Friday, January 21, 2011

Should we stop talking about Sarah Palin?

We write about Sarah Palin a lot here at The Reaction. This isn't because we're obsessed with her, or because we have a "problem" (as the WaPo's Dana Milbank puts it), but because she's one of the de facto leaders of the Republican Party, along with the likes of Dear Leader Rush, and is perhaps its most prominent figure (and certainly its "brightest" star and biggest name), not least given her affiliation with the Tea Party.

Sure, it makes some sense to ignore her, or at least for the news media to ignore her, and therefore not to enable/legitimize her, but it's far too late for that. She is what she is and that isn't changing anytime soon.

The right, as well as much of the GOP, will continue to revere her, even if some Republicans are carefully distancing themselves from her or otherwise trying to undercut her in anticipation of 2012, and for those of us on the other side, it's better to continue to stress that she is not a "rogue" figure but a central Republican figure, a key voice on the right with feet firmly planted in both the Republican Party and the Tea Party, a bridge between the two, even as they overlap more and more.

We have a responsibility, that is, to speak the truth about just who she is and what she represents -- and how powerful she is on the right.

For his part, Milbank, like others before him, is calling for a "Palin-Free February." This is silly, and, to me, a sign of just how impotent and irresponsible the "mainstream" media really are. On this, I agree with Sullivan:

That's the Washington Village's devout wish -- from Palin's former spinmeister at the WaPo, Howie Kurtz, to increasingly embarrassed conservatives like Ross Douthat and now, more formally, from Dana Milbank. To my mind, this really is about the Village, not Palin. They have been deeply uncomfortable with her political presence for two years because she is such a farce as a candidate, such a congenital fibber, and so deeply unready for any political office (including mayor) that they don't know what to do, except squirm. Or attack her critics.

What they should have done is exposed this insanity from the get-go, demanded open press conferences before any exclusive "get" interviews, and treated McCain's worst misjudgment (among countless) as a campaign-ender. But they did not have the balls to do that because it would require leaving the safe box of Beltway normalcy. It might -- and this is what so many of them really care about -- hurt their reputations. Then there's the money factor, as Dana concedes. Their profession is crumbling economically and they are, as Milbank all but admits, scared of offending the third of the country who worships Palin as a cult figure, and just as desperate to get the readers she attracts.

My view is that the reason Palin gets so much attention from readers is not that they are shallow or petty or deluded. It is because they, unlike the MSM, actually see the radical danger of a Palin presidency, and the corrupt state of our politics that such a person could have ever gotten so close to power and even now is the one to beat in the primaries. They are concerned in a climate of polarization, recession and war that a far right cult-figure could easily go further than would normally be the case.

Yes, yes, yes.

Just as I was saying above, we non-MSM Palin critics pay her attention because we see what's going on, and because what's going on worries us deeply.

Only a truly sick society would ever empower someone like Sarah Palin, and, given how powerful she is on the right, and within the Republican Party, it's safe to say that a huge chunk of American society is truly sick.

That makes the current political climate, and Palin herself, extremely toxic, a grave danger to the country. We can't ignore that, and not writing about her for a month not only wouldn't make a difference but would actually be a deeply irresponsible thing to do.

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  • Well said. Palin herself is dangerous. However, the larger danger is that as $$$, power, and payback are her bottom line (and with her obvious mental tendencies) she could easily be manipulated by those with more malevolent intentions. Like it or not, we are stuck with her and her ilk for the forseeable future.

    By Anonymous carrieoki, at 2:02 AM  

  • I think that was actually the hope of some back before McCain picked her. Remember that it was the neocons, including Kristol (long a McCain supporter) who were pushing her onto the national stage. I think they thought she'd be an empty vessel for them. As it turned out, she became much more, a celebrity well beyond their control.

    By Blogger Michael J.W. Stickings, at 3:04 AM  

  • Palin is dangerous? How? There is absolutley zero evidence that rhetoric has a damaging influence on anyone or anything. Democrat rhetoric has been just as inflammatory as conservatives. But given there is no evidence either has a causation affect on violence why is Palin dangerous? The woman has her own ideas but I haven't heard anything that makes her any more of a hazard that Olbermann or Matthews or any of a dozen other leftists.

    Palin is not my kind of politician and I probably would never vote for her. I don't think she could ever be nominated anyway so it is a bridge we never have to cross. So why the focus on her? It is just plain baffling to me why liberals and Democrats continue to focus on her.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:17 PM  

  • "Democrat rhetoric has been just as inflammatory as conservatives."

    No it hasn't and it's wrong to equate justified anger with invented "facts" and libel. Nobody ever told us Bush was born in Africa or murdered his grandmother.

    "I haven't heard anything that makes her any more of a hazard that Olbermann or Matthews or any of a dozen other leftists. "

    Leftists? Hey, your bias is showing. Zip it up and don't give us so much to laugh at.

    "It is just plain baffling to me why liberals and Democrats continue to focus on her."

    That something baffles you isn't evidence that there's no reason for it.

    By Blogger Capt. Fogg, at 11:03 AM  

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