Sacrifice

"She's so gosh darn happy"

I think this thesis of this piece, that "Sarah Palin's happiness is what really irks liberals,"  is only partly true. Her detractors can present much more solid reasons for finding her an objectionable political personality. But there's probably a little something to it. For an awful lot of people who are on what I call the cultural left, which is more concerned with criticizing traditional social institutions than with ordinary politics, and which overlaps but isn't identical with the political left, a decent and reasonably happy middle-class American family isn't really supposed to exist. The American family is the family of American Beauty:  disturbed, repressive, disintegrating, outwardly pleasant (maybe) but rotten with dark secrets. I can imagine that Palin's upbeat straightforward middle-class-ness is an extra twist of the knife to those who already detest her. 

It's the counterpart of conservatives vs. Hilary Clinton: we didn't like her politics, of course, but it was her Nurse Rached vibe that really drove us crazy. 

Of course she annoys and worries a lot of conservatives, too—with good reason, I think (read the comments on that post). I don't think she could win a presidential election, and if she won I don't see much reason to think she'd be a good president. I sort of like her but I think she'd be wise to stick with the activist-cheerleader role she's currently taken on. Or else go back into Alaska politics and get some more experience before venturing into the national arena again.

And speaking of Mrs. Palin: "refudiate" is the Oxford American Dictionary's word of the year. I think it's a great word myself.

 

Comments

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I see John Galt is commenting on that worried conservative article.

AMDG

Though Sarah Palin exudes a certain "middle-class-ness" in her manners, dress, hockey-mom talk and the rest, we should remember that she and her family are not actually middle-class. They do have an awful lot of money.

She is gosh-darn happy though. You betcha!

She's made a lot off her books, I guess, but I don't think they were especially well off before that.

John Galt should never be worried.

Hmmm. Might be an impostor! Or maybe the poor guy really IS named John Galt. That would be a heavy cross to bear.

AMDG

Having to make that wretched speech over and over....

Speaking as an outsider, I really hope that Sarah Palin does not become the Presidential candidate in 2012. I am sure she is a very nice person, and there are things about her that I like, but she just doesn't have the gravitas that a President requires. My feeling is that her nomination would be a disaster.

I'm more or less of the same mind. I find her rather likeable for the most part, and she and her family exhibit a lot of the strengths and weaknesses of American evangelicalism. But I don't see much reason to think she could do the job. I doubt very very much if she could be elected, which of course is what worries the Republicans. It may have been in the comments on that NR post, or maybe somewhere else, that someone said making her the Republican nominee would be the surest way of re-electing Obama.

I'll say this much for her, though: I don't think she's as dumb as a lot of people think she is.

I read a good piece after the election, I can't remember who it was by. It claimed that Republicans tended to complain during and after the election campaign that the Democrats and liberals had 'personalized' their attacks, and made it 'all about Sarah'. But the reason they did that, the writer said, was that, like McCain, Palin had no project or plan, so the ournalistic/TV/online narrative became 'all about Sarah' (and her lifestyle and the baby etc, and her ignorance of geography and international politics) because *there was nothing else there*. She didn't have a wider story about what conservativism was going to do or be in the coming decade. Or at least, she didn't communicate it if she did. I thought that was a good piece, from a conservative journalist, at a time when most conservative writers were just being self-pitying.

I had an American conservative speaker at a conference during the election campaign. And by that I mean, someone far more conservative than would usually appear at a conference in a university in the UK. He didn't like Palin's populism. He said populism was one of the forms the American Romantic imagination took.

There's a certain section of the British media who don't like 'happy people', but I'd say it is fairly marginal.

Someone made a very similar point (to your first paragraph) about Christine O'Donnell (a Palinesque Senate candidate in this just-past election who lost), contrasting her with a candidate in some other state who had basically very similar views, but also had put in years of in-the-trenches political work, was knowledgeable and competent and didn't come off as eccentric or flaky. He won.

People seem to use the word "populism" in different ways: sometimes it means putting the interests of the common man first, and sometimes pandering to the lowest (or at least fairly low) common denominator. I think Fox News, for instance, is populist in the second sense. Palin I would guess (I'm not really sure) is somewhere between.

I refudiate that.

"Our" ABC only likes happy people if they're gay.

As I recall, the only happy household in American Beauty consisted of a couple of gay guys.

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