Maybe Sarah Palin is just tired of it all in a “stop the bus, I want to get off” kind of way.
Yesterday, Double X’s Emily Bazelon took a charitable stab at taking Palin at face value by asking, “does Sarah Palin have a point?”—maybe there’s no way she can push a legislative agenda from the governor’s mansion with all the heat that’s currently on her.
Fair point, but how hard is it, really? Minus the ethics complaints, Palin is in the same boat as every other governor right now, and Alaska only has a population roughly the size of a city like Charlotte, North Carolina. So she’s really like a mayor of a big national park that has its own oil reserves.
What’s making things hard is her desire to get into the national mix. Otherwise, unless we’re missing something, running Alaska seems pretty manageable (if you’re qualified). But Palin’s conservative defenders just keep pushing this line that she’s been undone by a persistent liberal media double standard.
Monday, The New York Times’ Ross Douthat argued “the way that the media and political establishments have treated her” based on her working class background amounts to a tarnishing of the “democratic ideal.” He was quickly dispatched by The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates, noting that Douthat’s analysis is a conceit—it only works “if you think that most of working class America is as f***ing inept as Sarah Palin.”
Tuesday, The National Review’s “David Kahane” suggested that Palin’s treatment at the hands of the liberal political/media complex was nothing short of cold, calculating savagery, whining sarcastically: “How dare the Republicans proffer this déclassée piece of Wasilla trailer trash?…she threatened us right down to our most fundamental, meretricious, elitist, sneering, snobbish, insecure” core.
But no one mentions the restraint and deference (yes, really) Palin has been shown by her opponents during the 2008 campaign and over time.
If it wasn’t for Barack Obama calling all criticisms of Bristol Palin’s pregnancy off limits the day after it became news, that debate would probably still be going on. If Joe Biden hadn’t been forced to bite his tongue all through his debate with Palin to avoid the waiting accusations of sexist condescension, he could have hammered her on the issues while she was winking, waving, shouting out 3rd graders and calling him “Joe.”
The fact is she’s a classic example of the “Peter Principle”—already benefitted from a lot of slack from opponents and supporters, primarily because she has personal appeal.
Go back to what Palin’s one time supporters first said about her, and then contrast it with what they are saying now. Here’s Newt Gingrich at the 2008 RNC convention. Back then it was a major stretch and now it just sounds ridiculous.
David Swerdlick is an associate editor at The Root. Follow him on Twitter.