Governor Sarah Palin: The Right Stuff

Governor Sarah Palin is driving liberal and conservative members of the eastern establishment bonkers.

Because Palin is a working mother of five, didn’t abort her Down syndrome child, is the main bread winner in her family, gave a terrific acceptance speech, held Biden’s feet to the fire in the vice presidential debate, attracts large crowds at campaign rallies, and is good-looking – liberal feminists are frothing at the mouth.

In their quest to destroy Palin, these self-appointed guardians of the women’s rights movement have discarded all the rules of civility and fair play.

They have turned to what liberal historian Richard Hofstadter referred to as the “paranoid style in American politics” which consists of “the qualities of heated exaggeration, suspiciousness, and conspiratorial fantasy.”

These feminists have called her a hick, a bimbo, a toned-down version of a porn actress, and have mocked her faith and small-town roots.

Here’s a sampling of the malicious statements:


“[Palin’s nomination] is a political gimmick…I find it insulting to women, to the Republican party, and the country.” – Sally Quinn, Newsweek
“[Republicans] have a tradition of nominating fun bantam-weight cheerleaders from the West.” – Maureen Dowd, The New York Times
“What her Down syndrome baby and pregnant teenage daughter unequivocally prove, however, is that her most beloved child is the anti-abortion platform that ensures her own political ambitions with the conservative right.” – Cintra Wilson, Salon
“I found Palin’s selection insulting.” – Ruth Marcus, The Washington Post
“Governor Palin’s nomination “is a slap in the face to all women.” – Michelle Cottle, The New Republic

According to the leftist Daily Kos website, Palin’s children are not “off-limits” because, “They are the direct result of the lunatic abstinence-only garbage and should be highlighted as such.” And The New Republic didn’t spare Trig, her four-month-old Down syndrome baby: “Palin has pursued environmental policies that seem perfectly crafted to swell the ranks of special needs kids.”

When these leftists run out of vicious comments, they make things up. They falsely accused Palin of speaking in tongues, slashing funds for pregnancy centers and the mentally disabled, and claimed her daughter was the real mother of her Down syndrome child.

And as you may have noticed, the mainstream media, far from being neutral, have mostly offered themselves as an echo chamber for this storm of partisan distortions.

And then there are the smug members of the conservative eastern establishment who dump on Palin to stay on the “A” cocktail party invitation lists: George Will, Christopher Buckley, David Frum, and Peggy Noonan.

Peggy Noonan who, between soirees in Manhattan’s upper East Side and East Hampton, purports to be a fifties kind of Catholic who grew up in Massapequa, Long Island, is the worst offender.

After the vice presidential debate, the condescending Noonan scorned Palin’s populist appeals to “Joe six-pack,” “soccer moms” and “Main Streeters” as cheerful manipulation. She complained that Palin “is not a person of thought but of action” and “Her syntax did not hold but her magnetism did” – in other words a lightweight.

In The Wall Street Journal, Noonan dropped this vicious bomb:

“We have seen Mrs. Palin on the national stage for seven weeks now, and there is little sign that she has the tools, the equipment, the knowledge or the philosophical grounding one hopes for, and expects, in a holder of high office. She is a person of great ambition, but the question remains: What is the purpose of the ambition? She wants to rise, but what for? For seven weeks I’ve listened to her, trying to understand if she is a Bushian or Reaganite…a conservative whose principles are rooted in philosophy…. But it’s unclear whether she is Bushian or Reaganite, She doesn’t think aloud. She just…says things….

“In the end the Palin candidacy is a symptom and expression of a new vulgarization in American politics. It’s no good, not for conservatism and not for the country.”

What pretentious nonsense. Sarah Palin, like most Republican elected officials, is a conservative by instinct and practice. As a governor overseeing a $12 billion budget, she proved to be a fiscal conservative. She cut expenditures, vetoed wasteful pork, returned surplus dollars to the people. She’s pro-life, pro-gun, pro-death penalty, favors drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, supports a constitutional amendment defining marriage between a man and a woman; and she took on and beat Alaska’s corrupt Republican Party and the big oil interests.

Like John McCain, George H.W. Bush (Noonan’s former boss), George W. Bush, Bob Dole, and Gerald Ford, Sarah Palin is not steeped in Edmund Burke. But that has not prevented Palin from promoting and enacting conservative policies.

As for vulgarization, Andrew Jackson, an opponent of political and economic elitism, who led a movement built on the cultural values of the common man – honor, self-reliance, equality, and individualism – was labeled vulgar. But for immigrants, pioneers, laborers, and the new entrepreneurs – for all common men – Jackson was a hero and a symbol of hope.

Sarah Palin got involved in neighborhood civic affairs and was elected councilman, mayor, and governor because she possesses Jacksonian traits.

She has devoted her energies to taming the last frontier in America – and all those common folks she represents in Alaska believe she’s doing one hell of a job.

If Palin is not elected vice president next week, there will be much celebrating in east coast salons. But these snobs should not count her out. Down the road expect Palin to return to Washington as a U.S. senator, not, as she said in her acceptance speech, “to seek the good opinion [of reporters and commentators],” but “to serve the people of this great country.”


George J. Marlin, Chairman of the Board of Aid to the Church in Need USA, is the author of The American Catholic Voter and Sons of St. Patrick, written with Brad Miner. His most recent book is Mario Cuomo: The Myth and the Man.