candidacy, just as they were to protect him from his own long time associations with Bill Ayers and pastor Wright. Palin refused to play along and that made her a target.
The press sent a squadron of reporters to Alaska to investigate her and that impulse has never really let up, as we see from this article. But Joshua Green doesn’t acknowledge where he fits in to the overall scheme of Palin travelogue writing. He knows he’s doing it of course, but there is no real curiosity about why this cottage industry continues to pay or more specifically what is required to make it pay.
So while Green’s piece may be a bit more sympathetic than, say, the dishonest sleaze put out by Michael Joseph Gross last September or what’s coming next from Joe McGinnis, it’s just the other end of the same continuum. In every case, Palin is a failure in need of explanation. In some cases that’s semi-thoughtful, if politically slanted as here, and in others it’s Joe McGinnis comparing her to Hitler on national TV. It’s the difference between feeding the dog Kibbles and red meat.
I had a look over my archives and noticed the number of threats Palin has endured in the last 12 months. Remember the envelope of white powder sent to Dancing with the Stars? How about the death threats she received in the wake of the media’s execrable coverage of her Facebook map? How about the stalker who’d threatened to kill her family and was found by the FBI about 50 miles from her house.
And that’s just the serious stuff. I’m leaving out all the endless nonsense like the big splash when Sarah Palin’s daughter fixed her hair in Haiti. That was an international news story believe it or not. Ah well, just move on to the next attack. Did you know that Trig isn’t really her baby?! Maybe Joshua Green can write a 3,000 word piece about how Palin, a victim of her own hubris, failed to overcome the Trig-truthers when she had the chance. There’s at least one more Alaska vacation in it for some enterprising journalist.